Hercules at the crossroads
- Other titles:
- Hercules choosing between Virtue and Vice, The Hercules
- Not on display
- Further information
The subject of this enigmatic engraving relates to a passage by the Greek writer Xenophon about the youthful Hercules deciding between Virtue and Pleasure. Dürer shows Pleasure lying naked with a satyr, about to be beaten by her opponent. Hercules wields a tree-trunk, ready to enter the fight. Dürer was inspired by Italian art for his representation of classical nudes in the landscape. The reclining nude is derived from an engraving by Mantegna while the muscular figure of Hercules is borrowed from a print by Pollaiuolo that Dürer would have seen during his first trip to Italy in c.1494-5.
- circa 1498
- 31.8 x 22.0cm image; 32.2 x 22.5cm sheet
- Signature & date
- Signed l.centre, [incised plate] "AD [artist's monogram]". Not dated.
- Purchased 1938
- Accession number