Skip to Content
Closed now, next open tomorrow. Closed now, next open tomorrow.

Two Male Heads after the Antique, the Sons of Laocoön

A work made of red chalk on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of red chalk on ivory laid paper.


c. 1605


Hendrick Goltzius
Dutch, 1558–1617

About this artwork

Surviving drawings in other collections prove that Hendrick Goltzius studied firsthand the famed Laocoön group, an ancient Roman sculpture unearthed to great fanfare in the early 1500s. The monument was widely revered as an ideal representation of human torment, made more famous by printed representations.

Goltzius created this red-chalk drawing at least a decade after his visit to Rome in 1591, employing specific motifs for his own expressive ends. Extracting the faces of Laocoön’s sons from the sculptural ensemble and reversing their left-to-right order, Goltzius blended the red chalk to emphasize the protruding volumes of the neck muscles. By applying greater pressure, he reinforced the contour lines of the figures, particularly around the sides of their faces.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Hendrick Goltzius


Two Male Heads after the Antique, the Sons of Laocoön


Netherlands (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Red chalk on ivory laid paper


16 × 25.2 cm (6 5/16 × 9 15/16 in.)

Credit Line

Regenstein Acquisition Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions