The Labors of Hercules: Hercules Strangling the Nemean Lion

The Labors of Hercules: Hercules Strangling the Nemean Lion


Hans Sebald Beham

(German, 1500-1550)


Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Williams Collection 1950.469

Catalogue raisonné: Pauli 107.99 ; Bartsch VIII.158.106



Hercules uses his bare hands to strangle the lion that terrorized the people of Nemea. The beast was invulnerable to his weapons, which Hercules propped against the nearby tree. In art, Hercules often appears wearing the pelt of the Nemean lion, an identifying symbol that recalls this legend and that characterizes the hero’s strength and fearlessness.

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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