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Title

Hercules at the crossroads


Artist

Albrecht Dürer

Germany

24 May 1471 - 05 Apr 1528


About

The subject 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 figure is derived from an engraving by Mantegna while the muscular figure of Hercules is borrowed from a print by Antonio del Pollaiuolo that Dürer probably saw during his first trip to Italy in 1494–95.


Details


Other Titles

Hercules choosing between Virtue and Vice

The Hercules


Date

circa 1498


Media category

Print


Materials used

engraving


Edition

ii of 2 states


Dimensions

31.8 x 22.0 cm image; 32.2 x 22.5 cm sheet


Signature & date

Signed l.centre, [incised plate] "AD [artist's monogram]". Not dated.


Credit

Purchased 1938


Location

Not on display


Accession number

8503


Artist information

Albrecht Dürer

Works in the collection

12


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 7 (illus.). This engraving appears with the title of `Combat of Virtue and Pleasure in the presence of Hercules'.

Nicholas Draffin, Piety and Paganism, Sydney, 1991, 4, 13.