Sleeping Hermaphroditus, Musée du Louvre

3D Image

Jan van der Crabben
by arck-project
published on 03 October 2018

In 1619, Cardinal Scipione Borghese commissioned the Baroque Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini to sculpt the mattress under the marble figure. This work is a Roman copy that was probably inspired by a Greek original of the 2nd century BC. This statue is located in the Musée du Louvre.

The subject reflects the taste for languid nudes, surprise effects, and theatricality, all of which were prized in the late Hellenistic period. First impressions are of a gracious and sensuous body that leads one to think that the figure is a female nude in the Hellenistic tradition; this effect is heightened here by the sinuousness of the pose. The other side of the statue then brings a surprise, revealing the figure’s androgynous nature by means of the crudest realism. This effect of contrast and ambiguity, indeed this taste for the strange that plays with the viewer’s emotions, is the result of the theatricality of some Hellenistic art.

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APA Style

arck-project, . (2018, October 03). Sleeping Hermaphroditus, Musée du Louvre. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

arck-project, . "Sleeping Hermaphroditus, Musée du Louvre." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified October 03, 2018.

MLA Style

arck-project, . "Sleeping Hermaphroditus, Musée du Louvre." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 03 Oct 2018. Web. 16 Apr 2024.