Head of a Herm (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

late 1st c. B.C. - early 1st century A.D.
Roman, Augustan
marble
Overall: 28 1/2 × 13 1/2 × 12 in. (72.4 × 34.3 × 30.5 cm)
2013.168

Herms are a type of sculpture that developed in the sixth century BCE in Greece and have remained popular in Western art ever since. Ancient herms consist of a head (usually bearded) on a tall pillar from which posts (suggesting arms) and an erect phallus project. Early herms served as boundary and distance markers with a sacred character similar to a roadside shrine. This Roman version was created as part of the “neo-Attic” movement, when artists sought to emulate earlier styles developed in Athens.

 

 

Augustan
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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