The Labors of Hercules: Hercules Defeating the Centaurs

Sebald Beham1542

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

Labeled ARUMNAE HERCVLIS, meaning “Labors of Hercules,” this is the title page of Beham’s suite of 12 tiny prints depicting larger-than-life stories of the mighty Hercules. The battle scene may refer to a story in which Hercules slays the centaur Eurytion, bridegroom to a young girl who was previously Hercules’s lover. The centaur could also allude to Nessus, a centaur who cunningly plots Hercules’s undoing, depicted later in the series.

Beham was one of several German printmakers referred to today as the “Little Masters.” They established their artistic prowess by engraving remarkably small prints, appealing to collectors fascinated with miniature objects and curiosities.

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  • Title: The Labors of Hercules: Hercules Defeating the Centaurs
  • Creator: Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550)
  • Date Created: 1542
  • Type: Print
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1950.457
  • Medium: engraving
  • Department: Prints
  • Culture: Germany, 16th century
  • Credit Line: Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Williams Collection
  • Collection: PR - Engraving
  • Accession Number: 1950.457

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