Hercules: Slayer of Monsters - (James Stacey)

This art gallery features the Greek hero Hercules, defeating many mythological beasts in paint and sculpture.

This soft colored oil painting depicts Hercules in the midst of slaying the Nemean Lion, the first of twelve labors he had been given to atone for killing his wife and children after losing his mind. Here he is wrestling with the beast barehanded before what will end with him slaying it and completing his first labor.
This dark, earth colored painting shows Hercules fighting the Hydra, his second labor, while wearing the pelt of the lion he previously defeated. This battle is arguably his most well known thanks to film, and this piece is one of the more action filled ones as he is mid strike while the Hydra attempts to coil it’s tail around his ankle.
Another depiction of the battle against the Hydra, this engraving differs from the first piece with its inclusion of Iolaus, who was instrumental in killing the monster. Here they are shown working together as Hercules cuts off a head and Iolaus cauterizes the neck to prevent two from growing back. This piece says a lot about the character and that even the mighty Hercules couldn’t go it alone all the time.
This more relaxed sketch shows Hercules after defeating the Hydra, with its many severed heads at his feet. Iolaus is once again missing, but the pelt from the lion is clearly visible. Many works of art either show him in mid battle, or, like this one, victorious having completed his second labor.
Before carrying on with his fourth task, Hercules stopped at his Centaur friend’s and convinced him to share some wine. This etching shows the consequence of many of the centaurs disagreeing with allowing Hercules to drink their wine and attacking him out of spite, causing Hercules to defend himself. While his pelt isn’t present in this piece, he is seen carrying the same club as he has before.
In this etching, Hercules is shown both subduing the Boar for his fourth task, and carrying it away. One can assume the figure in the background is also Hercules from the lion tail on the pelt it is also wearing and knowing the story featured Hercules alone defeating a lone wild boar. This is an interesting choice for this art style, but having the aftermath depicted in shadows keeps the focus on the main image in the foreground.
This oil painting depicts Hercules killing the Bull of Crete for his seventh labor, but many myths state that Hercules released it once it was captured and it was eventually killed by Theseus. Nonetheless, this painting clearly shows Hercules in his lion pelt wearing glory, accepting the gratitude from a pair of women as he stands over the bleeding body of the bull.
This hard lined etching depicts Hercules capturing the three-headed dog Cerberus who is the guardian of Hades, to complete the final of the series of twelve tasks given to him. The artist Tempesta shows the aftermath of what would have been a fierce battle as demons look on as Hercules leads a subdued Cerberus out by his chain.
While the myth states that Hercules’ slayed the centaur Nessus with a poisoned arrow, this bronze statue shows Hercules about to strike with his recognizable club as the two violently struggle. Many paintings and other artwork depicted Hercules towering over his foes and this statue is no exception as Hercules prepares to kill another of his better-known enemies.
Another oil painting from Marchetti, this one depicts a scene more faithful to the myth as Hercules prepares to unleash an arrow across the river at Nessus to prevent him from abducting a woman. Much like Marchetti’s other pieces featured here, this one shows Hercules as more average and human like, instead of the muscle head most works of art depict him to be. This may have been an attempt to humanize him more and make him more identifiable.
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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