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

FOLLOWING HADRIAN

This week’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

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…

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About HadrianicSociety

The Hadrianic Society was formed in 1971 under the leadership of the late Dr. Brian Dobson together with Professor David Breeze and Professor Valerie Maxfield. The Society is made up of those having Hadrian's Wall or the Roman Army as a principal interest.

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