Italian, early 18th century
- Hercules at the crossroads
- white marble
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
This spectacular, large marble relief shows the allegorical narration of Hercules at the crossroads. The central group of Hercules with the personifications of Virtue and Vice is based upon Annibale Carracci's (1560-1609) painting of the same subject, formerly in the Farnese collection in Rome and now in the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples. But the sculptor transformed and enriched his source, adding the group of the putti to the right, together with a number of further attributes.
For its style, the relief was probably conceived by a sculptor from the circle of Theodon. Large-scale marble reliefs which competed with paintings became very popular in early 18th-century Rome. Most of these were however done for churches. This is a very rare example of an allegorical, classical subject, which must have been made for a Roman palazzo.
R. Engass, Early Eighteenth-Century Sculpture in Rome, 2 vols., University Park/ London, 1976, pp. 63-72, figs. 2-14; E. Panofsky, 'Hercules am Scheidewege', Studien der Bibliothek Warburg, XVIII, 1930; D. Posner, Annibale Carracci. A study in the reform of Italian painting around 1590, 2 vols., London, 1971, pp. 40-1, no. 93