The Drunken Herakles supported by Priapus thumbnail 1
The Drunken Herakles supported by Priapus thumbnail 2
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The Drunken Herakles supported by Priapus

Casket Panel
second half of 10th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is an ivory panel from a casket made in the second half of 10th century. The panel depicts a large figure of Heracles, naked except for a large cloak, and holding a spear and he is supported by a smaller, fully dressed figure, who appears to tweak Herakles' left nipple.
The scene illustrates the drunkenness of Herakles at the Court of Omphale. It is possible that the present plaque formed part of a rosette casket dedicated to mythological figures. The good quality of the carving and the use of ivory rather than bone suggest that this would have been one of the grander examples of the genre and a date in the second half of the tenth century is most likely.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Carved ivory
Brief Description
Casket panel, ivory, depicting the drunken Hercules, supported by a man, Byzantine (Constantinople), second half of 10th century
Physical Description
This panel depicts a large figure of Heracles, naked except for a large cloak, and holding a spear, is supported by a smaller, fully dressed figure, who appears to tweak Herakles' left nipple. The top right-hand corner, which is cut away, shows on the cut face traces of the earlier carving of a border of pearled ornament.
Dimensions
  • Height: 6.4cm
  • Width: 4.5cm
Style
Object history
In the possession of John Webb, purchased from Webb in 1867.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This is an ivory panel from a casket made in the second half of 10th century. The panel depicts a large figure of Heracles, naked except for a large cloak, and holding a spear and he is supported by a smaller, fully dressed figure, who appears to tweak Herakles' left nipple.

The scene illustrates the drunkenness of Herakles at the Court of Omphale. It is possible that the present plaque formed part of a rosette casket dedicated to mythological figures. The good quality of the carving and the use of ivory rather than bone suggest that this would have been one of the grander examples of the genre and a date in the second half of the tenth century is most likely.
Bibliographic References
  • Beckwith, John. The Veroli Casket. London: HMSO, 1962, p. 10, Fig. 10 (Museum Monographs No. 18)
  • Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1867. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 11
  • Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part I, p. 37
  • Goldschmidt, Adolph and Weitzmann, Kurt. Die Byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen . I, 16
  • Williamson, Paul. Medieval Ivory Carvings. Early Christian to Romanesque. London, V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010, pp. 86, 7, cat.no. 17
  • Byzantine Art, a European Art, Athens : Printing Office of the Institut Français d'Athènes, 196448
  • Talbot Rice, David, Masterpieces of Byzantine Art, Edinburgh Festival Society, Ediinburgh, 1958
  • Lafontaine-Dosogne, Jacqueline & de Smet, Robert, Splendeur de Byzance: exposition 2 oct.-2 déc. 1982, Musées royaux d'art et d'histoire, Bruxelles, Europalia,1982
  • Evans, Helen C & Wixom, William D (ed.), The Glory of Byzantium; art and culture of the Middle Byzantine era A.D. 843-1261, Metropolitan Museum, New York, 1997
Collection
Accession Number
288-1867

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record createdSeptember 12, 2003
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