217 x 94 x 60 cm
early 20th century
Hermes, the herald of the gods, appears as a young, athletic figure. He is nude, his mantle hangs on the tree trunk beside him. In his left arm, which leans against the tree trunk, sits the infant Dionysos. The raised right hand of Hermes is missing — it must have held a bunch of grapes, which made Dionysos reach after, revealing his divine nature. Pausanias, an ancient historian of the second century AD described where the Hermes—Dionysos statue of Praxiteles stood. It was exactly at this spot in the Olympian sanctuary of Hera that the archaeologists discovered it in 1877. The statue could thus be one of Praxiteles’s original works of art.