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Italian, ca. 1853
H. 67.5”
Original location: West of the front entrance steps
Location of original: Lobby of Inman Hall

Hercules is the most celebrated hero in mythology, the personification of courage and physical strength. Hercules was the son of Jupiter (Zeus) and a mortal woman. Jupiter’s wife, Juno, (Hera) unhappy with her husband and hostile to his offspring by mortal women made Hercules go insane. While in this insane state he killed his wife and children. When the insanity passes and realizing his deeds he appealed to Apollo for guidance. As part of his punishment he was commanded to perform twelve difficult tasks that seem impossible. The twelve labors take on a moral significance of the victory of good over evil. Later this would be associated with Christian virtues. Hercules is usually portrayed with a club made from the truck of a wild olive tree he uprooted with his bare hands. The lion skin that he is wearing is the lion of Nemea refers to one of his twelve labors. Hercules’s adventure in the Garden of the Hesperides made him a suitable garden subject. [Berger, p. 64]

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