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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Hermes and the Infant Dionysos

Also called the Hermes of Olympia or the Hermes of Praxiteles.

Scholarship is divided over whether this is a Greek original by famed sculptor, Praxiteles, a Roman copy of his statue, or the work of a lesser-known sculptor of the same name. If it is a Greek original, its survival is unique.

The right arm of Hermes is lost, but it is likely that he held a bunch of grapes which he wistfully dangled in front of the baby Dionysos, god of wine and intoxication. Interestingly only one ancient writer, Pausanias, considered the Hermes of Praxiteles worthy of mention

Number: 
228
Material: 
Parian marble
Location of Original: 

Olympia Museum

Size: 
2.13m
Accession: 

The head (?) purchased 23 March 1879 by Henry Sidgwick; donated by him on 29 May 1880 to the Fitzwilliam Museum; transferred to the Museum in 1884. The rest (?) purchased in 1884, from Brucciani

References: 

Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 241 (n.6), pl. 84.2
Grose: 41, no.328
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 77, no.364
Blümel: Hermes eines Praxiteles
Dinsmoor: American Journal of Archaeology XLV (1941), 349-
Kunze & Weber: American Journal of Archaeology LII (1948), 490-
Rhys Carpenter: American Journal of Archaeology XXXV (1931), 249-
Casson: American Journal of Archaeology XXXV, 262-
Cuttle: Antiquity VIII (1934), 151-

Date: 
Mid C4 BCE (if original)
Sculptor: 
Praxiteles (if original)
Provenance: 

Found in the Heraeum at Olympia in May 1877

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