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Marble Staute of a Bearded Hercules

April 14, 2013
Marble statue of a bearded Hercules

Marble Statue of a Bearded Hercules

Having spent much of the day working on my essay I am going to do a short post today.

The picture is of a statue of Hercules, dated AD 68 – 98, that is found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

This statue is a Roman copy of a Greek original and it is believed that it may have been a decoration in a public bath. Restoration works have been undertaken to various areas of the statue but are thought to accurately reflect the stance of the statue.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art believe that the statue is a ‘variant on long-established statue types that probably originated in images of the Greek hero Herakles dating to the fourth century B.C.’ I concur with this view as Hercules is represented in what could be considered a traditional way with the lion skin about his shoulders; this is an iconic image associated with him.

Hercules first labour, as detailed in Apollodorus’ Bibliotheca, was to slay the Nemean Lion. The skin of the Nemean Lion was impenetrable and so Hercules had to use his immense strength to strangle it to death. Hercules used the skin as an armour; it being impervious to the elements and most weapons.

Having seen the statue I can certainly say it is impressive and beautifully sculpted. If you are in New York the museum is worth a visit for numerous reasons but particularly as they have an excellent collection of sculptures from Ancient Greece and Rome but also Cyprus.

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