These patinated bronze figures depict Mercury, the classical Roman messenger god, and the goddess of luck, Fortuna. Both figures stand on cylindrical stepped yellow marble plinths, which are encircled by bronze panels. These panels are decorated with continuous bas-relief scenes, depicting cherubs sailing ships and consulting globes.
Both figures are pictured in the idealistic nude, adopting animated poses. Fortuna is poised on the tip of a cloud-like, swirling base, while Mercury stands on a gust of wind, issued from the mouth of the god, Zephyrus. Mercury’s heels are winged, to allow the god to fly and deliver messages to the Olympian gods.
These figures are based on bronze works by the famous Mannerist sculptor, Giambologna (1529-1608). Giambologna’s sculpture of Mercury is especially well-known. It was created in 1580 for Ferdinando de’ Medici. The piece was intended as a sculptural finial for a fountain in the Villa Medici in Rome but was moved in 1780 to the Uffizi Museum in Florence.