Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bronze statuette of Hermes

Late Hellenistic or Early Imperial
1st century B.C.–1st century A.D.
Greek or Roman
H. 11 7/16 in. (29.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1971
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 164
Hermes—messenger of the gods, the cattle rustler, the inventor of the lyre, the guider of souls across the River Styx, the manly god of boundaries—stands gracefully here rather than moving purposefully. He likely originally held his kerykeion (herald's staff) in his left hand. A pair of wings are strapped to his feet, and the small rectangular cuttings at the top of his head once held wings that sprang from his laurel-crown. The eyes, once inlaid with silver, glass paste, or stone, would have added vitality to the figure.

The lack of interest in the specific delineation of the anatomy and the listless elegance of the pose attest to the decorative quality of this highly refined bronze. It is a sophisticated work, executed in a mannered, classicizing style that sets the god apart from the mundane world of the statuette's human owner and invites contemplation of the divine.
von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1975. "Notable Acquisitions, 1965-1975." The Metropolitan Museum of Art, : p. 117.

Mertens, Joan R. 1985. "Greek Bronzes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 43(2): no. 43, pp. 11, 64-5.

Höckmann, Ursula. 1994. "Die Hermesstatuette." Das Wrack: Der antike Schiffsfund von Mahdia, Vol. 1, Gisela Hellenkemper Salies, Hans-Hoyer von Prittwitz und Gaffron, and Gerhard Bauchhenß, eds. p. 474 n. 41, Cologne: Rheinland-Verlag GmbH.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 251, pp. 215, 454, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Related Objects

Bronze statuette of Jupiter

Date: 2nd half of 2nd century A.D. Medium: Bronze Accession: 1997.159 On view in:Gallery 168

Bronze statuette of a philosopher on a lamp stand

Date: late 1st century B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 10.231.1 On view in:Gallery 162

Bronze statue of the emperor Trebonianus Gallus

Date: A.D. 251–253 Medium: Bronze Accession: 05.30 On view in:Gallery 169

Bronze statue of an aristocratic boy

Date: 27 B.C.–A.D. 14 Medium: Bronze Accession: 14.130.1 On view in:Gallery 162

Bronze statuette of a boy in Eastern dress

Date: mid-late 1st century B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 49.11.3 On view in:Gallery 164