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Rome Reports

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Hermes recovers its splendor at Vatican Museums

Few know that Hermes, the messenger of the gods, was one of the few who could visit the underworld. He helped souls pass to the other world after death. Now he's here...in his most perfect representation in the Vatican Museums.

Vatican Museums

"To compare it with another type of Hermes, this one had a special feature. His eyes are somber and sad, and the position of his body makes us understand that he is accompanying a deceased person."

The statue was sculpted in the second century, during the reign of emperor Hadrian, but later his trail was lost. It was in the 16th century when it was found near Castel Sant'Angelo and happened to occupy one of the most colorful stalls inside the Vatican; the Belvedere Courtyard.

The proof of the extraordinary skill of its sculptor is the fabulous solidity. This has allowed it to resist one restoration after another over the centuries. However, the last intervention was more urgent than some of the others: the statue was in danger of breaking.

Restoration Department

"The difficulty lies in the fact that it is an extremely important piece, well-known and extremely delicate."


"The previous restoration had joined the statue with very large quadrangular iron nails. They were rusting and could split the marble."

To prevent that from happening they had to rely on technology and expert manual skills. They dismantled the statue and replaced the nails and resins with other less aggressive materials. They also decided that from now on the statue will be monitored to verify its status constantly.


"Special sensors will be installed in the piece that will allow us to know if there is any imperceptible movement that forces us to intervene again."

Hermes was a model of perfection for many artists and is a jewel for lovers of art. Now, it rests in the Vatican Museums along with other great sculptures of all times such as the Apollo or the Laocoonte.