A student to sculptor Auguste Rodin, and mentor to mythologist Joseph Campbell, Bourdelle’s modelling of Hercules in his sixth labour dramatically captures the hero’s brutal power and almost inhuman determination.
“Not only the hero's victory over the monsters, but also Bourdelle's victory over his own high-spirited inspiration, this work is remarkable both for its tension and for its balanced construction. The dynamics come from the interaction of solids and voids, brutal force and balance. The nude figure denotes power, high-strung energy, pulled taut between the arm bending the bow and the foot braced against the rock. The references to primitive Greek sculpture and Roman art – the almond shaped eyes, the nose extending in a straight line from the forehead, jutting cheekbones and brows – act as catalyst for a modern approach.”