• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1915

    Antiquities

    6 December 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 151

    A ROMAN MARBLE ALTAR FOR HERCULES

    CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D.

    Price Realised  

    A ROMAN MARBLE ALTAR FOR HERCULES
    CIRCA 1ST CENTURY A.D.
    Sculpted in relief, the front with the Erymanthian boar standing on a groundline in left profile, the corners fluted, the right side with a phiale and trefoil footed ewer, the back with the Nemean lion skin splayed, the left with the hero's knobbed club; the top bordered with volutes formed of bundled petals with rosettes at each facing end, the central plinth roughly finished and blackened from burnt offerings
    34¼ in. (87 cm.) high


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    The imagery depicted on this altar refers to two of the Twelve Labors of Hercules: the slaying of the Nemean lion; and the capture of the Erymanthian boar. In the first labor, Hercules was ordered to kill the lion, which haunted the area around Nemea. Its hide was so thick that it was impenetrable to weapons. The capture of the boar was the fourth labor. It was a giant and dangerous creature that lived on Mount Erymanthos, which Hercules successfully captured by driving it into the snow.

    Provenance

    Acquired by the current owner in France, 1973.