Mercury-- Picture

Full title: 'Mercury--Flying from the Shadow of the Sun'

There are several parallels that can be drawn between the model for this painting and the Roman god Mercury:
1. the model’s hair is orange, the color associated with Mercury
2. Mercury supposedly invented the sport of running and has a set of winged sandals as well as a winged staff and a winged helmet to aid him in his speed, and was usually depicted as a young man with an athletic build. The model is just such a young man, and excels at running even over long distances.
Also, the model has an older brother that is very much a ‘golden boy’, an Apollo if you will, that outshines his brother in the eyes of many, and Mercury and Apollo were brothers. There is one instance immediately after Mercury’s birth where he stole some of Apollo’s golden cattle and hid them. Apollo suspected Mercury and grew angry, but the other gods would not believe him because Mercury was just a baby. Finally, Zeus who had witnessed the entire event ordered Mercury to return the cattle but instead, Mercury invented the lyre and persuaded his brother accept it as compensation for the pilfered cattle. Thus, the younger brother actually usurps the elder brother.
All of these connections led me to question the archetypal implications of running—why do we run: to attain something, or to escape something? I personally feel that this model will, like his mythological counterpart, wind up usurping his brother simply because he seeks something greater, to succeed, but still retains the modesty of not having always been first.
I feel that to escape the shadow of the sun, the shadow cast by the revered figure of an older sibling, is a difficult task. Nevertheless, Hermes doesn’t just run—he flies and can thus rise above the cast shadow of Apollo. In this painting, he stares down the sun looking at it with both reverence and determination, the dark reds almost creating a Mars-like response, war-like. Nevertheless, his hair remains the orange of Mercury.
DIOSES ch 1.1 page 5
Nelly: Hephaestus
An Audience with Zeus