Hercules and the Nemean Lion

possibly French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 537

The late Mannerist composition, derived only generically from the Hercules groups of Giovanni Bologna, displays networks of interlocking triangular shapes, resulting from Hercules’ legs being stretched crosswise behind the lion. The base, a segmental arc, is especially curious. The chasing is closely controlled, almost like medallic engraving. The head seems to reflect the features of the Farnese Hercules and those of Henri IV, but a French facture is offered here only provisionally. Another cast cited by Bode as belonging to the Victoria and Albert Museum is not, in fact, there.[1]

[James D. Draper, 1984]

[1] W. von Bode, The Italian Bronze Statuettes of the Renaissance, London, III (1912), pl. CXCVIII, 2.

Hercules and the Nemean Lion, Bronze, with etched golden-brown surface, oxidized dark brown where rubbed, possibly French

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