About this artwork
Herakles was the consummate hero. Temples across Greece and South Italy were dedicated to him, the son of Zeus, and Romans, who knew him as Hercules, celebrated him as a role model. With brute force, determination, and just enough cleverness, Herakles completed his famous Twelve Labors to become immortal. Herakles is readily identifiable by his knobby club and lion’s skin. The latter refers to his First Labor, in which he killed a magical beast who was ravaging the town of Nemea. The lion’s invincible hide made him immune to weapons, so Herakles strangled him and took his pelt. Depictions of Herakles’s other Labors can be seen throughout the galleries.
The weary hero Hercules stands at rest after completing his Eleventh Labor: stealing three golden apples from a tree guarded by nymphs known as the Hesperides. Here, he holds the apples behind his back. Originally his left arm was supported by his club, which was cast separately and is now missing. This statuette is a copy of the lost masterpiece of Herakles by the Greek sculptor Lysippos, which became one of the definitive images of Hercules in classical antiquity and into the Renaissance in the 15th century.
Currently Off View
- Ancient and Byzantine Art
- Ancient Roman
- Statuette of Hercules
- Roman Empire
- 50 AD–90 AD
- 22 × 11.4 × 8.6 cm (8 11/16 × 4 1/2 × 3 3/8 in.)
- Katherine K. Adler Memorial Fund