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Hermes and Dionysus

Date

350-330 BC

Provenance

Temple of Hera at Olympia

Material

Marble

Attribution

Praxiteles

Authenticity

Probably a Greek marble original (some think it is a Roman copy).

Arguments against authenticity:

Back unfinished, partially recut (typical of 4th century).

Tree trunk is a Roman trait.

Documented instances of Romans removing famous statues and commissioning a replica to stand in its place.

Arguments for authenticity:

Quality of workmanship.

Praxiteles incorporated supports into designs.

Subject Matter

Humanising the Gods

Anatomy

Tousled hair.

Deep set eyes with dreamy expression.

Soft musculature – more realistic thank Polykleitos’ cuirass aesthetique.

Slender and elegant proportions.

Body and face match age.

Baby is shrunken miniature of adult, like Eirene and Ploutos.

Pattern and Proportion

Hair, chest and abdominal muscles main sources of pattern.

Pattern in drapery folds over the tree trunk.

Pose and Realism

Relaxed pose with the tilted hip, weight on right leg.

A sinuous, sensual S bend in the body. Praxiteles’ trademark.

Uses Polykleitos’ trailing leg technique.

Drapery

Baby is wrapped in blanket below the waist.

Soft drapery on the tree trunk contrasts with rigidity of trunk.

Emotion

“Humanising the Gods” – everyday activity e.g. babysitting.

Both figures appear happy and content. Engaged in an intimate bond.


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