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ATTRIBUTED TO WILLEM DANIELSZ VAN TETRODE (?DELFT C. 1525 - 1580), CIRCA 1558-1560
ATTRIBUTED TO WILLEM DANIELSZ VAN TETRODE (?DELFT C. 1525 - 1580), CIRCA 1558-1560
ATTRIBUTED TO WILLEM DANIELSZ VAN TETRODE (?DELFT C. 1525 - 1580), CIRCA 1558-1560
ATTRIBUTED TO WILLEM DANIELSZ VAN TETRODE (?DELFT C. 1525 - 1580), CIRCA 1558-1560
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ATTRIBUTED TO WILLEM DANIELSZ VAN TETRODE (?DELFT C. 1525 - 1580), CIRCA 1558-1560

The Weary Hercules

Details
ATTRIBUTED TO WILLEM DANIELSZ VAN TETRODE (?DELFT C. 1525 - 1580), CIRCA 1558-1560
The Weary Hercules
bronze figure; resting on his club draped with a lion pelt, and holding the apples of the Hesperides behind his back; on an integrally cast naturalistic base
15 1/8 in. (38.3 cm.) high
Literature
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500-1900, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 229-232, no. 46.
J. Nijstad, 'Willem Danielsz. van Tetrode', in Nederlands(ch) kunsthistorisch jaarboek, 37 (1986), pp. 259-278.
A. M. Massinelli ed., Bronzetti anticaglie dalla Guardaroba di Cosimo I, exhibition catalogue, Florence, 1991.
F. Scholten, Willem van Tetrode, Sculptor (c. 1525-1580) Guglielmo Fiammingo Scultore, exhibition catalogue, Amsterdam, 2003.

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Clementine Sinclair
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Lot Essay

The present bronze figure is based on the antique marble known as the Farnese Hercules (see Haskell and Penny, loc. cit.) although it represents an interpretation of the latter as opposed to being a direct copy. Here, the hero rests on his club and the pelt of the Nemean lion – a reference to the first of his Twelve Labours – and holds the golden apples of the garden of the Hesperides behind his back in a reference to the Eleventh Labour which he accomplished by slaying the serpent Ladon, who guarded the tree.
The bronze has recently been attributed to the sculptor Willem Danielsz van Tetrode by Emile van Binnebeke, who was a major contributor to the Tetrode exhibition held in Amsterdam and New York in 2003. A native of the Netherlands, Tetrode travelled to Italy where he studied first in Florence before continuing to Rome in 1552, where he entered the workshop of the sculptor Guglielmo della Porta. Della Porta’s studio was one of the most important in Rome at the time, and specialised in the restoration of the many antiquities that were being excavated in and around the city. Among the antiquities, della Porta was responsible for the re-construction of the Farnese Hercules and, as a result, Tetrode would have had unprecedented access to it. As has been noted by Frits Scholten, there is considerable evidence that Tetrode had access to several of the Farnese antiquities, and was clearly influenced by them (Scholten, op. cit., p. 20).
In 1559 Tetrode had his first independent commission, from Gianfrancesco Orsini, Count of Pitigliano. It was to involve a cabinet adorned with 20 bronze figures of antique subjects including a set of busts of roman emperors and two mirror-image figures of Hercules based on the Farnese model (today housed in the Uffizi, Florence). As with the present lot, they are an interpretation of the antique source and not a direct copy, with slimmer body proportions and the elimination of the lion skin and rocky outcrop supporting the club.
Although more roughly cast than the Pitigliano bronzes, the present lot nevertheless shares a number of common characteristics. First it must be noted that Tetrode seemed to have been fascinated by Hercules as a subject, as he returned to it, either as a single figure or as part of a multi-figure group, on numerous occasions. Furthermore, one sees the interest in the exaggerated musculature that was to be a hallmark of his Hercules figures later in his career, and one also sees the development of a distinctive facial type, with its strong brow, slightly bulging eyes and prominent nose. It is van Binnebeke’s assertion, that the present lot must represent an early example of Tetrode interpreting the antiquities that he had been studying. The bronze most likely dates from the years 1558-1560, when Tetrode was already working for Orsini, but before 1560 when Cosimo I de’ Medici took possession of the town of Pitigliano.

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