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Marble statue of Hermes

May 4, 2013
Marble statue of Hermes

Marble statue of Hermes

This is a Marble Statue of Hermes found in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It dates from the 1st or 2nd Century AD and is a Roman replica of a statue attributed to Polykleitos; other works attributed to him are  the Doryphoros, Discophoros and Diadumenos. Polykleitos was famed for his development of the contrapposto stance in which the weight of the statue appears placed on one leg.  Unfortunately none of his original works survive. However, Roman copies of his work can be identified (as in this case) or reconstructed through the use of literary sources .

The statue is in remarkably good condition although some restoration work has been undertaken to the hands and nose. The Metropolitan Museum assume that the statue was a decorative feature in a Roman villa.

Hermes was first and foremost the messenger of the gods, although he had many other attributes. In later art he is usually depicted with winged sandals, such as The Farnese Hermes. However, as this is a replica of an earlier statue it may explain why they are absent.

I find this piece exceptionally beautiful and rather awe inspiring. The detail of the statues musculature required exceptional skill of the sculptor. The sculpture also embodies the physical athletic ideal of the Ancient Greeks; an aspiration for people to live up to.

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From → Art

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