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Hercules and Cacus
Hercules and Cacus Hercules and Cacus

By Hendrick Goltzius

Hercules and Cacus
Hercules and Cacus Hercules and Cacus

One of Hercules’ Labours was slaying the fire-spitting giant Cacus, who had stolen the cattle that Hercules was guarding. Hercules, dressed in a lion’s skin and wielding a club, stands by the dead Cacus, as good overcoming evil. Goltzius was commissioned by a Haarlem lawyer named Colterman to paint ‘Hercules and Cacus’. He also purchased ‘Minerva’ and ‘Mercury’, which Goltzius had painted two years previously. All three paintings display the same humanistic educational ideal. Theory (Mercury) and practise (Minerva) lead to skill and virtue. Virtue is depicted by Hercules, who slays the evil giant Cacus. Presumably, Colterman himself served as the model for Hercules.

Year

1613

Material

oil on canvas

Dimensions

207 × 142,5 cm

Credit

Frans Hals Museum, On long-term loan from the Mauritshuis, photo: René Gerritsen

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