| Description | | Exhibits |

Permanent exhibition of the Olympia Archaeological Museum

Hermes is depicted naked, rested on a trunk and holding new-born Dionysus in his left hand
Hermes of Praxiteles

Work of the famous sculptor Praxiteles, the statue of Hermes of Olympia is considered one of the most important and most famous sculptures of the late classical era. It was found inside the temple of Hera almost intact, during the excavations of 1877. From its dedication and probably until the Roman years, it stood in some part of Alta but was later moved for protection inside Heraion.

The 2.13m high sculptural composition, made of Parian marble, depicts Hermes carrying the little Dionysus from Mount Olympus to the region of Boeotia where his nymph aunts, sisters of his mother Semelis, will take over his upbringing. The messenger of the Gods rests on a tree trunk during this journey which he undertakes at the behest of Zeus.

Hermes' left leg from the knee down, his right shin as well as the lower part of the tree trunk are sumplemented with plaster. In the missing right hand, Hermes probably held a bunch of grapes, symbol of Dionysus, to attract the attention of the little god, while in the left hand, in the palm, he would hold the caduceus which is the symbol of the messenger of the gods. Tool marks can be seen on the back of the statue from a later treatment as well as a hole in the base of its spine and in the tree trunk that were probably made in Roman times to repair some damage that had been caused in conjunction with its more secure support against the wall of the cella of Heraios.

The work is a masterpiece of the 4th century B.C. and represents an era where strict symmetry has been succeeded by naturalism in the rendering of forms. The glossiness of the skin of the statue perfectly conveys the vitality of the flesh and is one of the characteristics of Praxiteles' style. The beauty of the statue is contributed by the perfect rendition of the muscles, the masterfully executed cross posture of the body (contra posto) as well as its now-lost rich coloring, as presumed by the traces of paint that have survived on the bostrichus and the sandal.

Konstantinos Antonopoulos, Archaeologist

Exhibit Features
Date: Classical period, ca. 330 B.C.
Place of discovery: Olympia, It was found inside Hera's temple.
Dimensions: height: 2,13 m
Material: parian marble
Inventory number: Λ 48
Exhibition hole: Exhibition hall 7
  Suggestive Bibliography
Μυλωνάς Γ., "Ο Ερμής του Πραξιτέλους", Αρχαιολογική Εφημερίς (ΑΕ) 1933, Αθήνα, (1933), σ. 131
Olympia III, Berlin, 1894, σ. 194 - 205 , Taf. 49-53
Λεονάρδος B., Ολυμπία, Αθήνα, 1911, 287-296
Παπαχατζής Ν., Παυσανίου Ελλάδος περιήγησις: Μεσσηνιακά-Ηλιακά, Αθήνα, 1979, 283-286
Mallwitz A., Herrmann H.V., Die Funde aus Olympia, Αθήνα, 1980, 192-193, Taf. 135
Γιαλούρη Α., Γιαλούρης Ν., Ολυμπία. Το μουσείο και το ιερό, Αθήνα, 1991, 154-157
Καλτσάς Ν., Ολυμπία, Αθήνα, 1997, 86-87
Ανδρόνικος Μ., Ολυμπία. Ο αρχαιολογικός χώρος και το μουσείο, Αθήνα, 2000, 65
Αραπογιάννη Ξ., Ολυμπία. Η κοιτίδα των Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων, Αθήνα, 2001, 16, 18-19, 57, 245-246
Other views
View of the head of Hermes