Plaster. 59 cm
Inventory number: A16
Works, relating to this work: Thorvaldsen, Hercules, bronze cast, Prince Jørgen's Courtyard, Christiansborg Palace, CopenhagenEnlarge photo
Among the works in Thorvaldsens Museum there are several representations of the demigod and legendary hero Hercules (Gr. Herakles). This statuette, which is one of Thorvaldsen’s original models, shows Hercules with his usual attributes, the lion-skin and club.
In antiquity there were myths about heroes who were demigods or human beings who performed unusual deeds. While the gods were dangerous and unpredictable, the heroes were recognizable figures with whom mortals felt close affinities. This was why the legends of heroes were popular, and most of all the tales of Hercules. He was a true hero – strong, good and adventurous. But he was also hot-tempered, a great glutton and often ended up in comical situations. For that very reason he was greatly loved: the myths of his life and death were at one and the same time entertaining stories and proof that glory and good fortune could be won despite human flaws and imperfection.