A bronze group of the Infant Hercules, Rome, workshop of Alessandro Algardi (1598-1654).

The young god is shown struggling with the serpent which his jealous stepmother, Juno, put into his cradle, in an unsuccessful effort to kill him, 34.3cm high, 46cm wide, 21.5cm deep..

It was part of the collection of the eminent English scientist, Dr. Richard Mead (1673-1753), physician to George II and author of a successful book on poisons.

He collected  many works of art, both ancient and modern, in Italy and in England.

Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793) purchased this Algardi bronze at the sale of the Mead collection in 1755.

The 1763 Burghley Inventory records:  ‘the dining room, 4 George room……1 Do. (mahogany fluted stand) Boy Hercules Black. by Algardi.’

Algardi was born in Bologna where he originally studied painting in the Carracci studio.

However, he preferred the art of the sculptor and working almost exclusively in Rome, he came to be regarded as one of the great exponents of High Baroque sculpture.


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