PÁTIO DO COLÉGIO, 73
FORMER SÃO PAULO STOCK EXCHANGE
CURRENT I TRIBUNAL DE ALÇADA CIVIL DO ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO [FIRST COURT OF CIVIL JURISDICTION OF THE STATE OF SÃO PAULO]
DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED BY THE RAMOS DE AZEVEDO, SEVERO AND VILLARES TECHNICAL OFFICE, 1933
The exchange between Mercury and Phoebus of a lyre built from a tortoise shell by a calf made these mythological Roman Gods – Hermes and Apollo, for the Greeks – the patron gods of Commerce and Music, respectively. This explains the presence of Mercury on the façades of small popular shops and on large institutions alike, such as this large head on the façade of the former Stock Exchange of São Paulo. Here, Mercury wears a winged helmet adorned with a serpent’s head, in an aesthetic conception that visibly flirts with the Art Deco superheroes of North American comic books of the 1930s.
The Roman god, to whom we owe the origin of the word “commerce,” was adopted by traders as their patron, and thus his attributes were very common throughout Western cities. In São Paulo, in addition to the winged helmet, seen here, we will find symbols refering to Mercury in the Álvares Penteado School of Commerce, the Correios Palace and in the Matarazzo and Guinle buildings, among many others.