4. The statue of Mercury and Bacchus
Boboli Garden, Warehouses (coming from the Cypress Avenue)
The statue depicts Mercury holding the young Bacchus in his arms. Mercury, naked and standing alone, has the chlamys on his shoulders and carries the caduceus in his left hand. The oval and elongated face has lean and compact cheeks and is slightly turned toward the right and reclined. The plastic and full-bodied locks partially cover the ears. There are a couple of wings on the head.
The statue of Bacchus, held in Mercury’s arms, was made during the the Renaissance.
The face of the statue may have been drawn from an original bronze statue attributed to the young Polycletus, while the body recalls that of the Doryphoros.
The Roman copy can be probably dated back to the Antonine age (96 a.C. – 192 d.C.).
State of conservation
The lower limbs, part of the shaft support, the left forearm with a part of the chlamys and caduceus, the right hand, Bacchus (except for the right foot) and the wings on the head have all been added during the Renaissance. The tip of the nose is missing. The head is fractured at the height of the neck.
The sculpture probably belonged to the Medici’s collections already in the 16th century (when post-ancient integrations were probably made) and was placed in the Boboli Gardens in the first half of the 19th century.
Dütschke 1875, p. 42, n, 84; EA 103/05; Lippold 1950, p. 165, fig. 2; Berger I 1963, p. 776; Arias 1964, p. 136, tav, 13; Lorenz 1972, p. 29, fig. 131; Zanker 1974, p. 40, n. 40; La Rocca 1979, p. 529; Vierneisel-Schlörb 1979, p. 71, n. 8; Kreikenbom 1990, pp. 49, 159, II 9; Kreikenbom (2) 1990, p. 534 ss., n. 38; Bol 2004 p. 125ss., fig, 36; La Rocca 2006 pp. 31-47.
P. E. Arias, Policleto, Firenze 1964
E. Berger, Enciclopedia universale dell’arte, 1963
P. C. Bol, Die Geschichte der antiken Bildhauerkunst, II, Mainz 2004
H. Dütschke Antike Bildwelke in Oberitalien; II, Die antiken Marmorbildwerke in Florenz, Leipzig 1875
D. Kreikenbom, Bildwerke nach Polyklet. Kopienkritische Untersuchungen zu den männlichen statuarischen Typen nach Werken Polyklets, Berlin 1990
D. Kreikenbom (2), Poliklet. Der Bildhauer der griechischen Klassik, catalogo della mostra (Frankfurt am Main, 1990), Mainz am Rhein 1990
E. La Rocca, Policleto e la sua scuola, in R. Bianchi Bandinelli (curated by), Storia e civiltà dei Greci, IV, Milano 1979
E. La Rocca, Una nuova replica della testa dell’Hermes attribuita a Policleto, in «Bullettino della commissione archeologica comunale di Roma», 107, 2006, pp. 31-47
G. Lippold, Griechische Plastik Handbuch der Archäologie, III, 1, München 1950
Th. Lorenz, Polyklet, Wiesbaden 1972
B. Vierneisel-Schlörb, Glyptothek München, Katalog der Skulpturen, II, Klassische Skulpturen des 5.und 4.Jahrhunderts V. Chr., München 1979
P. Zanker, Klassizistische Statuen, Mainz am Rhein 1974