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Roundel - Hercules and the Hydra
  • Hercules and the Hydra
    Antico Pier Jacopo di Antonio Alari Bonacolsi
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Hercules and the Hydra

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Mantua (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1840-1860 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Antico Pier Jacopo di Antonio Alari Bonacolsi (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Relief in bronze

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This relief in bronze of Hercules and the Hydra is made by Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolso, called Antico, in the late 15th or early 16th century. It has though recently been suggested that is might be a fake (together with A.1-1959), executed by Salomon Weininger.
The relief corresponds with a relief in the Museo Nazionale, Florence, from which it differs in the absence of gilding in certain areas and in details of chasing in the heads of the snakes and elsewhere.
The legend of Hercules and the Hydra reflects Hercules’ second labour set to him by Eurystheus, where he had to kill Hydra, the many headed snake in Greek mythology.

Physical description

The nude figure of Hercules is turned to the left on a shallow platform like that in 149-1882. In his raised hands he holds his club, and with his left hand he grasps two of the seven coils protruding from the head of the Hydra. He stamps on the Hydra's tail with his right foot. His cloak, bow and quiver are suspended from a tree on the right.

Place of Origin

Mantua (made)


ca. 1840-1860 (made)


Antico Pier Jacopo di Antonio Alari Bonacolsi (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Relief in bronze


Diameter: 32 cm, Diameter: 37.5 cm, Depth: 2 cm

Object history note

Purchased in Paris (Vicomtesse d'Harcourt, with A1-1959, for £2126 6s. 9d.), with the help of contributions from the Murray, Webb and Bryan Bequests. Previously in the Piot collection.

Descriptive line

Roundel, Hercules and the Hydra, bronze, probably by Salomon Weininger (1822-1879), cast after an original by Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi, called Antico (1460-1528), Austrian, ca. 1840-1860

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

Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Volume I: Text. Eighth to Fifteenth Century. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964, p. 323, cat. no. 357
Raggio, Olga. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albertt Museum. Art Bulletin. Vol. L, 1968, p. 101
Allison, Ann Hersey. The Bronzes of Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi called Antico, Vienna, 1994, pp. 45, 65-6, 74, 103-105, ill. p. 104

Production Note

or early 16th century or modern copy (fake): Manfred Leithe-Jasper suggests this and A.2-1959 are fakes by Salomon Weininger, known to have made copies after bronzes in the Este Collection, Vienna.



Subjects depicted

Club; Bow; Quiver


Myths & Legends; Sculpture; Reliefs


Sculpture Collection

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