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Art, travels

Hermaphroditos

The statue of Hermaphroditos closes my Louvre trip (over 2 years after I actually visited it!). While the exquisitely crafted mattress it rests on was created by Bernini in the 17th century – and is a masterpiece in its own right – the statue itself is a Roman copy of a lost Greek original.

The legend of Aphrodite’s son fused in body with a nymph he had rejected (thanks to Zeus, of course, who had a penchant for messing things up!) is interesting too. The statue has male genitals and feminine curves, while the face is sufficiently ambiguous. The pose is classical Greek with a fluidity of form, a gentleness of curvature and a certain tension in the uplifted foot: it seems Hermaphroditos is about to turn in her/his sleep. Having seen the statue of Nike, I could only imagine what of the mood conveyed by the original creation might have been lost in translation, so to speak. While the Romans were experts at statuary, most of their work is still and awkward, resembling cardboard cut-outs more than living human form. They were, thankfully, good at copying too and a lot of lost Greek art comes to us through their Roman emulators.

Bernini’s button tufting does not completely succeed but still manages to soften the hard marble somewhat, evoking a certain softness which is remarkable, given the medium!

About hbhatnagar

I need to fill this up with much better content than I had populated it with earlier. Why I write a blog maybe? I started blogging in 2009 or thereabouts. I was a newly turned atheist and wanted to converse with others of the same persuasion. We're not exactly a big population group in India! It didn't go very well and I sort of lost interest, posting a few things now and then. I got a lot more regular over the last few months and have been posting almost daily since February '15. There were many reasons why I gradually became more regular in posting, but one way or the other, here I am! So this blog has taken shape, being at different points in time my showcase, my comedy club, my art gallery, my book club, my therapist, my close friend, my innermost self....but always my little corner of the world. You are all welcome to visit and I hope you stay awhile! A few points about me because I don't want to lead anyone on(and trust me this does become an issue more often than I'd care to admit). I'm Indian, the brown-skinned variety; if race, ethnicity or skin colour is an issue, you don't have to get to know me any more than what you see on my blog. I'm 40, so if age is an issue, please be informed accordingly. I was a doctor, an ophthalmic surgeon for 10 years before I quit practice.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Hermaphroditos

  1. Thank you for teaching me how to appreciate this masterpiece, the male genitals and feminine curves…
    I wish this is not the last one of your Louvre trip series.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Amy | 11/01/2021, 12:44 AM
    • I always enjoy sharing what I learn, though receptive ears are hard to find! 😀
      This was the last of the Louvre that I shared but I still have a few thousand pics from later trips to sort through and post!

      Like

      Posted by hbhatnagar | 11/01/2021, 10:25 AM
      • Thank you for taking time to share your knowledge. Your series is informative and educational.

        Like

        Posted by Amy | 11/01/2021, 9:21 PM
  2. At first glance the statue looks like two people twisted around each other. I think it was genius to morph two bodies into one single body. With all the foot stomping on now about gender fluidity and queerness, you would not be blamed for believing that these concepts were inventions of the modern era. We forget that civilisation was bendy aeons ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Sabiscuit | 31/12/2020, 2:46 PM

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