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Plaquette - Hercules and the Nemean Lion

Hercules and the Nemean Lion

  • Object:

    Plaquette

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (North, made)

  • Date:

    early 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Moderno (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze

  • Museum number:

    A.437-1910

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This plaquette depicts Hercules and the Nemean lion and is made by the workshop of Moderno after an earlier design. It is based on a composition by Moderno of about 1500-5 showing this scene with medallions of the Judgement of Solomon and Achelous. The scene has been adapted from an upright to a horizontal format.
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.
Hercules (Greek name is Heracles) is one of the most important heroes in Greek mythology and represents the characteristics of masculinity, strength, courage and sexual prowess. He was the son of Jupiter and Alcmena, a Theban princess. He is regarded as the embodiment of physical strength and courage.

Physical description

Plaquette shows Hercules naked bending forward to the left, wrestling with the lion, whose hind foot is touching his right leg. To the right a dry tree, to which his bow and quiver are hung, the club on the ground. to the left a rocky cliff.

Place of Origin

Italy (North, made)

Date

early 16th century (made)

Artist/maker

Moderno (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze

Dimensions

Height: 5.7 cm, Width: 6.5 cm

Object history note

From the Salting bequest.
This is based on a composition by Moderno of about 1500-5 showing this scene with medallions of the Judgement of Solomon and Achelous. The scene has been adapted from an upright to a horizontal format.

Descriptive line

Plaquette, bronze, Hercules and the Nemean lion, by the workshop of Moderno, North Italy, 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. 35
Pope-Hennessy, John. Renaissance Bronzes from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Reliefs - Plaquettes - Statuettes - Utensils and Mortars . London: 1965, pp. 50-51, no 164, fig. 160

Materials

Bronze

Subjects depicted

Bow; Club

Categories

Plaques & Plaquettes; Sculpture; Myths & Legends

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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