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Home > Auctions > 5th March 2024 > Roman Bronze Statuette of Mercury

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LOT 0166

GBP (£) 5,000 - 7,000
EUR (€) 5,840 - 8,180
USD ($) 6,340 - 8,870

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6 1/4 in. (957 grams, 16 cm high).

Standing erect on a tiered socle base in contrapposto pose; pointillé-textured mantle draped to the left shoulder, left arm bent, hand holding a wand; right arm loose at the side, hand holding a patera; finely modelled face with short wavy hair; shallow dimple or socket to the crown; standing on a possibly later tiered disc base with square foot.

Acquired on the German art market, 1990s.
Ex Cambridgeshire collection, UK.

Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Raffaele D’Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate number no.12013-213587.

Exhibited at Harwich Museum, Harwich, Essex, UK, 3rd February-9th March 2024; accompanied by a copy of a photograph of the artefact on display.

Cf. Reinach, S., Repertoire de la statuarie Grecque et Romaine, Paris, 1930, p.149, no.8, for the type; Rolland, H., Bronzes Antiques de Haute Provence, Paris, 1965, items 27ff., for comparable examples; Boucher, S., Recherches sur les Bronzes Figurés de Gaule Pré-Romaine et Romaine, Rome, 1976, fig.192.

Mercury was the god of trade and industry, whose principle shrine in the city of Rome was at the Circus Maximus. The draped mantle is typical of statuary of Mercury from the 1st-2nd century A.D. (Boucher, pl.40, 43) and the 'baton' may in fact be the stem of a caduceus (Boucher, pl.46 (211)).