Bronze; H. 5 1/16 in. (12.8 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1928 (28.77)
The Greek god Herakles is presented here not only as a hero of extraordinary strength and vitality, but also as a beautifully groomed and, thus, civilized individual. This aspect is emphasized in Archaic art. Only later do episodes of his legend, such as the madness that Hera inflicted upon him, become prominent in art. The bronze statuette was probably commissioned for dedication in a sanctuary.
Mightiest son of Zeus and slayer of the most dangerous creatures, Herakles is the greatest of the Greek heroes. According to legend, he performed several feats throughout his life, among them: accompanying the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece, taking part in the Calydonian boar hunt, and engaging in an expedition against Troy. The goddess Athena was his guardian and counselor, and the one who brought the hero at the end of his life to Mount Olympus, where he was ultimately accepted among the immortals for his labors and adventures that linked him with all parts of Greece.