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Object of the Month: The Messenger by Sam Jinks

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

The ancient Greeks often tried to make their statues look as lifelike as possible. See how modern technology lets us take ancient art to new extremes with this statue of Iris, on display at the Hellenic Museum!

At the Hellenic Museum, we have a room dedicated to a hyper-realistic sculpture of Iris, the messenger goddess. It shows Iris bending down to collect water from the river Styx. This water had the power to send both gods and mortals to sleep for an entire year. Zeus had commanded Iris to carry it, and put to sleep all those who lied under oath!

This statue is so realistic that when most people see it, they think it's a real person, even her gold wings are inspired by real bird wings! The Greeks greatly admired any artist’s ability to create the illusion of reality in their art and even wrote poetry dedicated to their most realistic statues. Can you imagine what the ancient Greek sculptors would have thought about Jinks' Iris?

The Hellenic Museum houses a collection of real and cast statues so you can come and see more examples of ancient artistic prowess!

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