31.8 x 22.0cm image; 32.2 x 22.5cm sheet
The subject of this enigmatic engraving relates to a passage by the Greek writer Xenophon about the youthful Hercules deciding between Virtue and Pleasure. Dürer shows Pleasure lying naked with a satyr, about to be beaten by her opponent. Hercules wields a tree-trunk, ready to enter the fight. Dürer was inspired by Italian art for his representation of classical nudes in the landscape. The reclining nude is derived from an engraving by Mantegna while the muscular figure of Hercules is borrowed from a print by Pollaiuolo that Dürer would have seen during his first trip to Italy in c.1494-5.
Editor Unknown (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Domain, 1972, 7 (illus.). This engraving appears with the title of `Combat of Virtue and Pleasure in the presence of Hercules'.
Nicholas Draffin (Australia, b.1943, d.1995) (Author), Piety and Paganism, Sydney, 1991, 4, 13.
Piety and Paganism, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 13 Jul 1991–29 Sep 1991.
German Old Master Prints, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 03 Mar 1998–16 Jun 1998.
Old Europe: Prints & drawings from the collection 1500-1800, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 03 Jun 2006–06 Aug 2006.