Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Statue of the young god Hermes, known as ‘Capitoline Antinous’

This month’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble statue of a young nude, the so-called ‘Capitoline Antinous‘. It was found in 1723/24 during the time when Giuseppe Fede was undertaking the earliest concerted excavations at the Villa Adriana. However its exact provenance within the Villa is unknown.

The so-called Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian's Villa, Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums © Carole Raddato

The so-called Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian’s Villa
Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Considering that this work was found at Villa Adriana and owing to its melancholy gaze, the statue was thought to represent Hadrian’s lover Antinous. Until the end of the 19th century it was even regarded as the most famous statue of Antinous. After a long debate among scholars, the statue was finally identified as Hermes, the messenger god, because the head differed so radically from the recognized Antinous types.

The Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian's Villa, Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums © Carole Raddato

The Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian’s Villa, Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The god Hermes is depicted at a young age and is entirely naked. He is shown in a quiet moment and is delicately posed; his pelvis is turned slightly to the right with a corresponding torsion of the head and shoulders. His hair is a work of carefully sculpted curls and are reminiscent of the style of Praxiteles, the famous 4th century BC Greek sculptor (see the Praxiteles’ Hermes).

Originally part of the Albani collection, the statue was acquired by Pope Clement XII in 1733 and subsequently moved to the Capitoline Museums where it remains today. The work dates to the late Hadrianic / early Antonine period (c. 130-150 AD) and is a copy of an earlier 4th century BC Greek statue.

The so-called Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian's Villa, Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums © Carole Raddato

The so-called Capitoline Antinous, now considered to be a late Hadrianic / early Antonine copy of an early 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes, found at Hadrian’s Villa
Palazzo Nuovo, Capitoline Museums
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

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About followinghadrian

I came, I saw, I photographed... follow me in the footsteps of Hadrian!
This entry was posted in Hadrian's Villa, Italy, Museum, Roman Mythology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Statue of the young god Hermes, known as ‘Capitoline Antinous’

  1. Aquileana says:

    Stunning post!~ Thanks for sharing and best wishes to you, Aquileana😀

    Liked by 1 person

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