Sculpture of Mercury with Inlaid Silver Eyes - FZ.406
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 100 AD to 300 AD
Dimensions: 6.75" (17.1cm) high
Collection: Classical
Style: Roman
Medium: Bronze and Silver


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. Here, he is situated in a dynamic pose, full of movement and vitality, which suggest he might have been riding a horse. The identity of this deity of readily identifiable by tow of his most notable attributes: the petasus and the talarius. The petasus is a wide brimmed hat characteristic of travelers; here, it is winged, indicating Mercury’s swiftness and symbolizing his wisdom. The talarius is the pair of sandals, again winged, and again symbolizing the god’s swiftness. Although his arms are now missing, it is likely that he once held a caduceus, or herald’s staff, that was his third major attribute. Originally, his eyes would have been inlaid with silver highlights, the remnants of which still remain intact on one of his sockets. This sculpture is the work of a master artist. The attention to detail, especially in regards to his hair, the energy of the composition, and the natural flowing folds of the drapery all reveal the mastery of the skilled sculptor. No doubt this gorgeous work of art was revered in its own time. Libations of rich wines and perfumed oils might have been placed nearby to honor the invoked deity. However, 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. Who knows, maybe this work will conjure up the spirit of Mercury, who might bless us with successful business dealings and safe travel? - (FZ.406)



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