Herm of Posidippus
Uffizi Gallery, Inv. 1914, no. 388
I Century B.C.- I Century A.D.
Height 176 cm – Width 31-29 cm
This male herm arrived from Villa Medici, probably as part of the statuary owned by Pope Julius III and later acquired by Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici. The herm is nearly complete, showing interventions only in the lower part of the nose and small marginal parts of the pinnae. Visible at the front is the point of insertion of the missing penis.
Despite its distinguished collecting history and literary renown (being one of the only two known portraits of the philosopher Posidippus) the sculpture has never been subjected to any conservation treatment. The marble shows the most precarious conservation conditions of the whole Gallery collection, and its recuperation is especially urgent also in view of its being among the sculptures that will be on display in the new ground-floor rooms to be opened soon. Besides being a milestone in the history of Hellenistic portraiture, the sculpture is also one of the rare existing intact herms from Antiquity (and the only one conserved at the Uffizi).
The restoration intervention is expected to give especially interesting results also about the revelation of original colors, partly already visible to the naked eye (the pupils). An accurate mapping and a rich photographic documentation will set the basis for new possible future studies doing justice to the very important rose of this marble in the history of ancient portraiture.