The Labors of Hercules: Hercules Receiving the Garment Steeped in Nessus' Blood

The Labors of Hercules: Hercules Receiving the Garment Steeped in Nessus' Blood


Hans Sebald Beham

(German, 1500-1550)


Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Williams Collection 1950.459

Catalogue raisonné: Pauli 108



Perceiving the princess Iole as a rival, Hercules’s wife Deianeira soaks a shirt in the blood of the centaur Nessus and sends it to her husband. Deianeira believes the blood is a love potion that will secure Hercules’s undying affection, but it is actually poisonous. Here, a servant named Lichas delivers the toxic shirt.

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.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 

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