Of Gods & Men - (Teddy Serrano)

This gallery represents the Greek Demigod Herakles, or the Roman name Hercules, as he takes on extraordinary challenges that places him in the ranks with the Gods as well as the imperfections, struggles and overall mortality that ties him to the human race by the engravings printed on laid paper by Hans Sebald Beham.

Hercules is facing off with a lion who was said to have skin so tough that weapons couldn't penetrate its skin and terrorizing the villages. So with his bare hands Hercules wrestled it and choked the life from this fierce beast. With the proper proportions of the figures in the foreground and the village off in the background it shows Hercules taking the fight away from the people of the village. After the victory Hercules would use the skin of the lion as protective wear for future protection, giving the awareness of mortality.
Here we see Hercules battling the multiple headed Hydra. In this engraved print you can see the Hydra has more than the amount of heads it started out with which emphasizes this battle has been on going for a while because for every head that was cut off two take its place while its blood is poison. This battle would never last for a mortal human.
Here we see Hercules right about to defeat the fire breathing giant Cacus. You can see the dominance Hercules exerts with his foot on top of the tyrant. The columns begin to descend in not the background providing depth of the environment with Hercules centered with absolute victory in reach.
This depiction is of Hercules battling the Trojans. The entire space was used to its fullest extent to help portray the overflowing chaos of this battle. Hercules is engulfed by the Trojan warriors as he fights them off. From fallen soldiers and horses that pollute the ground of the battlefield you can see Hercules trying to stay a float over the waves of enemy troops.
Hercules is claiming his prize of the Princess Iole after the king went back on his word after finding out Hercules was already married. Hercules being upset he didn't get his reward he killed the king and Iole's brother and took Iole with force. This moment would set Hercules on the course to his death because of his wife's fear of losing him to Iole. The rage of a man is depicted with the space filled with repetitive images of fallen men and horses showing what one man would go through to claim his reward.
Anthaeus is the son of the god Poseidon and Gaia. He would wrestle anyone who came across him. He could never lose as long as he remained in contact with his mother(earth). Hercules knew to beat him he would have to break the link and by raising Anthaeus in the air and squeezing the life out of him Hercules would reign victorious. This depiction is not of Hercules god-like strength but his mortal brain and intelligence that allowed him to out smart a fellow demigod.
One of the most well known depictions of Hercules divine capabilities that defined his right to stand with the gods is the capturing of Cerberus, or Kerberos(Greek) who guarded the gates of Hades. The balance of good and evil depicted on both sides of the engraved print.
Hercules is carrying two columns as part of his labors. The positions of the columns form a cross blending a reference of another son of god who had carried his own cross. Like Christ, Hercules was a born of a mortal with a god for a father. He would also die a mortal and ascend to the heavens and take his place with the gods. A lot of the structures are identical using repetition as a message of its own, symbolizing not just the architecture but the biblical story as well.
Compared to the other engraved prints, the structural design is flawless and neat to instill a false sense of safety. Here Hercules is handed the garment of Nessus. What is not depicted is that the garment was tainted with the blood of the centaur Nessus and would be the official down fall to the mortal Demigod.
In this last piece we see the lifeless body of Hercules laying over a fire pit that he had created after realizing he had been poisoned and his fate was eminent. His son standing beside him looking over the body of his fallen hero, and father. Though his mortality had been questioned, Hercules was gifted with godly strengths from his father Zeus, he was still of flesh and blood. Even though he would die mortal; Hercules would ascend to the heavens and take his rightful place among the gods. The focus is on the fire as opposed to the figures. Everything is still in the image except the movement of the flames and smoke helping bring the unity in this moment depicting his body's destruction at that precise time.
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