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Hercules and Cerberus
Rubens, Peter Paul
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Rubens, Peter Paul

Siegen, Westphalia (Germany), 1577 - Antwerp (Belgium), 1640

Rubens, Peter Paul See author's file

Hercules and Cerberus

1636 - 1637. Oil on panel. Room 079

The mythological hero fights against the fearful three-headed dog that guards the Underworld while two figures, possibly the Underworld´s titular gods, Pluto and Proserpina, watch the scene in terror. Rubens was directly inspired by Ovid´s Metamorphoses in his depiction of this test of Hercules, though it is also described in other classical texts, such as Homer´s Iliad and Odyssey. This is one of the most expressive of all the sketches made for the projected decoration of the Torre de la Parada. It was developed on canvas on several occasions by at least three of Rubens´ assistants.


Technical data

Related artworks

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Inventory number
Rubens, Peter Paul
Hercules and Cerberus
1636 - 1637
Height: 28 cm.; Width: 31.6 cm.
Torre de la Parada
Bequest of María Dionisia Vives y Zires, Duchess of Pastrana, 1889

Bibliography +

Rooses, Max, Rubens. S. VIe et Ses Oeuvres, Flammarion, Paris, 1903, pp. 596-599.

Corpus rubenianum Ludwig Burchard: an illustrated catalogue, IX, Arcade Press, Londres, 1968, pp. 219.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, Museo del Prado: catálogo de pinturas. Escuela flamenca, Museo del Prado; Patrimonio Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 303.

Held, Julius S., The oil sketches of Peter Paul Rubens : a critical catalogue..., The National Gallery of Art, Princeton, 1980, pp. 278-279.

Robels, Hella, Frans Snyders. Stibellen-Und Tiermaler 1579-1657, Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich, 1989, pp. 349.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, El siglo de Rubens en el Museo del Prado: catálogo razonado, Prensa Ibérica, Barcelona, 1995, pp. 1036.

Vergara, Alejandro, The Presence of Rubens in Spain. (Volumes i and II). Tesis D, A Bell & Howell Company, Ann Arbor, 1999, pp. 550.

García Gual, C., 'Relato mítico y momento pictórico. Rubens y Ovidio'. En Historias inmortales, Barcelona, 2003, pp. 281-298.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Rubens en la colección Pastrana-Infantado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXI, 2003, pp. 24-40.

Classical mythology in the Netherlands in the age of Renaiss..., Peeters, Amberes, 2009.

Maurer, G., Goya: lo bello y lo recóndito. En: La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 199.

Georgievska-Shine, Aneta Silver, Larry, Rubens, Velázquez, and the King of Spain, Ashgate, Surrey, 2014, pp. 95-97 Lám.23 fg.4.5.

Vergara, Alejandro, 'P.P.Rubens. Serie de la Torre de la Parada' En:, Rubens: Pintor de bocetos, Museo Nacional del Prado,, Madrid, 2018, pp. 208-222 n.68.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 863.
Autor P.P. Rubens / 863. Un cuadro titulado 'El ultimo trabajo de Hércules' / Alto 0,29 ancho 0,32.

Exhibitions +

Rubens, pintor de bocetos
08.09.2018 - 13.01.2019

Rubens. Painter of Sketches
10.04.2018 - 05.08.2018

Captive Beauty. Fra Angelico to Fortuny
21.05.2013 - 10.11.2013

05.11.2010 - 23.01.2011

Velázquez, Rubens, Claudio de Lorena y la pintura en la corte de Felipe IV
07.10.1999 - 23.01.2000

Location +

Room 079 (On Display)


Displayed objects +


Update date: 21-02-2020 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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