He is generally naked; his right leg rests on a rock or the prow of a ship; he carries a trident in his hand, and is gazing in front of him, apparently out to sea; sometimes he is standing on the water, swinging his trident, or riding in his chariot over the waves, accompanied by his wife Amphitrite, the Nereids and other inhabitants of the sea.
Although the figure of the hero frequently occurs in groups - such as the work of Scopas showing his removal to the island of Leuke by Poseidon and Thetis, escorted by Nereids and Tritons, and the combat over his dead body in the Aeginetan sculptures - no isolated statue or bust can with certainty be identified with him; the statue in the Louvre (from the Villa Borghese), which was thought to have the best claim, is generally taken for Ares or possibly Alexander.
Here it was found by his uncle Sisyphus, who had it removed to Corinth, and by command of the Nereids instituted the Isthmian games and sacrifices in his honour.
Nereus is represented with the sceptre and trident; the Nereids are depicted as graceful maidens, lightly clad or naked, riding on tritons and dolphins.
Some of this sculpture has been found; the acroteria are Nereids mounted on sea-horses, and one pediment contained a battle of Greeks and Amazons.
News of the death of Patroclus is brought to Achilles - Thetis comes with the Nereids - promises to obtain new armour for him from Hephaestus.
Gnomes, sylphs and nereids are introduced on almost every page, and personification is carried to an extraordinary excess.
The Greek sirens of Homer are clearly a form of these deadly fairies, as the Nereids and Oreads and Naiads are fairies of wells, mountains and the sea.