Description In 1583, a marble statue group with the broken, entwined torsos of two muscular wrestlers was discovered in Rome. Sculptors tried to imagine compositions that would complete them, one being the struggle of Hercules and the evil giant Cacus, slain by Hercules after he stole the hero's cattle. The subject fascinated Florentine sculptors after Michelangelo explored it in the early 1500s. In the 1580s, Giambologna, the Flemish sculptor who achieved such success in Florence, made a set of bronze statuettes of the twelve Labors of Hercules for the Medici duke Francesco I, including Hercules wrestling with Cacus. Casts after these were made for decades and in varying quality. There were a number in the Southern Netherlands in the 1600s. This group appears to have been influenced by both the ancient marble and Giambologna's bronzes.
- World of Wonder. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1971-1972.
- The Allure of Bronze. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1912 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1912
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