Hercules and Antaeus

Gianfrancesco Susini (Florence 1585–1653 Florence)
Hercules and Antaeus
After a model by Giambologna, cast ca. 1625-1650
Bronze
16 1/8 in. (41 cm)

This bronze derives from Giambologna's models for a series of silver statuettes depicting the Twelve Labors of Hercules (now lost). Giambologna's principal assistant, Antonio Susini, and Antonio's nephew, Gianfrancesco, inherited the master's molds, reworked the models, and cast them in bronze well into the seventeenth century.

Gianfrancesco depicts Hercules wrestling the giant Antaeus with a robust naturalism that differs from the refined elegance of his uncle's earlier Hercules and the Hydra. The difference between these works marks the transition from the late Renaissance to the Baroque style in Florence. Only two rods beneath Hercules's feet support the hero as he crushes the howling giant within his arms.