Flying Mercury bronze sculpture by Giovanni Bologna replica. 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.