No. D 176
Date Range: about 340/330 BC
H. 2,13 m
Material: Parian marble
Collection: Olympia, Archaeological Museum

  • Hermes at Olympia general view
  • Dionysos detailed view
  • Hermes and Dionysus detailed view

Hermes of Olympus, also known as the Hermes and the Infant Dionysus or the Hermes of Praxiteles was discovered in 1877 in the Temple of Hera at Olympia. Today it is exposed at the Archaeological Museum of Olympia. It is attributed to Praxiteles, who was one of the major sculptors in classical Greece. In his missing right arm he was holding grapes for the infant Dionysus.
There are several theories on the origin of Dionysus. One of his mythic origins tells about the Son of Zeus, whose mortal mother, Semele, was killed by jealous Hera before she could give birth to him. She told Semele to ask Zeus to reveal his real, divine shape to her. When he turned himself into the lightning, Semele perished, consumed in lightning-ignited flame. Zeus rescued the fetal Dionysus by sewing him into his thigh and a few months later he was born. To protect the newborn Dionysus from jealous Hera he gave him to Hermes, who brought him to the nymphs at Nysa to raise him.

(S.B.)

Bibliography

C. Blümel, Griechische Bildhauerarbeit (Berlin 1927)
J. Boardman, Griechische Plastik. Die spätklassische Zeit (Mainz 1998)
W. Fuchs, Die Skulptur der Griechen4 (München 1993)
RE V (1903) 1015 s.v. Dionysos (Kern)
E. Simon, Die Götter der Griechen (München 1969)

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