Hercules and Hydra, Antonio Pollayolo, 1460

Hercules and Hydra, Antonio Pollayolo, 1460
Hercules and Hydra, Antonio Pollayolo, 1460 - 1

  • Posted by Antonio Pollayolo
  • Museum: Uffizi Gallery
  • Year: 1460

Overview of the painting :

Hercules and Hydra – Antonio Pollayolo. 1460. Wood, tempera. 17×12
   In a small picture of Antonio Pollayolo (1433-1498), a Florentine painter of the Quatrocento era, one of the exploits of the ancient Greek hero Hercules, or Hercules, is depicted. The second tablet with a composition on the theme of this myth is also in the museum. Researchers suggest that both works are sketches for the big paintings that the artist Piero Medici ordered, or their smaller copies. But they can be independent works, and then all the more it should be noted that Pollyolo managed to give such a small image monumentality.

   As a plot, the master took that part of the myth of Heracles in which he fights with the Lerney hydra, a giant snake that had many goals and one of them is immortal. The artist conveys the tension of the battle, depicting the swollen muscles of the hero and the desperate expression of the face. Work is full of movement. The strength and power of Heracles are underlined by the landscape located far below and the fact that the main character is placed against the sky. But at the same time, the painter was clearly passionate about the beautiful and elastic lines of drapery, snake body, a swirling ribbon of the river, which create a complex pattern in the work.