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Italian School

19th century. "The Fourth Labor of Hercules". Bronze.

34 x 23 x 11 cm.

Italian school; "Grand Tour", 19th century. "The Fourth Labour of Hercules". Bronze. Measurements: 34 x 23 x 11 cm. Round sculpture made in bronze representing the mythological figure of the semi-god Hercules. He is naked, holding the Erimantus boar. The figure is standing in a frontal position, so that the balance and proportion of his anatomy, which is clearly classical, can be clearly appreciated. Hercules is recognised as the son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene, and carried out twelve great works for which he was deified. Hercules represents the incarnation of the divine in the human, and is one of the solar heroes. He is depicted with a powerful anatomy, carrying the olive wood nail (the club which was his main weapon) and wearing the skin of the lion of Nemea. The presence of the Erimanthus boar alludes to Hercules' fourth task, in which he was to catch the animal, which was causing havoc among the local inhabitants, and then take it to Mycenae and deliver it to the king. The term 'Grand Tour', which first appeared in Richard Lassels' 'Voyage d'Italie', was used to define the long journey through Europe, especially Italy, which was regularly undertaken by young British aristocrats from the 17th century onwards, but especially throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The purpose of the journey was for young people to become acquainted with the art and culture of mainly France and Italy, to admire classical art at first hand, to learn or improve their knowledge of languages, and to establish contacts and relationships with the cultural and political elites of these countries. Travellers were often looking for pieces with which to start their own art collections, objects to take back to their places of residence as souvenirs. For this reason, workshops specialising in the replication of Roman pieces, both in bronze and marble, sprang up, some of which acquired a great reputation.