French Bust of Hercules

  • This impressive early 18th-century French bronze captures the divine hero Hercules
  • The figure is rendered after the 2nd-century Roman marble of Hercules in the British Museum
  • It is a stunning interpretation of the idealized forms so prized in the greatest pieces of antiquity
  • Get complete item description here
Price available upon request Item No. 31-1633

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A fine example of early 18th-century sculpture, this impressive French bronze captures one of the greatest divine heroes of myth and legend: Hercules. The figure is rendered in the classical style after the famed 2nd-century Roman marble of Hercules in the collection of the British Museum; this marble is itself presumed to be a Roman copy after the bronze original by the renowned late classical Greek sculptor Lysippos, which is known today as the Herakles Farnese. Emotive and impactful, it is a stunning interpretation of the idealized forms so prized in the greatest pieces of antiquity.

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. The story of Hercules’ Labors begins in tragedy after the demi-god is driven mad (under the influence of Hera) and murders his family. As penance, he is given twelve seemingly impossible tasks by his rival, King Eurystheus of Tiryns. 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.

Here, the great hero is depicted with his head turned downwards, suggesting that Hercules, though successful, has been exhausted by his Labors. The coils of his hair and beard are rendered in remarkable detail, while his furrowed brow and downcast gaze lend him a humanity that brings this bust to life. It is a truly exceptional example of the high-quality bronzes produced in France during the early 18th century.

5" wide x 4 1/4" deep x 8 1/4" high
11 1/4" high with stand
French Bust of Hercules
Period: 1700-1815
Origin: France
Type: Sculpture
Depth: 4.25 Inches
Width: 5.0 Inches
Height: 8.25 Inches
Style: Neoclassicism

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