Hermes Kriophoros, from left

Hermes Kriophoros, detail of lamb and torso of Hermes

Hermes Kriophoros, detail of lamb and torso of Hermes from back

Hermes Kriophoros, detail of head and shoulders: right profile

Hermes Kriophoros, detail of legs and feet of Hermes

Hermes Kriophoros, from back left

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Title: Hermes Kriophoros
Context: From Sparta
Findspot: Found at Sparta
Summary: Hermes carrying a lamb
Object Function: Votive
Material: Bronze
Sculpture Type: Free-standing statue
Category: Single sculpture
Style: Late Archaic
Technique: Solid cast
Original or Copy: Original ?
Date: ca. 520 BC - ca. 500 BC

H 0.25 m

Scale: Miniature
Region: Laconia
Period: Late Archaic

Subject Description:

Hermes stands in a frontal pose, with his left foot advanced. He is dressed as a shepherd, with a short tunic, belted at the waist and bound with three buttons on each shoulder. His magic wings (that enable him to fly in his aspect as the traveler/messenger god) are attached to his short leather boots. He wears a brimmed pilos (a workman's hat), under which emerge ringlets on his brow, and long tight locks (braids?), two in front of each shoulder and several on the back. He also wears a tidy mustache and beard. In his left arm (upraised) he holds a small lamb by its forelegs, while the rest of its body dangles (an element of realism).

Date Description:

Most scholars date this piece to the Archaic period. However, it has been called an archaistic work of the Roman period (because it too perfectly assimilates all the Archaic features), or even an archaistic work of the Classical period (ca. 440 B.C.) like the Hermes Propylaios of Alkamenes (Hermes Propylaios.

Condition: Intact

Condition Description:

Statue attached to hollow base. Missing: the wing from the right foot; the attribute, probably a kerykeion, held in the right hand. Green and brown patina on surface.

Collection History: Formerly E.P. Warren Collection. Acquired by the MFA in 1899.

Sources Used: Comstock & Vermeule 1971, no. 23

Other Bibliography: Mattusch 1996, 10, 12, fig. 1.8; Ortiz 1994, under entry no. 140; Thomas 1992, 176 n. 92, 64 fig. 46; Pinsent 1990, 32, ill.; Walter-Karydi 1987, 23 (fig. 17), 95; Morrow 1985, xxi, 35, pl. 34, 41, 192 n. 59; Vermeule 1982, 136-37, 224, 443-44, fig. 193; Gauer 1981, 159 n. 176; Devambez 1978, 90-91, ill.; H.B. Jessen, in Mélanges Mansel (Ankara 1974) 1.626; C. Rolley, AJA 78 (1974) 99; F.K. Fall, Art Objects: Their Care and Preservation (La Jolla 1973) 142, fig. 76; Herrmann 1972, 245 n. 459; Wallenstein 1971, 191 n. 410; MFA Western Art, 161-62, col. pl. 12; Jenkins 1970, 47, pl. 40, fig. 2; Fuchs 1969, 42-43, figs. 27-28; EAA, 4.2 fig. 3; A.W. Byvanck, BABesch 36 (1961) 81; L. Byvanck-Quarles van Ufford, BABesch 30 (1955) 59; D. von Bothmer, AJA 57 (1953) 40; Karo 1948, 140; H.G. Beyen and W. Vollgraff, Argos et Sicyone (The Hague 1947) 57; Hyde 1921, 108