A Young Hercules by a Young Artist
Do you like to create art? The artist who created the figure shown here started young. People began asking him to make sculptures for them when he was only 11.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini came from an artistic family. His father taught him to sculpt. He grew up to be one of the most popular artists in Rome. He became so well known that other artists were very jealous of him.
Bernini created artworks for many important people in Rome. One of them was a wealthy man named Maffeo Barberini, who later became pope.
Bernini created this sculpture of a boy and dragon for Barberini's palace. Created almost 400 years ago, the sculpture was carved out of a single block of marble.
The child is thought to be young Hercules, the great hero of Greek and Roman mythology. When Hercules was a baby, he killed poisonous snakes with his bare hands. Here, in a twist on that story, Bernini shows Hercules using his superhuman strength to slay a dragon on his lap. As you can see, Hercules did not need to struggle. Instead, he looks very relaxed and has a smile on his face.
Looking at it up close, you can also see a hole drilled into the dragon's mouth. That's because this sculpture was also a fountain—water spurted from the dragon's jaw.