Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Williams Collection 1950.457
Catalogue raisonné: Pauli 105.98 ; Bartsch VIII.157.96
Labeled ARUMNAE HERCVLIS, meaning “Labors of Hercules,” this is the title page of Beham’s suite of 12 tiny prints depicting larger-than-life stories of the mighty Hercules. The battle scene may refer to a story in which Hercules slays the centaur Eurytion, bridegroom to a young girl who was previously Hercules’s lover. The centaur could also allude to Nessus, a centaur who cunningly plots Hercules’s undoing, depicted later in the series.
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.
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