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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Classical Bronzes : Roman Bronze Statuette of Hercules
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Roman Bronze Statuette of Hercules - FZ.280
Origin: Antioch, Syria
Circa: 100 AD to 300 AD
Dimensions: 3.875" (9.8cm) high
Catalogue: V8
Collection: Classical Antiquities
Medium: Bronze

Location: UAE
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In the classical world, the hero Hercules (called Herakles by the Greeks) was one of the most popular of all mythical figures. Tales of his adventures and exploits were favorite themes for artists and storytellers alike. This magnificent statuette, offered as a votive, depicts Hercules in his most characteristic pose. He is shown as a man of robust health holding his club in one hand and a drinking cup in the other. Hercules is draped in the skin of the Nemean lion, the first of his famous twelve labors. The cult of Hercules was especially popular in the late Roman Empire, when the god became associated with the person of the emperor as a metaphor for strength and order. Though not large, this splendid work radiates the power of sculpture on a much grander scale. Heracles, the ultimate symbol of virility, of strength, of masculine dedication stands here in grand repose. His weight is hefted over his club, and across his back is stretched the pelt of the Nemean lion. His jaw is set in calm and firm repose, framed beneath the gaping mouth of the lion. The man who held the sky upon his shoulders, and wrestled the greatest beasts the human imagination has ever conceived of is a glorious image to behold in this masterpiece of sculpture. The artist meticulously crafted every muscle, and every tendon of his small body to create an imposingly glorious form on such a small piece of metal. Throughout history, the worship of strength, the virtue of athleticism, has played an enormous role in the shaping of societies. As we pack ourselves into stadiums and huddle around our television screens, we are paying homage to the rippling bronze form portrayed in this piece. To see, in such clean line and pure form the expression of physical beauty fills the heart with wonder and awe. This Hercules is an incomparable treasure to one who feels the admiration of the artist, and the common joy of physical expression, transmuted across two thousand years through this piece. - (FZ.280)


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