In Transit . . .

Sorry to have disappeared recently . . . each day of this journey to France has been an adventure of one kind or another, and I just haven’t had time to write about it all yet.  We fly back to the States tomorrow/Wednesday, following a one-day layover in Reykjavik, Iceland (which I’m very excited about, even though we’ll only be there for a few hours).  There’s so much to write about when I get home . . . encountering Dionysos among the vineyards in the south of France, honoring the poet-heroes at the Père Lachaise Cemetery (with the wonderful Valiel!), and having some powerful experiences with Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Near-Eastern deities at the Louvre.  I imagine I will be rather jet-lagged for a few days, but I will resume posting again as soon as I am able.  In the meantime, here are some images of Hermes/Mercury throughout the ages from the Atlas Database at the Louvre Museum.  These photos are not mine – all images and text below are owned by the Musée du Louvre!

© Musée du Louvre

Protector of travellers, messenger of the gods and the guide or psychopomp who conducted the souls of the dead to the underworld, Hermes was a son of Zeus and can be recognised by his caduceus, a staff entwined with two serpents symbolising swiftness and cunning and given to him by Zeus, his winged sandals and his petasus, a flat broad-brimmed felt hat He is sometimes shown bearing a ram on his shoulders (“Hermes Criophoros”).
Hermes “criophoros”
C. 500–475 BC
Provenance: Thebes
Local production
H. 18.4 cm; W. 8.6 cm


 © 1992 Photo RMN / Hervé Lewandowski

Second quarter of 5th century BC
Provenance: northern Greece?
Hermes, whom we recognize by his caduceus, is dressed like one of the travellers of whom he was the patron deity. He wears a pointed hat (pilos), a short cloak (chlamys) and top boots (embades).

© 2006 Photo RMN / Hervé Lewandowski

1st–2nd century AD
Provenance: Gaul
Eyes inlaid with silver
H. 22.4 cm
Figures of Mercury naked, winged and holding a purse in the hollow of his right hand, are characteristic of Roman Gaul. His left hand held a caduceus.

© 2006 Photo RMN / Hervé Lewandowski

1st century AD
Provenance: Bordeaux, ancient Burdigala, Roman province of Aquitaine
H. 13 cm
The god wears winged sandals, a winged petasus and a laurel wreath, and holds a purse by the neck. A chlamys is draped over his left arm, which originally held a caduceus.

© Photo RMN / H. Lewandowski

1st–2nd century AD
Mercury, whom we recognize from the wings in his hair, held a caduceus in his left hand. The purse in his right hand alludes to his role as the god of commerce. The nudity and the Polycletian contrapposto are characteristic of a statue type that was particularly well-established in the Gallic and Germanic provinces of the Roman empire.


 © 2011 Musée du Louvre / Thierry Ollivier

Douai, 1529 – Florence, 1608
Flying Mercury
Provenance: Duc de Brissac collection (confiscated in 1794)?
H. 1.80 m

© Musée du Louvre/P. Philibert

Dominique LEFÈBVRE
died after 1719
H. 1.61 m; W. 0.60 m; D. 0.30 m
Made from a model by Michel Anguier. Acquired by the Bâtiments du Roi in 1698 and placed in the Bosquet du Couchant in the park at Marly from 1701 to 1707, the statue was installed in the Parc de Trianon from 1722 to 1845, then in the Parc de Saint-Cloud from 1845 to 1872. Loaned to the Musée National du Château de Fontainebleau from 1928 to 1994.

© Musée du Louvre/P. Philibert

Lyon, 1640 – Paris, 1720
Mercury Mounted on Pegasus
Manufacture: Paris
Carrara marble
H. 3.15 m; W. 2.91 m; D. 1.28
In 1699, Antoine Coysevox received a commission for a group of two equestrian statues destined to exalt the “King’s fame”. The statues were made in Carrara marble in 1701–02 and placed to either side of the upper part of the Bassin de l’Abreuvoir at the entrance to the park at Marly. On the base, an inscription by the sculptor underlines that the completion of these two monolithic blocks in the space of two years was a tour de force. Mercury, the god of trade and the arts, forms a group with “Fame Mounted on Pegasus” sounding a trumpet.

© 2007 Musée du Louvre / Pierre Philibert

Jean-Baptiste PIGALLE
Paris, 1714 – Paris, 1785
Approved by the Académie Royale in 1741
Mercury Fastening His Heel-Wings
Provenance: confiscated during the Revolution from the collections of the Académie
H. 0.58 m; W. 0.35 m; D. 0.33 m

© Musée du Louvre/P. Philibert

Jean-Baptiste Joseph DE BAY, known as Jean-Baptiste DEBAY PÈRE
Mechelen, 1779 – Paris, 1863
Mercury Seizing his Sword to Cut Off Argus’s Head
H. 1.02 m; W. 0.60 m; D. 0.99 m
The plaster cast was presented at the Salon of 1822, and the marble statue was commissioned for the gardens in the Château de Compiègne. Argus, the giant with a hundred eyes, was charged with watching over Io; Hermes managed to cut his head off after lulling him to sleep with the sound of his pipes.

© Musée du Louvre/P. Philibert

François RUDE
Dijon, 1784 – Paris, 1855
Mercury Fastening His Heel-Wings
Bronze (cast by Soyer and Ingé in 1834)
H. 2.50 m; W. 0.52 m; D. 0.90 m
Mercury preparing to fly back to Mount Olympus after cutting off Argus’s head.

Leave a comment


  1. Yay ! I texted you to the number I had, pray for a good return.

    May we meet again soon dear(s) 🙂

    • Thank you! Ryan and I both enjoyed meeting you! That phone number will no longer work now that we’re returning home tomorrow, but let’s definitely stay in touch via email . . . and please let us know if/when you make it to the west coast of the U.S.!

  2. May the protection of a thousand Mercurii go with you on your onward travels, and return you home safely!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: