Hermes was an Olympian god of Greek mythology, son of Zeus and the Pleiad Maia. Known as the messenger of the gods, he was quick and cunning and moved freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine as an intercessor. He was protector and patron of travelers, herdsmen, thieves, orators, literature, poets, athletes, sports, inventors, and tradesmen.
The origin and discovery of this Hermes statue is still not completely clear. Some documents state that the Hermes was found between 1540 and 1543 in the Vigna Pallini near Castel St. Angelo not far from the Vatican in the original mausoleum of Hadrian. The second theory of Pirro Ligorio was that it was found during the pontificate of Paul III (1534-1549) at St. Martino ai Monti.
In 1543, the statue was purchased by Paul III to decorate a niche in the Belvedere and around 1560 was heavily restored by Guglielmo Della Porta. This wonderful statue of Hermes is a Roman copy of the original
from the school of Praxiteles (late classical period, 4th cent. BC).
In 1683, Gérard Audran included it in his collection of engravings representing the Proportions of the Human Body Measured from the Most Beautiful Statues of Antiquity, meant for young sculptors. Oliver Cromwell acquired a bronze copy by Hubert Le Sueur that had previously been a part of the collection of Charles I of England. Other rulers, Louis XIV of France, and Peter the Great also had recreations of the Hermes.
Copies of this work can also be found in art academies such as those of Milan and Berlin.
Restoration Process Included:
- Scientific Research
- Documentation with 3D laser scanner
- Stratigraphic analysis
- Cleaning and consolidation of the surface
- Removal and replacement of iron nails with fibreglass, steal or new titanium materials
- Diagnosis of state of the statue and pedestal
- Recreation of the pedestal
- Photographic documentation