Hercules, Deianeira and Nessus

Hercules, Deianeira and Nessus

18th Century

Glazed ceramic

Overall: 37.5 cm (14 3/4 in.)

Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., for the Coralie Walker Hanna Memorial Collection 1939.192

Location

Description

Charles III, King of Naples, established the Capodimonte royal porcelain factory under his patronage in 1743. Responding to the success of Northern European porcelain factories, the Capodimonte group perfected their soft paste porcelain and produced a variety of high quality objects, ranging from Rococo-inspired decorative arts to more sculptural works.

This unpainted figural group depicts the climax of an episode from the later life of Hercules. His heroic nature prevented Hercules from adapting to domestic life, much to the dismay of his wife, Dejanira. Growing tired of his absence, on one occasion Dejanira pursued Hercules. When she reached a river she could not cross, Dejanira accepted a ride from a centaur, Nessus, who, after taking her half way, attempted to abduct her. Here we see Dejanira clinging to her husband, who has arrived in time to slay Nessus with a poison-tipped arrow.

--Dominique Pen (July 2013)

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