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Mediterranean

| Hercules (Ercole Maltese) |

Unknown sculptor

Hercules (Ercole Maltese)

Artist
Unknown sculptor
Date
1500s
Size
h. 103 x w. 45 x d. 37 cm
Technique
Marble
Location
Mediterranean Gallery – Beauty and Purpose
This marble statue shows a nude bearded Hercules in contrapposto pose, holding the club with which he stunned the invincible Nimean lion. It could not be killed with the weapons of mere mortals because its fur was impervious to attack. Hercules strangled the lion with his bare hands and is shown here proudly holding its pelt. This is one of the surviving items from the first known public collection in Malta, which was that of the Order of St John's Vice Chancellor, Gian Francesco Abela (1582-1655). He owned a large collection of various items in his villa, also known as 'Il Museo di San Giacomo', on Corradino Heights. The statue, known as the 'Ercole Maltese', was once considered to be a genuine antique due to the classical pose and accurate anatomy of the figure. It has recently been dated to the Renaissance as a copy after the antique.

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