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Hermes of Praxiteles

The Hermes of Praxiteles. 
The statue is dated to 343 BC and is made from Parian marble. It is the only original work of Praxiteles, that has survived and it was found at Olympia, intact on his base, several meters under the ground. Its height is 2.10 m.  It was dedicated to the sacred Altis from the Eleians and Arcadians to commemorate their peace treaty. Later it was moved to the temple of Hera, where it was found in 1877 AD.
The sculpture, "the diamond of Olympia", represents Hermes, the messenger of the Gods, holding the small Dionysos, who tries to take something from his hand. 
The story is as follows: Themele, the mother of Dionysos, died from terror, when Zeus appeared in front of her, with all his thunderbolts and all his splendor. She was though pregnant at the time and Zeus took the infant and sent him to the nymphs in Crete, with Hermes. When the baby started to cry, Hermes in order to keep him quite, showed him a shiny object. Hermes of Praxiteles

Hermes looks sluggish but manly, resting in the trunk of a tree. In his lips, which have a light shadow, you can see the beginning of a smile. The delicate mouth comes in contrast with the strong nose.  Hermes hairs are mixed up and come in contrast with his skin, which looks tender and smoother. The unrivaled art of Praxiteles, in taking off the hardness of the marble, making it the same with the look of the flesh, is owed in his great skill, in the use of the light and shadow. Praxiteles in order to give life in the statue, purposefully does not keep the symmetry. If one looks the face from the left, is sorrowful, from the right is smiling and when you see it from the front is calm.

Archaeological Museum Olympia

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