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Triumph of Love
Oil on copperplate. XVII century
Lint, Pieter Van
Triumph of Love
Oil on copperplate. XVII century
Lint, Pieter Van

Representación alegórica del triunfo del Amor que lleva a Júpiter con los brazos atados en una suntuosa carroza tirada por cuatro caballos blancos. Entre las figuras que acompañan a la carroza, a la derecha de la composición, aparece Apolo portando una cítara como atributo de identificación del dios, y tras él un músico tocando una flauta de Pan.

Hercules separates Mounts Calpe and Abylla
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules separates Mounts Calpe and Abylla
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

The Greek hero’s deeds that took place in the Iberian Peninsula, of which this is one, were interpreted as demonstrating his status as mythical forerunner of the Spanish monarchy.Hercules is shown making a great effort at the center of the composition. His legs are spread and gently flexed as he leans forward with bowed head and arms resting on two metal grips bolted to two enormous boulders to he

Hercules defeats King Geryon
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules defeats King Geryon
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

This painting depicts the moment after Hercules has killed King Geryon, identified by the crown on his head. The monarch had come to defend his herd of oxen and cows after the god Eurystheus had ordered Hercules to steal them.This work is part of a series of ten paintings that Francisco de Zurbarán was commissioned to paint in 1634 as decoration for the Hall of Realms in the Buen Retiro Pal

Hercules fighting the Nemean Lion
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules fighting the Nemean Lion
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

A lion was ravishing the region of Nemea and frightening its inhabitants to such a degree that they could no longer work the land. The Marquis of Villena’s Twelve Labors of Hercules, along with Juan Pérez de Moya’s Secret Philosophy (1585) and Baltasar de Victoria’s Theater of the Gods of the Pagan World (1620-1624), were almost certainly the reference texts for the conception of the Labors

Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

Hercules’s encounter with the Erimanthean bore is not the best known of his labors. At first glance, it would appear to be nothing more than a new demonstration of his capacity to vanquish evil and save humanity from its excesses. Zurbarán’s depiction places the hero in the foreground at the center of the composition. He is about to kill the colossal wild bore that was laying waste to the l

Hercules and the Cretan Bull
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules and the Cretan Bull
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

At Eurystheus’s behest, Hercules killed the Cretan Bull, a dangerous and ferocious animal that was decimating Crete. The Cretan Bull was a handsome bull that Poseidon had asked the king of Crete to sacrifice. Minos’s decision to sacrifice another animal instead angered the god, who then provoked Pasiphae’s carnal encounter with the bull. Their offspring was the Minotaur, an extraordinary animal pu

Hercules fighting with Antaeus
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules fighting with Antaeus
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

Hercules puts the North-African giant to death in yet another demonstration of his capacity to combine cleverness and strength. The creature’s mother was Gaea, goddess of the Earth, who doubled his strength every time he was knocked down, requiring Hercules to break his contact with the ground in order to kill him. Juan Pérez de Moya wrote: Noticing Anthaeus’s trickery, Hercules lifted him

Hercules and Cerberus
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules and Cerberus
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

Hercules is depicted here fighting with his club against Cerberus, the three-headed dog guarding the entrance to Hades, which lunges at him with its three ferocious mouths. According to the classical Greek myth, the last of the 12 labours that Hercules was commanded to complete was to bring Cerberus forth from the underworld. The rope with which he is pulling Cerberus indicates he is on the verge

Hercules diverting the Course of the River Alpheus
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules diverting the Course of the River Alpheus
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

Hercules looks at the viewer from the left side of the composition, cheerful after having rerouted the Alpheus river in response to a challenge by Augeas, King of Elis. The description of this episode in Charles II’s will as the cleaning of the Augean stables refers to what Pérez de Moya defined as stables where three thousand oxen slept, and very full of manure. As they had never been clea

Hercules and the Hydra
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules and the Hydra
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

