Male herm-bust

Late Archaic Period
about 480 B.C.

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Thessaly

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 028; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 107 (additional published references).


Height: 37 cm (14 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble probably from the Greek island of Paros

On View

Archaic Greece Gallery (Gallery 113)


The Ancient World



This herm of a young man, perhaps a commemorative or funerary representation of an athlete, was left in an unfinished state because a major flaw developed in the block of marble. This begins at the back of the head and runs, V-shaped, in two directions, ending by the left eye and left edge of the lip and through the right cheek beyond the right eye. The sculptor evidently tried to save his work by cutting off the back of the head and the back of the herm-bust at a slight diagonal, but eventually he had to abandon his carving, leaving the face and ears nearly finished and the hair still roughed out like a cloth cap.
Condition: All the surfaces are somewhat rough or corroded, from the action of the soil on the unfinished surfaces. There are considerable traces of incrustation that have resisted cleaning, and the surfaces as they now remain have an attractive coloring somewhere between yellow, brown, and gray.

Scientific Analysis:
Marble has been scientifically tested with X-Ray Diffraction and determined to be Calcitic.
Harvard Lab No. HI099: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.16 / delta18O -0.93, Attribution - Paros 2, Ushak, Proconnesus, Justification - Coarse-grained marble, Petrographic Analysis - maximum grain size (2.5mm), strongly lined.


1924, sold by Edward Zoumpoulakis (dealer), Athens, to Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. P1414); 1936, sold by Brummer Gallery to the MFA for $6500. (Accession Date: April 2, 1936)

Credit Line

Charles Amos Cummings Fund