The Farnese HerculesArtist(s)Jacob BosObject Creation Date1562Medium & Supportengraving on laid paperDimensions
18 ⅛ in x 12 ⅝ in (46.04 cm x 32.07 cm);18 ⅛ in x 12 ⅝ in (46.04 cm x 32.07 cm);17 11/16 in x 11 15/16 in (44.93 cm x 30.32 cm);17 11/16 in x 11 15/16 in (44.93 cm x 30.32 cm);28 1/16 in x 22 1/16 in (71.28 cm x 56.04 cm)Credit LineGiven in memory of Dr. & Mrs. Milton J. GoodfriendLabel copy
March 28, 2009
Jacob Bos, a Flemish printmaker active in Rome during the mid-1500s, created this engraving of the famous Farnese Hercules for Antoine Lafréry, an enterprising publisher who commissioned a number of accomplished engravers in Italy to reproduce works of antique sculpture and architecture. Lafréry capitalized upon the avid demand for such reproductive prints among artists and collectors by selling the prints either individually or a selection of them together in a portfolio known as the Mirror of the Magnificence of Rome.
Bos elected to depict the front of the Farnese Hercules, unlike Goltzius, who engraved the same statue 30 years later from the back. Bos’s version is more mechanically descriptive and less skillfully modeled than the later master’s, conveying comparatively little of the sculpture’s monumentality or three-dimensional form. The print succeeds, nevertheless, in capturing the essential appearance of a masterpiece that might be seen only once in a lifetime.Subject matter
The engraving reproduces a statue that is itself a copy from the 3rd century CE of an original from the 4th century BCE. The monumental sculpture was unearthed in Rome in the 1540s, and quickly became one of the most famous and influential of all ancient sculptures. The statue was purchased soon after its discovery by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and displayed in the family's residence in Rome, the Farnese Palace, until the late eighteenth century.Physical Description
This engraving reproduces a colossal marble sculpture of Hercules leaning upon his club, which is draped with a lion skin. Bos carefully records the powerful musculature of the figure and sets the statue within a niche.Primary Object Classification Print Primary Object TypestudyCollection AreaWesternRights
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