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Casket with the Labors of Hercules
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Casket with the Labors of Hercules

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This casket, with its original metalwork intact, incorporates ten plaques with the Labors of Hercules. The Hercules subjects were popularized in Limoges by carvings of about 1533 on the choir screen of the city's cathedral. They were ordered by the new bishop, Jean de Langeac, who became an important supporter of Limoges enamellists. The rendering here, following that in the cathedral, is quite awkward, demonstrating no knowledge of classical form. On the front of the casket are representations of Hercules wrestling with the Nemean lion, capturing the Cretan bull, carrying the "pillars of Hercules," and killing of the giant Cacus. The Latin inscription engraved into the top of the casket reads "Fear God."
Date Description Narrative
5/02/1984Examinationexamined for exhibition
11/03/1987Treatmentcleaned; repaired
  • The Art Treasures Exhibition. Manchester. 1857.
  • The Taste of Maryland: Art Collecting in Maryland 1800-1934. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
Provenance Lord Hastings' Collection [date and mode of acquisition unknown, sold 1888]; George Robinson Harding [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, April 28, 1919, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1919

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ca. 1540 (Renaissance)
painted enamel on copper, gilded copper, wood
Accession Number
H: 5 1/8 x L: 7 1/2 x W: 4 3/4 in. (13 x 19 x 12 cm)


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