Recorded in the 1659 inventory of Prince Mattia de' Medici, the present painting was identified by Stephen Pepper as the Hercules mentioned by the Marchese Ferdinando Cospi, the Medici agent in Bologna, in a letter of 20 May 1642 (see Pepper, op. cit., 342), Cospi refers to it as 'la più bella testa che egli habbia mai fatto the most beautiful head that Reni ever painted'. Guido himself wrote to the Prince regarding this composition in a letter dated 30 June 1642 (see Crinò, op. cit.), and the great 17th century biographer, Count Carlo Cesare Malvasia, documents this it as one of the gifts bestowed to the Prince by Reni in his biography of the artist (op. cit.). Pepper dates the Hercules to circa 1640.