Archaeologists discovered the Seated Mercury on this day in 1758 in the peristyle of the Villa of Papyri at Herculaneum. The statue seems to be a first-century BCE copy of an original dating from the late fourth or early third century BCE and shows stylistic similarities to the work of Lysippos, who, together with Praxiteles, introduced a taste for slender figures based on an ideal ratio of the head as one-eighth of the body (lengthening the 1:7 ratio proposed by Polykleitos in his Canon). Art history pioneer Johann Joachim Winckelman believed the Seated Mercury to be the greatest of the bronzes found at Herculaneum, calling it “most superb.”

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