Hendrick Goltzius reached his peak as a printmaker in the mid-1590s. His superb engravings were much sought-after in the young Dutch Republic and further afield. Like his illustrious predecessors Albrecht Dürer and Lucas van Leyden, Goltzius expressed his artistic ambitions in scenes from the Bible, but he also illustrated episodes from classical mythology, often choosing erotic subjects. This engraving of the giant Hercules Farnese (presently in the Naples Museum) is based on a statue Goltzius saw in Italy. In the picture he has included the portrait of two (presumably) travelling companions who are looping up at the statue of Hercules in awe. Goltzius is seen as a transitionals artist between the Netherlands mannerist style of the 16th century and the Netherlands realism of the 17th century.


  • Title: Farnese Hercules
  • Creator Lifespan: 1558 - 1617
  • Creator Nationality: Dutch
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Haarlem, the Netherlands
  • Creator Birth Place: Muhlbracht, Germany
  • Date Created: circa 1592
  • Theme: Art in Art
  • Physical Dimensions: w283 x h400 mm
  • Original Title: Het beeld van Hercules Farnese, op de rug gezien
  • More Info: Link - Hercules Farnese in Napels - Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen - http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • Engraver: Hendrick Goltzius / Herman Adolfz (publisher)
  • Artist Information: Hendrik Goltzius was an engraver from Haarlem. In the beginning he mainly engraved works designed by other artists, but later also used his own designs. Together with Cornelisz. Van Haarlem and Carel van Mander, Goltzius in Haarlem worked in a mannered style. Between 1590 and 1591, Goltzius travelled through Italy, which would have a large influence on his work. He only started painting in 1600. From this time, his paintings and also his engravings slowly distanced themselves from the mannered twisted stances. Goltzius's engravings, whether of his own or other artists' designs, are numerous and of the highest quality.
  • Type: Print
  • Rights: Bequest of Dr. J.C.J. Bierens de Haan 1951, http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • External Link: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Medium: Engraving

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