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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Classical Bronzes : Roman Bronze Sculpture of Mercury
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Roman Bronze Sculpture of Mercury - FZ.408a
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 100 AD to 300 AD
Dimensions: 2.875" (7.3cm) high
Collection: Classical
Medium: Bronze

Location: United States
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Swift footed, Mercury (known to the Greeks as Hermes) was the divine herald of the gods as well as the patron deity of travelers and merchants. The identity of this deity identifiable by one of his most notable attributes: the petasus, a wide brimmed hat characteristic of travelers; here, it is winged, indicating Mercury’s swiftness and symbolizing his wisdom. Here, he stands naked in a contraposto stance, holding his left hand outward as if once carrying something. Perhaps he originally leaned against a caduceus, or herald’s staff, another major attribute of Mercury, that would have been carved out of wood and has long since rotted away. In his other hand, he appears to hold a money sack, conveying his role as the patron deity of merchants. This diminutive scale of this work belies the detailed artistry. His facial features, although worn, are evident, as are individual locks of hair falling out of his winged petasus. No doubt this gorgeous work of art was revered in its own time. Perhaps a successful businessman carried it with him on his voyages in order to gain the favor of the god. Today, while the great pantheon of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses has faded into the realm of myth, this sculpture still stands as a stunning work of timeless beauty. Maybe this sculpture will conjure up the spirit of Mercury, who might bless its owner with successful business dealings and safe travel? - (FZ.408a)


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