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An image of Hercules and Cacus by Hendrick Goltzius

Hendrick Goltzius

(Netherlands 1558 – 1617)

Hercules and Cacus
Media category
Materials used
Chiaroscuro woodcut, line block in black and tone blocks in ochre and brown

41.6 x 33.6 cm trimmed just outside border

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Nicholas Batchelor 2013. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Goltzius’s only dated woodcut illustrates an episode from one of the twelve labours of Hercules: Hercules capturing the cattle of Geryon. Cacus, the son of Vulcan – god of fire, stole eight of Hercules’ cattle and hid them in his cave. He then blocked the entrance by chaining a boulder across the mouth. Hercules pursued Cacus, broke into the cave and gave battle. Goltzius shows Hercules at his moment of triumph, his club above his head, about to slay the fire-breathing thief.

Bibliography (2)

F.W.H. Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700, Amsterdam, 1949, vol.III: 122. no.373

Walter L Strauss, Hendrik Goltzius, 1558-1617: the complete engravings and woodcuts, New York, 1977, vol.II: 696-99. no.403

Exhibition history (1)

European prints and drawings 1500-1900, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Aug 2014–02 Nov 2014