The son of Jupiter and the messenger of the gods, Mercury was worshipped in Roman times as the god of traders and merchants, and his popularity spread with the extension of Roman power, influence, and trade. Giovanni Bologna (1529-1608), a Flemish artist working in the Medici court of the Grand Duke Cosimo I in Florence, created four distinctly different bronze sculptures of Mercury, each version more refined than the preceding one. Composing his subject in the figura serpentine, or, ascending corkscrew arrangement, Bologna forces the viewer's eye to travel both over and around the sculpture. The Museum's Mercury statue reproduces one of Bologna's later models, in which form and attitude combine to achieve a lightness and grace of movement that seems to defy gravity. Mercury is depicted with the typical winged feet, gliding through space. In his left hand is the caduceus, a wand carried by ancient Greek heralds as a symbol of immunity during war, a form of two snakes intertwined about an olive branch that is capped by wings. The Museum's reproduction is made from a mold of the original statue.
Made of bonded bronze (cold cast). "Cold-Cast" bronze (also referred to as "bonded bronze") is a product made from resin mixed/blended with 100% pure bronze powder to give it the appearance of the true bronze. It looks just as a "lost wax" bronze object does - both are bronzes. The cost for making a "lost wax" bronze statue is much greater than that of a "cold-cast" bronze statue. A sculpture made of "lost wax" bronze would be several times more expensive then made in cold cast bronze. Yet in either of the above materials, the casts (the final product made out of the mold) are made using the same rubber mold; which is taken from the original sculpture. Thus, the final result is exactly the same bronze sculpture, only made in a different bronze material. With the cold cast we still achieve the same bronze effect at much lower cost and thus is more affordable.
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