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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

 
 
 
PIER JACOPO ALARI BONACOLSI (called Antico)
Italian, 1460 - 1528
Hercules Resting after the Battle with the Nemean Lion
1495–1500
Bronze

11 x 5 13/16 inches

 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Edith A. and Percy S. Straus Collection

Arts of Europe
 
ABOUT

This depiction of a victorious Hercules was created by an Italian sculptor, goldsmith, and medalist known as "Antico" (the ancient, or antique). His classically inspired bronze statuettes won him great popularity, and he also restored ancient marble sculptures and acted as an adviser to collectors.

Ancient Greek hero Hercules was sentenced to performing a series of seemingly impossible labors as a penance for slaying his own children in a fit of madness. He was ordered by the Delphic oracle to serve Eurystheus, king of Tiryns, for 12 years and to undertake any task required. The first of these tasks was to slay a lion that terrorized the citizens of Nemea. The animal was invulnerable to Hercules's weapons, so he strangled it to death. Here, Hercules stands over his opponent, leaning on his standard attribute—a club—and wearing the lion's skin.