Hercules and the Nemean lion

Rubens had a soft spot for the ancient hero Hercules. In this drawing, he bends forward slightly as he crushes the head of the Nemean Lion. In his attempt to find the ideal posture, Rubens gave Hercules three right and two left legs.

From the Print Cabinet's collection

This drawing by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), executed in red and black chalk, shows the ancient hero Hercules in the middle. He is bending forward slightly as he crushes the head of the Nemean Lion with his left arm.
 

Twelve labours

This theme, taken from one of the twelve labours of Hercules, was depicted on more than one occasion by Rubens. His attempts to find what he regarded as an acceptable posture for the hero resulted in a Hercules with three right and two left legs. 

This drawing is variously dated by art historians either to after 1630 or to ca. 1613-1616. 
 

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