Collection

D99769
D99774
D99782

Flying Mercury

Details

Hubert Gerhard

Augsburg, c. 1590/1593

Bronze

H. 93 cm

On permanent loan from the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung

Inv. No. L 2012/3

Gallery 25

Sculpture

Renaissance

Description

This youthful messenger of the gods, seemingly defying gravity, is one of the masterpieces of South German bronze sculpture from around 1600. The god of merchants and thieves originally held a purse in his raised right hand and the caduceus in his left. He was always easily recognisable by this snake-entwined staff, the wings on his heels and his hat. Only princes and wealthy patricians could afford precious bronzes, such as this Mercury, of which only a single version was produced. The patron of this Mercury, Wolfang Paller the Younger, was a wealthy copper merchant from Augsburg. Bronze is an alloy containing mainly copper and to a lesser degree tin.

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