Farnese Hercules.
Patinated bronze.
Early 19th century.

H. 23,5 cm

The famous sculpture of Hercules Farnese by Glykon of Athens, dating from the third century and now kept in the Archaeological Museum of Naples, has been reproduced many times since its discovery during the Renaissance. But the subject had already been extremely successful in ancient times. This Roman original is in fact a copy of a Greek bronze probably made during the classical period by Lysippus or one one of his kind, and other ancient copies, of various scales, are known.
This success can be explained by the virtuosity sculptor shows in the impressive representation of the hero's musculature. But also by the iconography which poetically recalls some of the twelve labors performed by the demigod. Thus, he seems to rest somewhat nonchalantly against his club draped in the skin of the lion of Nemea. He holds in his hand the Hesperides apples. His attitude, the power of his body expressed by the muscularity and the grip that holds the apples as if they were simple marbles, give the full measure of his status as a demigod.
Adapting to the mores of his time, the subject has known a variation after the Renaissance: a leaf modestly covered the sex of the hero from the seventeenth century, with the interpretation of Jean Cornu (1650 - 1710) for Versailles.
Our Hercules takes up this model with a leaf, it has the particularity to be worked on the terrace, which attests to a beautiful quality of execution that distinguishes it from most reproductions.

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