Studies of a Fallen Male Nude for "Hercules and the Horses of Diomedes"

Eugène Delacroix French

Not on view

This drawing attests to an unrealized idea for an 1852 commission: the decoration of the Salon de la Paix in the newly expanded Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall). Delacroix’s program included eleven lunettes dedicated to episodes from the life of the Greek hero Hercules. Although conceived as a liberating act, Hercules feeding the barbaric king Diomedes to his own flesh-eating horses—the subject partially depicted here—was likely deemed too violent for a room dedicated to peace. The studies of Diomedes reaching backward above his head and Hercules’s fist clamped around the king’s arm convey some of the force of the struggle, even in the absence of Hercules’s body and the threatening horses.

Studies of a Fallen Male Nude for "Hercules and the Horses of Diomedes", Eugène Delacroix (French, Charenton-Saint-Maurice 1798–1863 Paris), Graphite

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