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Plaquette - Hercules and the Nemean Lion

Hercules and the Nemean Lion

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (North, made)

  • Date:

    late 15th century to early 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Moderno (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This medal depicting Hercules and the Nemean Lion is made by Moderno.
The Nemean lion was a monster in Greek mythology that lived at Nemea and terrorised the city. It was killed by Heracles as the first of his 12 labours. It had a golden fur and thus couldn't be killed conventionally but just by strangling it.

Moderno (Galeazzo Mondella) (1467-1528) is the pseudonym of this goldsmith and medallist active in North Italy and later in Rome. He signed certain pieces of his work with OPUS MODERNI (opus is the Latin term for 'work' - which then means 'work of the modern'). The modern here is referring to the Ancient World, in contrary to the Naturalism of the Gothic. His earliest works may date around 1485-1490, and his earliest dated work is 1490. Moderno specialised in small bronze plaquettes exploring religious or antique themes, and catered for a clientele of learned humanists.

Physical description

Hercules naked, kneels facing to the right, wrestling with the lion.

Place of Origin

Italy (North, made)


late 15th century to early 16th century (made)


Moderno (artist)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 7.9 cm, Width: 6.6 cm

Object history note

From the Salting bequest.

Descriptive line

Plaquette, bronze, Hercules and the Nemean Lion, by Moderno, North Italy, late 15th to early 16th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 69
Maclagan, Eric. Catalogue of Italian Plaquettes . London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1924, p. 36
Pope-Hennessy, John. Renaissance Bronzes from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Reliefs - Plaquettes - Statuettes - Utensils and Mortars . London: 1965, p. 54, no 179, fig 199



Subjects depicted



Plaques & Plaquettes; Sculpture; Myths & Legends


Sculpture Collection

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