François Duquesnoy (attributed to)
(Brussels 1597 - Livorno 1643 )
Infant Hercules Strangling a Serpent

Hercules (or Heracles in Greek Mythology) was a Roman hero and god, famous for his strength. He was the son of Jupiter (Zeus) and the mortal Alcmene. Hera sent two witches to prevent his birth, but they failed. Hera than sent 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 much inspired by Rubens (see our drawing wich is stylistically close to Rubens).
He became very famous and spent most of his career in Rome and Naples, even briefly working with Bernini and receiving commission from the pope. Duquesnoy died on his way to France, where he was intended to become a sculptor at the court of Louis XIII.
We are grateful to Dr. Nils Buetner for pointing out the relationship with our work and a marble sculpture with the same subject in Paleis Het Loo (Apeldoorn, the Netherlands). 
ca 1635
18.8 x 13.3 cm (7 ³/₈ x 5 ¹/₄ inches)
Black cray white heightenings, Verso: figure study (presumably by another artist)

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François Duquesnoy (attributed to)