The inhabitants of Lerna were terrorized by a multiheaded serpent that left a path of destruction behind. The creature was impossible to defeat because every time it lost one head, two grew in its place. Drawing on his ingenuity, Hercules cornered the serpent with fire and killed it with his club, an episode pictured in Hercules and the Hydra. Grasping his club with a powerful gesture, Hercules is

The Death of Hercules
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
The Death of Hercules
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

This episode, which illustrates Hercules’s death, was narrated in great detail by Baltasar de Victoria, who tells how the hero killed Nessus the centaur for having attempted to rape Hercules’s bride, Deianira. After the wedding, when it came time to cross the Evinos River that runs through Aetolia, it could not be forded as the water was quite deep. Nessus the Centaur happed to be there and offere

Hercules and Cerberus
Oil on panel. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul
Hercules and Cerberus
Oil on panel. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul

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 Apotheosis of Hercules
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Borkens, Jean Baptiste
The Apotheosis of Hercules
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Borkens, Jean Baptiste

Hércules aparece en obras de autores como Homero, Hesidodo y Peisandros de Rodas, supuesto escritor de sus doce trabajos. También Ovidio habla de él de manera breve en las Metamorfosis, concretamente para este episodio en el Libro IX, (268-272): "(...) Así el tirintio, cuando se desprendió de los miembros mortales, cobra vigor en su parte más noble, y empieza a parecer más grande y a inspirar resp

The Birth of the Milky Way
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul
The Birth of the Milky Way
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul

Hercules was born from one of Jupiter´s affairs with a mortal. Though loved and protected by his father, he was repudiated by the latter´s wife, Juno. In order to insure his son´s immortality, Jupiter placed him in the goddess´s arms so that he could suckle while she was sleeping next to her chariot pulled by peacocks. When, in his enthusiasm, Hercules bites her, Juno awakens and brusquely pulls h

Hercules killing the Dragon in the Garden of the Hesperides
Oil on canvas. 1639 - 1640
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)
Hercules killing the Dragon in the Garden of the Hesperides
Oil on canvas. 1639 - 1640
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)

Rubens painted this scene for Philip IV of Spain. It shows Hercules fighting with the dragon which guarded the Garden of Hesperides, to where the hero had travelled in search of the golden apples that made whoever ate them immortal.

Vault with the Apotheosis of the Spanish Monarchy
Fresco-secco, Fresco painting on wall covering. Ca. 1697
Giordano, Luca
Vault with the Apotheosis of the Spanish Monarchy
Fresco-secco, Fresco painting on wall covering. Ca. 1697
Giordano, Luca

The vault of the former Hall of Ambassadors at the Buen Retiro Palace, constructed alongside the former Royal Quarters of San Jerónimo at the behest of the Count-Duke of Olivares as a royal residence for leisure and for the monarchs’ public and official receptions. In the eastern part of this complex, a small building was erected after the palace itself was completed (1632). It was designed

The Death of the Centaur Nessus
Oil on canvas. 1696 - 1697
Giordano, Luca
The Death of the Centaur Nessus
Oil on canvas. 1696 - 1697
Giordano, Luca

Hercules wades effortlessly across the powerful Euenos River while his wife, the beautiful Deianira, requires the aid of the centaur Nessus to do so. While ferrying her across, the centaur attempts to rape her. In her defense, Hercules mortally wounds Nessus with his arrows, but with his last breath, the centaur tricks Deianira, promising her that if her husband wears his shirt, he will never look

Hercules on the Pyre
Oil on canvas. 1697 - 1700
Giordano, Luca
Hercules on the Pyre
Oil on canvas. 1697 - 1700
Giordano, Luca

Representa la escena en la que Hércules está en la pira sobre la piel del león de Nemea. Filoctetes, amigo y compañero de Hércules, en la parte inferior del lienzo procede a prender fuego a la pira por petición del héroe, para paliar así su dolor. Más atrás aparecen dos mujeres lamentándose, una de ellas debe ser Deyanira, mujer de Hércules.La composición de esta pintura es ligeramente diferente a

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