26 April, 2012

Garden Herms

Earlier this week I added this photo to a page on the Villa Turicum website. I enjoy it because it gives exceptional detail to the sculpture in the lily pool garden:

"Six formal marble herms have been effectively set along either side of the garden, where they make a most effective sculptural group against the high evergreen hedge, suggesting the Roman gardens of long ago."

For those not familiar with the term "herm" I will save you the time of having to Google it; a herm is most commonly defined as a statue consisting of a pillar and a head. The form originated in Ancient Greece, was adopted by the Romans, and enjoyed a revival during the Renaissance. They were often used to delineate borders or boundaries.

Our herms shown in the photo above only enjoyed a brief existence of about 40 years, until they were beheaded in the Boy Scout Massacre of 1950; something I have referenced in an earlier post It is interesting to note that in a way this was history repeating itself.

A herm (Roman, A.D. 50 - 100) from the Getty Villa collection.

In 415 BC (during the Peloponnesian War) all of the Athenian hermai were vandalized the night before a planned Greek attack. Many devoutly religious Athenians considered this a blasphemous act that would threaten the success of their campaign. One can't help but draw comparisons to the impious Boy Scouts at Villa Turicum.

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