Chiaroscuro woodcut (in black and gray)
Support: Beige(1) laid paper
Sheet: 29.5 x 22.5 cm (11 5/8 x 8 7/8 in.)
Gift of Ralph King 1925.443
Catalogue raisonné: Bartsch 12 (XII.133)
In this allegory, not linked to a particular myth, Hercules applies his brute force in the service of art and knowledge. Pointing toward the archway, Apollo banishes the vice of Avarice from the Temple of the Muses. A personification of greed, Avarice carries a hoard of treasure in her arms as Hercules, a character of virtuous strength, chases her out. Apollo sits next to the war goddess Athena, identified by her helmet, shield, and spear. Here she represents wisdom, and fulfills a civilizing role as patroness of the arts.
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