Resting Hermes, youthful wonder

L’“Hermes in riposo” conservato nel Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

The “Resting Hermes” at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples is a beautiful bronze sculpture found in Herculaneum in the second half of the 18th century.

The portrait of the messenger of the gods on a break from his constant movement – Hermes was also the conductor of souls into the afterlife – is a Roman piece from the 1st century, probably a copy of a Greek original by Lysippos dating back to the 4th century BC.

Art historian Cesare Brandi has noted, “the beautiful resting Hermes is certainly in Lysippos’ taste, but exquisitely made, with such lightness in its pose, measured harmony of contrasts, softness of fine plasticity.”

“The wonderful adolescent seems to have just descended from Mount Olympus, so human and so divine in a body that was measured by an infallible eye, almost caressed rather than molded” (translated from C. Brandi, “Terre d’Italia”, Rizzoli, Milan 2006).

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November 16, 2016

Resting Hermes, youthful wonder

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, piazza Museo Nazionale, 19
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