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Male Torso of the Hermes Richelieu Type

Marble male torso, Roman after Greek original, 2nd century CE, Honolulu Academy of Arts

Male Torso of the Hermes Richelieu Type

This “Male Torso” is thought to belong to the “Hermes Richelieu” type because of its similarity to a statue of Hermes in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre. Hermes is an Olympian god in Greek religion and mythology, the son of Zeus. In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon, Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury and developed many similar associations and subtle differences. This sculpture was created around the mid-second century B.C. in Rome and combined the idealized body of a Greek styled god with the naturalistic portrait head of a wealthy Roman citizen.

Works of art such as this statute were copies of Greek sculptures reflecting the Roman fascination with Greek art. The Roman conquest and plundering of Greece and Greek colonies created the admiration, adoption, and popularity of Greek art forms.

This roman copy displays the traditional cloak that rests on the left shoulder and trails down the left arm. A hole in the top of the neck section may indicate that different heads were attached to the torso, over time. This torso statute survived the ravages of time, unlike the many owners of this torso over its long history.

Male Torso of the Hermes Richelieu Type

  • Title:                   Male Torso
  • Date:                   2nd Century A.D.
  • Artist:                 Unknown
  • Medium:            Marble
  • Dimensions:      38 1/2 x 27 x 13 1/2 in. (97.8 x 68.6 x 34.3 cm)
  • Geography:        Rome
  • Museum:           Honolulu Museum of Art

A Tour of the Honolulu Museum of Art


“Honour is priceless and glad be he who has it.”
– Greek Proverb


Photo Credit: By Hiart (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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