Hercules and the Nemean Lion; Hercules and the Hydra; Hercules and the Cretan Bull
ca. 1500 (made)
[Relief] Height: 76.2 cm, Width: 60.3 cm [Relief] Height: 76.2 cm, Width: 60.3 cm [Relief] Height: 74.9 cm, Width: 59.7 cm
Reliefs, terracotta, the Labours of Hercules, Italy (Emilia), last quarter of 15th century
[Relief] Hercules is represented nude in left profile struggling with the lion, which is shown in profile to the right. Behind the right foot of Hercules appears the club. [Relief] Hercules is represented turned to the right with raised club about to strike the hydra, one of whose coils he grasps with his left hand. [Relief] Hercules is represented struggling with the bull, which appears in left profile.
The place of origin of the present three friezes cannot be established. Friezes of somewhat the same type occur on the outside of the Palazzo dei Tribunali (formerly Landi) at Piacenza, the Palazzo Roverella at Ferrara and the Palazzo Stanga and Palazzo del Monte di Pietà at Cremona, and elsewhere in Emilia and Lombardy. The friezes depict the 1st, 2nd and 7th of the twelve labours Hercules had to undertake for his cousin Eurysteus. Hercules (Greek name is Heracles) is one of the most important heroes in Greek mythology. He was the son of Jupiter and Alcmena, a Theban princess. He is regarded as the embodiment of physical strength and courage. His two main attributes are the club and the lion's skin, which he won at his first labour. He had to undertake 12 labours as a penance for slaying his own children in an act of madness.
Given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A., 1952. Historical significance: Friezes of somewhat the same type occur on the outsides of palaces in Piacenza, Ferrara and Cremona, and elsewhere in Emilia and Lombardy.
Location: In Storage