Herm, Architectural Support Element

Origin uncertain, 1670‒1700

About some of the objects from the initial years practically nothing is known. We also know nothing about this herm except that it was exhibited on the ground floor beside the famous «Todesbilder» [images of death] from the bishop’s palace.

Atlas, the bearer of the heavens from classical mythology, was integrated into Christian contexts in the Middle Ages. As a support figure in architecture it could be understood as a symbol for the penitent who is carrying a heavy load. Pointing to this context is the medallion showing a cross that our figure has hanging from his necklace. Atlases were also popular on renaissance and baroque furniture and panelling. Most known examples of this are from southern Graubünden.