We’re back at the Capitoline Museums in Rome, which have some wonderful statues of Hercules.
The statue considered to the be the most impressive is the bronze statue from the 2nd Century BCE called the Hercules of Forum Boarium, but my favorite is Fighting Hercules, made of marble and based on an original from the 4th Century BCE.
Whenever I look at this one, I have to remind myself that he’s not moving and that I’m not about to get punched in the head. The tree stump serves to help balance the statue.
It seems that a lot more is known about the bronze statue than about the Fighting Hercules — like where it was found and the purpose it served. Theses two statues give a great example of how and why certain works of art are considered “better” than others. In the strange logic of art history, it seems that because art historians know more about the Hercules of Forum Boarium than about the Fighting Hercules, they’ll say that it is more beautiful.