Germanicus or Marcellus


Germanicus or Marcellus
Cast of a statue in the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. The original statue, erroneously identified as Germanicus, a member of the family of the emperor Augustus, probably should be considered a portrait of a member of a wealthy family of the late Republic, such as Marcellus, here represented with a body copied from a well-known statue of the god Hermes (Mercury), the Orator, which stood in Athens. The tortoise on the plinth below the drapery alludes to Hermes' invention of the lyre for which the shell served as sounding board; the god appears to be holding a plectrum in his right hand to strike the strings of the lyre. The work is executed in a classicizing style when sculptors like Kleomenes looked for inspiration to the masters of the 5th and 4th centuries in Greece.

Haskell, F. and N. Penny. Taste and the Antique. Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500-1900 (New Haven and London 1981), pp. 219-220, cat. 42.