Hercules (or Heracles in the Greek Mythology) was a Roman hero and god, famous for his strength. He was the was the son of Jupiter (Zeus) and the mortal Alcmene. Hera sended two witches to prevent the birth, but they failed. Hera then sended serpents to kill Hercules in his cradle, but he strangled them both.
Our drawing can be related to the work of François Duquesnoy, the most famous Flemish sculptor of the 17th century. Duquesnoy adapted the Flemish baroque style and was very inspired by Rubens (see our drawing wich is stylisticly close related to Rubens).
He became very famous and spend the most important part of his career in Rome and Naples, working even together with Bernini and receiving commisions from the pope. Duquesnoy died on his way to France, where he was intended to become sculptor at the court of Louis XIII.
We are grateful to Dr. Nils Buetner for pointing the relatinship with our sheet and a marble sculpture with the same subject in Paleis Het Loo (Apeldoorn, the Netherlands).
18.8 x 13.3 cm (7 ³/₈ x 5 ¹/₄ inches)
Black cray white heightenings, Verso: figure study (presumably by another hand)