- Reference number
- Bonarelli, Mateo (Italian)
- 61 cm x 160 cm x 60 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, pieza del Hermafrodita, 1700, nº 91; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, 1747, nº 18).
Son of Hermes and Aphrodite, Hermaphrodite was a singularly handsome youth. According to Ovid (Metamorphoses 4, 285 ff.) Salmacis, the nymph from a lake in Caria, was enthralled by his beauty and passionately embraced him while he was bathing. Their two bodies merged as one, with double gender.
This sculpture, commissioned by Velasquez in Italy for the decoration of Madrid's Alcázar Palace, is a copy of the classic marble from the Borghese Collection in Rome, now in the Louvre Museum. The high technical quality of this piece makes it a masterwork that surpasses the original. The molds were made by Ferrer.
It is signed on the upper part of the pillow.