Hymen by Damià Campeny

  • Description

  • Work's History

Campeny’s Hymen, made in Italian marble, is a handsome young man, naked except for his sandals, gazing at the flames pouring out of two small torches he holds in his hands. The union of the flames symbolises love and the marriage bond. In his thick hair he wears a crown of flowers with two roses in the front.

«Hymen and Amor light the torches, the fire is satiated by diverse aromas, they hang garlands from the ceiling and all around can be heard lyres and flutes with the songs that joyously announce the lightness of our hearts.» Ovidi, Les metamorfosis

In the Gilded Hall, on the first floor of the Llotja, there are four sculptures of Italian marble that form a set: Hymen, Love or Conjugal Fidelity, Diana the Huntress and Paris. Damià Campeny worked on them in Rome, possibly between the years 1802 and 1814, and sent them to Barcelona in 1815 once the Napoleonic Wars had finished. The reason why Campeny created the sculptures is uncertain. From their matrimonial symbolism – Hymen would represent love; Conjugal Fidelity, faithfulness; Diana the Huntress, fertility; and Paris, beauty – it would seem that they were made to commemorate the double royal wedding that took place in Barcelona in 1802. However, some sources suggest that it was an initiative of the artist himself.

The four marbles remained wrapped up, just as they had arrived from Italy, until June 1825, when the Board of Trade presented them in an exhibition held in the Llotja.

ymen is the Greek god of marriage and presides over weddings. His name was especially invoked in the song of the entourage that accompanied the bride to the bridegroom’s house. According to the legend, Hymen was a very attractive Athenian youth, but too young to marry the woman he loved. One day, some pirates kidnapped him along with a group of Athenian girls, among them his beloved. Hymen set himself free from the bandits, killed them all and returned the captives safe and sound to their families. The girl’s father, in gratitude for the young man’s heroism, accepted him as his son-in-law.


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Author's works
at the Llotja de Mar

  • Lucretia

    Damia Campeny 
  • Diana the Huntress

    Damia Campeny 
  • Janua caeli

    Damia Campeny 
  • Mastiff

    Damia Campeny