Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

30-4-2015 11:00 AM

End Date

30-4-2015 1:55 PM

Project Type

Poster

Description

Hercules is one of the most commonly portrayed classical figures in modern culture, with a plethora of movies and television shows depicting his adventures; this popularity is not a modern fad, however, for representations of Hercules have been a constant throughout history. During his career, the Baroque artist Luca Giordano (1634-1705) produced three different versions of Hercules' demise: the Colby Museum of Art's "Hercules on the Funeral Pyre" (1665-1670), "Hercules on the Pyre" (1687-1700) currently in El Escorial, and the Prado Museum's "Hercules on the Pyre" (~1697). This project in progress focuses on the different ways Giordano portrays Hercules' destiny after death in each painting, and explores which Ancient Greek and Roman sources may have influenced each of Giordano's depictions. I argue that the portrayal of Hercules' death in Colby's collection is reliant on the conclusion of Seneca's "Hercules Oetaeus" and Ovid's description of the apotheosis of Hercules (Met.IX.355-406), which uphold the belief that Hercules' soul was split between Olympus and the Underworld. El Escorial's "Hercules on the Pyre" (1687-1700) is a borderline peaceful portrayal of Hercules' death, a view supported by the closing scene of Seneca's "Hercules Oetaeus". Finally, the Prado's "Hercules on the Funeral Pyre" (~1697) leaves Hercules' destiny after death ambiguous, reflecting the uncertainty in Ovid's treatment of the death of Hercules (Met.IX.238-313), as well as the opening scenes of Seneca's "Hercules Oetaeus". Each version creates a different atmosphere surrounding the same scene, which prompts an interesting conversation about the way in which different ancient texts influenced an artist centuries after their creation and the contrasting traditions of Hercules' death present within these texts.

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Classics Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Humanities

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1620

Included in

Classics Commons

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Apr 30th, 11:00 AM Apr 30th, 1:55 PM

Poetry and Paintings: Luca Giordano's Three Depictions of Hercules' Death

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Hercules is one of the most commonly portrayed classical figures in modern culture, with a plethora of movies and television shows depicting his adventures; this popularity is not a modern fad, however, for representations of Hercules have been a constant throughout history. During his career, the Baroque artist Luca Giordano (1634-1705) produced three different versions of Hercules' demise: the Colby Museum of Art's "Hercules on the Funeral Pyre" (1665-1670), "Hercules on the Pyre" (1687-1700) currently in El Escorial, and the Prado Museum's "Hercules on the Pyre" (~1697). This project in progress focuses on the different ways Giordano portrays Hercules' destiny after death in each painting, and explores which Ancient Greek and Roman sources may have influenced each of Giordano's depictions. I argue that the portrayal of Hercules' death in Colby's collection is reliant on the conclusion of Seneca's "Hercules Oetaeus" and Ovid's description of the apotheosis of Hercules (Met.IX.355-406), which uphold the belief that Hercules' soul was split between Olympus and the Underworld. El Escorial's "Hercules on the Pyre" (1687-1700) is a borderline peaceful portrayal of Hercules' death, a view supported by the closing scene of Seneca's "Hercules Oetaeus". Finally, the Prado's "Hercules on the Funeral Pyre" (~1697) leaves Hercules' destiny after death ambiguous, reflecting the uncertainty in Ovid's treatment of the death of Hercules (Met.IX.238-313), as well as the opening scenes of Seneca's "Hercules Oetaeus". Each version creates a different atmosphere surrounding the same scene, which prompts an interesting conversation about the way in which different ancient texts influenced an artist centuries after their creation and the contrasting traditions of Hercules' death present within these texts.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/100