The Hermes Ludovisi, also formerly known as Mercurio Oratore ("Mercury the Orator"), is a Hellenistic sculpture of the god Hermes in his form of Hermes Psychopompus. It is made of Italic marble and is a somewhat slick 1st-century AD Roman copy after an inferred bronze original of the 5th century BC which is traditionally attributed to the young Phidias, ca 440 BC, or alternatively called "Myronic". Its model is among the earliest sculptural representations of Hermes as beardless and youthful. It was acquired by Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi for the Ludovisi collection and is now on show at the Palazzo Altemps.
A variant on a somewhat reduced scale, found in Anzio, is conserved in the Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. As in other free Roman-era copies, there are variations in the shaping of the soft-brimmed petasos Hermes wears and the angle of the kerykeion in his left hand.
- Illustrated in M. Bieber, Ancient Copies, 1971, p. 41 fig.78; W. Fuchs, Die Skulptur der Griechen, 1969, fig. 73; G. Lippold, Die Griechische Plastik: Handbuch der Archäologie, 1950, VI. pt. 3.1, p. 179, pl. 63.2; Helbig, Führer durch die öffentlichen Sammlungen klassischer Altertümer in Rom 4th ed., 1963-72, no. 2326.
- The rhetorically gesturing right arm of the Ludovisi sculpture, however, is a restoration.
- "Mechanical", according to Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway, reviewing Enrico Paribeni, Museo Nazionale Romano: Sculture Greche del V secolo: originali e reliche, 1953, in American Journal of Archaeology 59.1 (January 1955:74-75)
- A suggestion first put forward by Botho Graef, "Athenakopf in Neapel", in Carl Robert, ed., Aus der anomia: archaeologische beitraege, 1890, p. 69.
- E.g. by Amelung.
- "This is, I believe, the earliest representation of Hermes as youthful and beardless" (C. K. Jenkins, "The Reinstatement of Myron-II" The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 50 No. 289 (April 1927:189-196) p. 190).
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