Hermes and the Infant Dionysus

Hermes and the Infant Dionysus

Artist Praxiteles

Date ca. 320-310 BCE

Movement Greek | Late Classical

Medium Marble

Height 7’1″

Housed at Archaeological Museum, Olympia

 

This work is a Roman copy of the original by Praxiteles. Hermes playfully dangles a bunch of grapes over an infant Dionyses, or, given his irreverent gaze, carelessly teases him. Unlike High Classical era sculptors that carved clearly defined physiques in their works, Praxiteles has here polished the surface of Hermes to a fine buff, allowing light to playfully reflect over a less- defined, though more-sensual, musculature. The exaggerated contrapposto depicted here came to be known as the “Praxitelean Curve,” and influenced later Hellenistic sculptors.