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Home > Auctions > 5th March 2024 > Roman Bronze Reclining Hercules Statuette

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LOT 0162

GBP (£) 800 - 1,000
EUR (€) 930 - 1,170
USD ($) 1,010 - 1,260

Current bid: £2,200 (+bp*)
(27 Bids, Reserve met)

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(27 Bids, Reserve met)   |   Current bid: £2,200
9 3/4 in. (4.28 kg total, 25 cm wide including stand).

Hollow-formed figure of Hercules resting with his weight on his left arm, cradling his club; lionskin mantle drawn over his head and covering his shoulders, back and thighs; right arm resting on his right thigh, holding a corner of the mantle; scaphoid base with attachment holes; mounted on a custom-made display stand. [No Reserve]

From a collection acquired on the UK art market from various auction houses and collections mostly before 2000.
From an important Cambridgeshire estate; thence by descent.

Cf. for the reclining Hercules in Sieveking, J., Munchner Jarhbuch der bildenten Kunst, N.F.I., 1, Munchen, 1924, 13f.; also Comstock, M., Vermeule Cornelius, Greek, Etruscan & Roman Bronzes in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, New York, 1971, p.102, no.107, for the image of a recling young Herakles; for a similar Hercules as chariot fitting see cf. V.I.Ignatov, Funeral complexes with carts in the Roman province of Thrace (mid 1st - 3rd century c.), Sofia, 2018, pl.16, no.

This bronze was probably a chariot decoration. Hercules is represented here in mature age, bearded and with a cap and body covered by the skin of the Nemean Lion, killed in the first of his labours. This kind of image of Hercules was mainly widespread in the second to third century A.D., when emperors like Commodus and Maximianus Herculius identified themselves as the new Hercules at the top of the Roman state.