Roman Bronze Sculpture of Mercury

SKU FZ.023

1st Century AD to 2nd Century AD


3.5″ (8.9cm) high x 2″ (5.1cm) wide





Gallery Location

S Korea


Although this sculpture of Jupiter is diminutive in scale, it contains a captivating presence equal to the great statue of the god himself. Naked except for a robe draped over his shoulder, he stands calm and confident, crowned with a wreath and holding his thunderbolt in his right hand. Although this is the traditional representation of the god, Jupiter was by nature a shape shifter. He is perhaps best remembered for his numerous extramarital exploits committed in a variety of guises detailed in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and in many other popular myths. In fact, it is through these affairs that he fathered several of the other gods and goddesses who make up the rest of the Greek and Roman pantheon. This stunning statue was most likely worshipped by an individual wealthy enough to commission or own such a sacred and prized possession. Given its small stature, it is possible that this statue served a pious merchant or in his travels. Perhaps it stood by the side of a might Roman general as he conquered new lands on a foreign campaign. Just as likely, this sculpture might have been placed in a small altar and worshiped in the private confines of the home alongside the household gods. Artistically, the beauty and detail of this sculpture reveals the skill and mastery of Ancient Roman sculptors. Although his kingdom has vanished and his followers have disappeared, when gazing upon this sculpture of Jupiter, we are still in the presence of divinity. God, after all, has been known to take on many guises, like Jupiter, and this is but one of them.

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