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Plaquette - Hercules and Antaeus

Hercules and Antaeus

  • Object:

    Plaquette

  • Place of origin:

    Venice (or, made)
    Padua (or, made)

  • Date:

    early 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ulocrino (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze

  • Museum number:

    A.65-1951

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bronze plaquette is amde by Ulocrino in teh ealry 16th century.
It depicts the legend of Hercules and Antaeus, where in the combat, Hercules holds the giant Antaeus in the air in a vice-like grip, because Antaeus drew his strength from touching the earth.
We know little about the artist, Ulocrino. What we do know for certain is there is a coherent body of work with this signature, from between 1485 and 1530, of a style and subject matter that suggests Padua or Venice. The compatability of this body of plaquettes by Ulocrino with works by the renowned Paduan sculptor Andrea Briosco, called 'Riccio', has led to the suggestion that they might be by the hand of Riccio, signing under a pseudonym. 'Riccio' means 'curly-haired' in Italian, and it has been mooted that Ulocrino could be a hybrid of the Greek Oulos and Latin crinis that would also mean 'curly-haired'.

This theory that Ulocrino can be associated with Riccio has been rejected by many because of differences in style with a body of signed Riccio plaquettes, and the fact that such word-games were very popular in the Reniassance which would account for the similar nickname if Ulocrino also had curly hair. But a similarity with Riccio's later sculpture, and some doubt on the identity of some plaquettes traditionally ascribed to Riccio in recent years, has confused matters further. In summary, it is possible that Ulocrino is Riccio's signature in the later stages of his career.

Physical description

Plaquette depicting Hercules and Antaeus wrestling, between a column on the left and two columns on the right. Discarded club lies on the floor. Figure on the frieze at base of right-hand pillar. Inscribed above right 'VLOCRINO'.

Place of Origin

Venice (or, made)
Padua (or, made)

Date

early 16th century (made)

Artist/maker

Ulocrino (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze

Dimensions

Length: 6.875 cm, Width: 5 cm

Descriptive line

Plaquette, bronze, Hercules and Antaeus, by Ulocrino, Italian (Venetian or Paduan), early 16th century

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

Pope-Hennessy, John. Renaissance Bronzes from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Reliefs - Plaquettes - Statuettes - Utensils and Mortars . London: 1965, p. 72, no. 241, fig 345

Materials

Bronze

Subjects depicted

Homoerotic

Categories

Ph_survey; Myths & Legends; Sculpture; Plaques & Plaquettes

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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