Description The mythical Greek hero Heracles, known to the Romans as Hercules, was renowned for his great strength and the heroic deeds he performed, which were favorite subjects for painters and sculptors alike. Around 1580, Jean Boulogne (Flemish, 1529-1608), know as Giambologna, produced for Grand Duke Francesco I de' Medici (1541-87) of Tuscany a set of bronze statuettes of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, deeds which King Eurystheus ordered him to carry out, assuming them to be impossible. These groups are characterized by highly dramatic poses, with the limbs of the figures spiraling outwards from center. The smooth surface of the bronze enhances the muscles of Hercules's imposing physique. These figures were extremely popular all over Europe and were replicated in great numbers, beginning in the artist's lifetime and continuing for decades. Individual casts are difficult to date, but the bronzes exhibited here were surely made after the master's death. However, they preserve the character of Giambologna's originals and illustrate the refined taste of the Medici court towards the end of the 16th century. The capture of a ferocious boar, a terrible beast that laid waste to the Erymanthian Mountains, was the 4th Labor of Hercules.
|8/04/2005||Treatment||cleaned; repaired; loss compensation|
- World of Wonder. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1971-1972.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters
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