The Labors of Hercules

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Beham was one of several German printmakers referred to today as the “Little Masters.” They established their artistic prowess by engraving remarkably small prints, appealing to collectors fascinated with miniature objects and curiosities. Here, Beham has packed 12 larger-than-life stories of the mighty Hercules into tiny prints. The series includes three of the 12 labors Hercules performed as penance for slaying his children in a fit of madness: Strangling the Nemean Lion, Killing the Lernean Hydra, and Dragging Cerberus from the Underworld. The other scenes depict tales from his life and the events preceding his death. The son of Jupiter and the mortal Alcmena, Hercules was both man and god. His saga of moral and physical trials made him one of the most popular classical heroes in Renaissance art.
The Labors of Hercules

The Labors of Hercules


Hans Sebald Beham

(German, 1500–1550)
Germany, 16th century

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