Statue of Hercules (Lansdowne Herakles)

Object Details


Statue of Hercules (Lansdowne Herakles)






Roman Empire (Place created)

Tivoli, Italy (Place found)


about 125




193.5 x 77.5 x 73 cm, 385.5575 kg (76 3/16 x 30 1/2 x 28 3/4 in., 850.0001 lb.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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The Greek hero Herakles carries a club over his left shoulder and holds a lionskin in his right hand. These objects help identify the figure, since Herakles nearly always appears with a club and the skin of the Nemean Lion, which he killed as his first labor. As is typical for depictions of Greek heroes, the young Herakles is shown nude, since the Greeks considered male nudity to be the highest form of beauty. No other god or hero is as frequently depicted in Greek and Roman art as is Herakles.

The Lansdowne Herakles very likely was inspired by a lost Greek statue, probably from the school of Polykleitos from the 300s B.C. Found near the ruins of the villa of the Roman emperor Hadrian at Tivoli outside Rome, this statue was one of numerous copies of Greek sculpture commissioned by Hadrian, who loved Greek culture. The statue was named for Lord Lansdowne, who once owned the Herakles and displayed it in his home in London.

Related Works
1790 -

Family of Cardinal Mario Marefoschi (Tivoli, Italy)

- 1792

Thomas Jenkins (Rome, Italy), sold to William Petty Fitzmaurice, 1792.

1792 - 1805

William Petty-Fitzmaurice, second earl of Shelburne, first marquess of Lansdowne, 1737 - 1805 (Lansdowne House, London, England), acquired from his estate by his son, John Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 1805.

1805 - 1809

John Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, second marquess of Lansdowne, 1765 - 1809 (Lansdowne House, London, England), by inheritance to his wife, Mary Arabella Petty, 1809.

1809 - 1810

Mary Arabella Petty, marchioness of Lansdowne, d. 1833 (Lansdowne House, London, England), sold to her brother-in-law, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 1810.

1810 -

Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, third marquess of Lansdowne, 1780 - 1863 (Lansdowne House, London, England)

by 1930

Henry William Edmund Petty-Fitzmaurice, sixth marquess of Lansdowne, British, 1872 - 1936 (Bowood House, Wiltshire, England) [offered for sale, The celebrated collection of ancient marbles: property of the most honourable the Marquess of Lansdowne, Christie's, March 5, 1930, lot 34, bought back into the Lansdowne Collection and transferred to Bowood House, Wiltshire, England.]

- 1951

Spink & Son, Ltd. (London, England), sold to J. Paul Getty, 1951.

1951 - 1970

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976 (Sutton Place, Surrey, England), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1970.

Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004

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