Herm of Hermes

Object Details

Title:

Herm of Hermes

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Place:

Italy (Place created)

Date:

second half of 1st century A.D.

Medium:

Marble

Dimensions:

149 × 24 × 21 cm (58 11/16 × 9 7/16 × 8 1/4 in.)

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The bearded head of Hermes surmounts a type of statue called a herm—a square pillar typically featuring a bust of the god and male genitalia. This example has lost several separately carved and added elements, including two short bars that projected from the sides at shoulder height and the genitalia from the front of the pillar.

The statue is modeled after the Hermes Propylaios carved by the Greek sculptor Alkamenes in 430–420 B.C., which stood at the entrance of the Athenian Acropolis. In Greek religion, herms served as protective images at boundaries, crossroads, and rural sanctuaries. During Roman times, however, they lost their religious significance and became a popular garden and courtyard ornament. This Roman version likely decorated the garden of a villa.

Provenance
- 1924

Ugo or Aldo Jandolo, Italian, sold to Joseph Brummer, 1924.

1924 -

Joseph Brummer, Hungarian, 1883 - 1947, sold to Ralph H. Booth.

- 1925

Ralph Harmon Booth, American, died 1931, returned to Joseph Brummer, 1925.

1925 - 1927

Joseph Brummer, Hungarian, 1883 - 1947, sold to William Randolph Hearst, 1927.

1927 - 1941?

William Randolph Hearst, American, 1863 - 1951 (New York, New York)

1941? - 1947

Joseph Brummer, Hungarian, 1883 - 1947 (New York, New York), by inheritance to his heirs, 1947.

- 1964

Ernest Brummer, Hungarian, 1891 - 1964 (New York, New York), by inheritance to his wife, Ella Brummer, 1964.

1964 - 1979

Ella Baché Brummer [sold, the Ernest Brummer Collection, Galerie Koller, Zurich, October 16-19, 1979, lot 627, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Bibliography

Parke-Bernet, New York. Sale cat., Joseph Brummer Coll., Part III, June 8-9, 1949, lot. 506.

Galerie Koller, Zurich. Sale cat., The Ernest Brummer Collection, October 16-19, 1979, lot 627.

Grossman, Janet Burnett. Looking at Greek and Roman Sculpture in Stone (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), pp. 52, ill.