Mercury and Commerce sculpture
Public Art : Mercury and Commerce sculpture
Sculptor : © John Evans (1847 - 1923)
Description: The granite Mercury and Commerce
sculpture features two naked Greek heroic figures seated on either side of a globe guarding the American
continent. The left figure is clearly Mercury, the messenger of the gods and is in his traditional winged cap and
caduceus (staff). On the right is the figure called Commerce, which still remains somewhat of a mystery .
Date Unveiled: The B&O Railway Company
building was unveiled on August 11th, 1906 at midnight with all the building's 5,000 lights turned on.
Funded By : The B&O Railroad Company
Location: The two heroic figures can be found sitting
on the B&O Railroad Building, 2 N.Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Controversy and Confusion: The major problem with
this sculpture is no one knows/ understands the reference to the figure of "Commerce" as he isn't a Greek god. In
fact Mercury was considered in Greek mythology to be the protector of commerce and wayfarers. Commerce has his
right arm draped around a steam train and has a torch in his left hand. In 1913 the sculpture was referred to as
Mercury and Progress, with "Progress" representing industy. The general concensus is the sculptor created his own
heroic figure based on the modern god of railways.