Statuette of Hercules

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze.

Date:

Mid–late 1st century AD

Artist:

Roman

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.

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Ancient and Byzantine Art

Artist

Ancient Roman

Title

Statuette of Hercules

Origin

Roman Empire

Date

50 AD–90 AD

Medium

Bronze

Dimensions

22 × 11.4 × 8.6 cm (8 11/16 × 4 1/2 × 3 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Katherine K. Adler Memorial Fund

Reference Number

1978.308

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 .

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