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Post Lot Text
A BRONZE MODEL OF THE FARNESE HERCULES
AFTER THE ANTIQUE, ITALIAN, 18TH CENTURY
Depicted nude standing in contrapposto with the apples of the Hesperides in his right hand and leaning on his lion pelt and club; on an integrally cast square bronze base; dark brown patina with chocolate brown high points; minor casting flaws
The bronze offered here is modelled after a Roman marble dating from about 200 AD, now in the Museo Nazionale, Naples, which is in turn derived from a fourth century BC original, possibly by the sculptor Lyssipus. The Roman sculpture was discovered in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome by 1556 and was acquired by Pope Paul III Farnese, hence the name 'Farnese Hercules'. The sculpture was displayed by the Farnese family in the arcade around the courtyard of the Farnese Palace in Rome.
Here the hero Hercules is shown resting after having completed the twelve tasks assigned him. He leans wearily on his club and the Nemean lion's skin, and holds behind his back the three golden apples that eventually ensured his immortality. The Roman sculpture was used frequently as a model for reduced scale bronzes such as this one, but was also reproduced in drawings, engravings and carved into gems, all of which were souvenirs of antiquarian visitors to Rome from the 17th century onwards.