Hercules: Never Forgotten - Anna Brayton

This gallery contains the different portrayals of one the greatest and mightiest heroes in Greek and Roman mythology, Hercules. What better way to immortalize someone than by sculpting their likeness in a material that can stand through the test of time? Since Hercules has inspired many artist over the years, I will only be including those that were created in stone or metal and also those that depict one of his tales. 

This statue was created by an unknown Roman sculptor around 50 - 350 A.D. Created in marble, the piece was based on a Greek original that has been lost. Hercules looks to be relaxed after completing one of his twelve labours while leaning against his club. The emphasis of this statue appears to be the details in Hercules muscular upper body.
The Figure of Hercules and Nemean Lion was created in 1775 and manufactured by the Ludwigsburg Porcelain Factory. This ceramics piece depicts Hercules defeating the Nemean Lion as one of his twelve labors to atone for his killing of his family. One can also see movement through the position of Hercules with his fist within the lion's mouth.
Entitled Boy with a Dragon, this marble statue was created by Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1617. Here Hercules is shown killing a dragon with his strength even as an infant. An interesting fact about this statue is that Bernini decided to include a dragon instead of the serpent mentioned in the tales. One of the focuses of this piece is the detail of the face and hair of Hercules.
This bronze statue named Hercules and Antaeus was created by an unknown artist sometime in the 17th century. Here Hercules is shown wrestling the half giant named Antaeus. In the story, Antaeus could not be defeated as long as he was in contact with his mother, Gaia (the earth). This meant to kill him, Hercules had to crush him above the ground. The emphasis of this piece is the fight between the two men since one can see how Hercules has Antaeus in a tight bear hug.
Here Hercules is shown with the hind of Ceryneia before killing the mighty hydra for his second of twelve labors. This statue was created by marble sometime in the 2nd century A.D. While there is not much movement showing, the stance and pose of Hercules gives the viewer the impression that he is ready for whatever fight is about to happen.
This statue was created sometime during the 5th century B.C. Made out of bronze, Hercules is shown with his signature gnarled club. While this piece is not tied to any of Hercules's tales, it still portrays him as a powerful warrior and hero. As with the Statuette of Hercules, the focus of this statue is the toned and muscular body that Hercules is known for.
In this bronze stature created in 1909 by Émile-Antoine Bourdelle, Heracles is shown pulling back on a bow in order to take down the man eating stymphalian birds for one of his twelve labors. There is a lot of detail with Heracles's position. As he is crouching with his bow, the viewer can see how his muscles tense adding a sense of realism to the statue.
This plaquette created from bronze was created between 1488 and 1489. Here Hercules depicted killing the mythical Nemean lion as one of famous twelve labours to King Eurystheus. The texture of the plaquette gives the viewer a slight sense of depth and detail when one looks at this particular piece.
While not actually being a portrayal of Hercules, this marble bust is considered the most famous of Roman portraits from 180 - 193 AD. The Roman emperor is shown with Hercules's characteristics and attributes including the Nemean lion skin, his signature club, and the golden apples of Hesperides from Hercules's twelve labours. This shows that even the Romans wanted to be seen as great and mighty as Hercules.
This bronze statue created in 1600 portrays a scene from one of Hercules's tales called the Shirt of Nessus, Hercules can be seen engaged in a fight with the centaur Nessus. The way this piece was created, the viewer can see the movement of the two characters engaged in a battle.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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