Calypso with Hermes

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Hermes visiting Calypso, on a wall-painting from Pompeii, found to the north side of the via dei Augustali, on the outer wall of a house, opposite the "Pantheon".

Dimensions: 2'8" wide, 2'10" high

In the centre, a pillar rises from a rock with a strangely ornamented capital, of the sort erected in honour of Artemis). At the botom of the pillar is a rustic deity.

To the right, Hermes, wearing a chlamys (cloak) and winged wide-awake hat (petasus) stands nonchalently, holding his herald's staff (caduceus - khrukeion ). He has no winged sandals, his feet are bare.

On the left is a goddess. The drapery and attitude of the figure are those peculiar to Aphrodite but it is not unusual to find nymphs and other minor goddesses represented in this way in Graeco-Roman art.

Here, then is Calypso, also nonchalent and a little coquettish, receiving from Hermes the commands of Zeus to let Odysseus go. The lack of seriousness or urgency suggest this is meant to be graceful and ornamental rather than dramatic - although the hand on hip stance of Hermes and stern expression could imply impatience.