barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


Andrea Andreani (c. 1560-1623)

Hercules and the Nemean Lion

Mantua/Rome, about 1520

Chiaroscuro woodcut

250 x 188 mm

 

Hercules is perhaps the best known classical hero. Killing the Nemean Lion was the first of his Twelve Labours, as series of challenges which atoned for the murder of his wife and sons, and demonstrated the triumph of Good over Evil. Hercules’ club lies discarded in the foreground, as it took manual strength, rather than weapons, to defeat the animal which was terrorising the region. The gnarled trees in the background echo Hercules’ twisted musculature and the tightly cropped composition is focused entirely on the fight. Woodcut after Raphael.

Purchased 1955 (No.55.20)

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