The Labors of Hercules: Hercules Killing the Lernean Hydra

The Labors of Hercules: Hercules Killing the Lernean Hydra


Hans Sebald Beham

(German, 1500-1550)


Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Williams Collection 1950.464

Catalogue raisonné: Pauli 107.100 ; Bartsch VIII.18.102



Hercules and his nephew Iolaus work together to defeat the multiheaded hydra of Lerna. To stop the hydra from regrowing its heads, Iolaus torches each neck as Hercules removes the head with his club. Meanwhile, a lobster aids the hydra by attacking Hercules’s heel. According to legend, Hercules dipped his arrowheads in the dead hydra’s blood to make them poisonous.

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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