Mercury and Commerce sculpture

Mercury and Commerce sculpture, Baltimore, John Evans, public art

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.

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