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Flemish Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra Bronze
- This impressive early 17th-century Flemish bronze captures the divine hero Hercules
- The large patinated sculpture portrays the aftermath of battle: Hercules stands triumphant
- It is a stunning interpretation of the idealized forms so prized in the greatest pieces of antiquity
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The large patinated sculpture portrays the aftermath of. . .
The large patinated sculpture portrays the aftermath of battle: the Roman mythological hero Hercules stands triumphant over the body of the Lernaean Hydra he has just slain. Unlike the action depicted by the majority of heroic artworks, the present sculpture displays Hercules in a moment of quiet pause as the ferocious, multi-headed monster lies below. This is only the second of Hercules’ twelve labors — many challenges still lie ahead of the young hero, so his rest in this rendering foreshadows the challenges to come.
The divine hero has been a favorite of artists and sculptors for centuries; legendary for his physical strength, he also came to represent a moral fortitude. The Labors of Hercules, in particular, lend the mythological figure a strength and perseverance that seemed beyond the grasp of mortals. By overcoming all odds and successfully completing these Labors, Hercules achieved immortality and, ultimately, came to embody the Greek ideal of pathos, or virtuous suffering.
Early 17th century
Bronze: 8 3/4" wide x 6 3/4" deep x 22 1/2" high
Base: 8" wide x 6 3/8" deep x 4" high