Live Auction

The Collection of Niall Smith

Wed, Nov 8, 2023 10:00AM EST
  • 16712
Lot 176

Grand Tour Gilt-Bronze Model of The Farnese Hercules, After the Antique

Estimate: $600 - $800
Sold for

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $25
$200 $50
$500 $100
$3,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$30,000 $2,500
$100,000 $5,000

Stamped, 'Herkules', and raised on a marble plinth base.

15 3/4 x 4 5/8 x 4 5/8 in.

Note: This bronze is modeled after a Roman marble dating from about 200 A.D., now in the Museo Nazionale in Naples, which is in turn derived from a 4th century B.C. original, possibly by the sculptor Lyssipus. The Roman sculpture was discovered in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome by 1556 and was acquired by Pope Paul III Farnese, hence the name 'Farnese Hercules'. The sculpture was displayed by the Farnese family in the arcade around the courtyard of the Farnese Palace in Rome.
The hero Hercules is shown resting after having completed the twelve tasks assigned to him. He leans wearily on his club and the Nemean lion's skin, and holds behind his back the three golden apples that eventually ensured his immortality. The Roman sculpture was used frequently as a model for small bronzes such as this one, but was also reproduced in drawings, engravings and carved into gems, all of which were bought as souvenirs by antiquarian visitors to Rome.




Minor chips to the marble base with oxidation and rubbing to the gilded surface. Nicely cast.

Notwithstanding this report or any discussion concerning condition of a lot, all lots are offered and sold "as is" in accordance with our conditions of sale.

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The Collection of Niall Smith.