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Summers Place Auctions are the world's leading auctioneers of Sculpture and Design for the House and Garden.

Archive Catalogue:

Past catalogues are available to purchase from the Gallery.  Please e-mail info@summersplaceauctions.com for details.

Archived Catalogue from:

24th and 27th May 2011

This is Lot Number 7

An impressive over lifesize carved white marble fountain figure of Hercules and a Nemean lion

Estimated Price:
£50,000 - £80,000

Italian, late 17th century
226cm.; 89ins high

The first of Heracles~ twelve labours, set by King Eurystheus (his cousin) was to slay the Nemean lion.
According to one version of the myth, the lion took women as hostages to its lair in a cave near Nemea, luring warriors from nearby towns to save the damsel in distress. After entering the cave, the warrior would see the woman (usually feigning injury) and rush to her side. Once he was close, the woman would turn into a lion and kill the warrior, devouring his remains and giving the bones to Hades.
While searching for the lion, Heracles fetched some arrows to use against it, not knowing that its golden fur was impenetrable; when he found and shot the lion and firing at it with his bow, he discovered the fur~s protective property when the arrow bounced harmlessly off the creature~s thigh. After some time, Heracles made the lion return to his cave. The cave had two entrances, one of which Heracles blocked; he then entered the other. In those dark and close quarters, Heracles stunned the beast with his club and, using his immense strength, strangled it to death. Others say that he shot arrows at it, eventually shooting it in the unarmored mouth. After slaying the lion, he tried to skin it with a knife from his belt, but failed. He then tried sharpening the knife with a stone and even tried with the stone itself. Finally, Athena, noticing the hero~s plight, told Heracles to use one of the lion~s own claws to skin the pelt.
Hercules is represented here in classical dress, with the gaping jaws of the lion drilled for water as a fountain.
see also footnote to lots 14-21

This is Lot Number 7

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