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Home > Auctions > 6th September 2022 > Roman Statuette of Mercury

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LOT 0126

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,590 - 4,780
USD ($) 3,650 - 4,870

Opening Bid
£3,000 (EUR 3,587; USD 3,654) (‡+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

A youthful and muscular bronze statuette of the god Mercury (Greek Hermes) standing nude with his weight resting on his right leg, left leg slightly bent and the heel raised; his hair dressed in short curls, wearing the wings from petasos, naturalistic anatomical detailing to his torso, calf muscles and face; mounted on a custom-made display base. 5 5/8 in. (322 grams total, 14.5 cm high including stand).

Found 1920-1930.
French family collection, Seine et Marne since the 1920s.
Property of a French collector.
Accompanied by an original French passport number 162088 dated 6 February 2015.
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 AIAD certificate no.11315-190955.

Cf. Reinach, S., Repertoire de la statuarie grecque et romaine, Paris, 1930, p.151, no.10, for the type; Rolland, H., Bronzes Antiques de Haute Provence, Paris, 1965, items 27ff., for comparable examples; Menzel, H., Die Römischen Bronzen aus Deutschland I Speyer, Mainz, 1960, no.8; cf. The Metropolitan Museum, accession numbers 20.190 and 06.1057, for similar.

Mercury was the god of trade and industry, whose principle shrine in the city of Rome was at the Circus Maximus. Originally he was one of the gods of riches and profit and it was not until he was equated with the Greek Hermes that he became the god of tradesmen and merchants. He was also the god of thieves and was associated with healing mainly in Gaul where he had a number of important temples connected to sacred springs. The piece is realised in a good classic style, due to the features of the face and the workmanship of the hair, as well as the beautiful body proportions, and can be dated to the early imperial period.