Collection Online

Hercules and Antaeus
(c. 1625-1630)

Medium
oil on wood panel
Measurements
65.6 × 49.5 cm
Accession Number
1720-4
Department
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1947
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
17th Century & Flemish Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
This work was acquired as a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, and bears all the hallmarks of his early maturity. Yet, its status remains somewhat unresolved. Opinion is divided as to the extent to which this painting may be entirely by Rubens himself. It may have been begun by Rubens and finished by another artist, or it might be a copy after a lost Rubens by an unidentified artist. The painting depicts Greek legend of the battle between Hercules and the Libyan giant Antaeus. Realising that Antaeus drew his incredible strength from his mother, the earth, Hercules defeated the giant by holding him in the air until his energy had drained away.