The J. Paul Getty Museum

Statue of Hercules (Lansdowne Herakles)

Object Details


Statue of Hercules (Lansdowne Herakles)






Roman Empire (Place Created)

Hadrian's Villa, northern area, near the Casino Fede, Tivoli, Italy (Place Found)


about A.D. 125



Object Number:



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

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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Object Description

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 was often depicted 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 in 1790 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. One of J. Paul Getty's most prized acquisitions, the statue gets its name from Lord Lansdowne, who once owned the Herakles and displayed it in his home in London. Areas of restoration include the statue's lower left leg and parts of both arms.


Found: Hadrian's Villa, northern area, near the Casino Fede, Tivoli, Italy (first recorded in Dallaway 1800)

1790 -
- 1792

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

1792 - 1805

William Petty-Fitzmaurice, 2nd earl of Shelburne, 1st 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, 1765 - 1809 (Lansdowne House, London, England), by inheritance to his wife, Mary Arabella Petty, 1809.

1809 - 1810

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

1810 - 1863

Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd marquess of Lansdowne, 1780 - 1863 (Lansdowne House, London, England), by inheritance to his heirs, 1863.

1863 - 1866

Henry Thomas Petty-Fitzmaurice, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne, British, 1816 - 1866, by inheritance to his heirs, 1866.

1866 - 1927

Henry Charles Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th marquess of Lansdowne, 1845 - 1927, by inheritance to his heirs, 1927.

1927 - 1936

Henry William Edmund Petty-Fitzmaurice, 6th 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.], by inheritance to his heirs, 1936.

1936 - 1944

Charles Hope Petty-Fitzmaurice, 7th Marquess of Lansdowne, British, 1917 - 1944, by inheritance to his heirs, 1944.

1944 - 1951

George John Charles Mercer Nairne Petty-Fitzmaurice, 8th marquess of Lansdowne, 1912 - 1999, sold to J. Paul Getty through Spink & Son, Ltd., 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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Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource




Gods, Heroes and Monsters Curriculum

Background information about Greek and Roman Mythology to accompany the curriculum “Gods, Heroes and Monsters.”

Mythological Creatures and Herakles

Lesson in which students learn about mythological creatures in the Hercules (Herakles) myth. They learn vocabulary and draw a mythological creature.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts


Two-Part Lesson