Greek Mythology and Hercules

1554 words 7 pages
Capturing the Herculean Hero Ancient Greek and Roman mythology are polytheistic religions that emerged in Western Europe thousands of years ago. Both cultures believe in mostly the same gods and demigods, also known as half-gods, but have different names to designate them. Perhaps the most famous demigod known most notably for his superhuman strength is Hercules, the Roman name for the Greek demigod Heracles. The superman-like figure is even more popular in mythology than certain gods and goddesses. Over time, artists and sculptors have attempted to depict Hercules through different types of material and physical poses. Although each depiction has its own individuality in the material by which it was created and the stance the demigod …show more content…

The statue is a massive portrayal of the demigod Hercules with a lion head draped over his head and shoulders. Even without limbs, one can still capture the essence of the statue and even the artist’s potential motive in covering him with a lion’s skin. According to Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, “He killed a lion when he was 18 and ever after, wore its skin as a cloak” (228). Based upon this idea, it is highly probable that the sculptor created this statue in respect to Hercules’ defeating the invulnerable lion of Nemea as his first of the twelve excruciating labors (Perseus). The statue itself resembles the painting of Hercules fighting Cerberus in that both artists compose the same man: massive in stature and extremely defined with thick hair and a beard. Although it cannot be certain, the same artist who sculpted the Marble Statue of a Bearded Hercules almost definitely sculpted the extremely similar looking Marble Statue of a Youthful Hercules (Fig. 3). Constructed during the same time period, A.D. 68-98, and in the same location, the statue depicts yet another massive man in size with the same lion skin, this time with it draped over his left arm. In his right hand he is clutching a club or branch and in his left he appears to be clutching little spheres of some sort. Like the previously discussed statue, in substance the Marble Statue of a Youthful Hercules must have some sort of purpose or meaning. Both found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New


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