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(Italian, c. 1560-1609)
Black chalk heightened with white, squared in black chalk on right, incised (edges of figure)
Sheet: 35.5 x 52.4 cm (14 x 20 5/8 in.); Secondary Support: 36.6 x 53.3 cm (14 7/16 x 21 in.); Tertiary Support: 38.3 x 55 cm (15 1/16 x 21 5/8 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1997.52
During a temporary state of madness, Hercules murdered his wife and children. To atone for his crime, he was required to perform twelve labors. In this final study for a fresco of this subject commissioned by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese for the ceiling of his study in his family’s Roman palace, Hercules rests, surrounded by evidence of his toil. The hero’s pose and exaggerated musculature are a result of the artist’s intense study of ancient models and are meant to emulate antique sculpture in the Farnese household and other Roman collections.
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