godsandheroes6The sixth in an image series highlighting the Portland Art Museum exhibition: Gods And Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris.

School of Pierre Puget | French, 1620-1694

Hercules Seated, c. 1700 | Terracotta

Hercules is depicted sitting on the corpse of the vicious Nemean lion he has just slain. He does not seem triumphant, but scornful and restless, ready for his next challenge.

Puget was skilled in architecture, sculpture, and painting, and no other French artist ever attained such versatility. Although the great sculptor and architect Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) recognized Puget as his equal, Louis XIV did not value his free, expressive spirit. The Sun King was more comfortable with artists whose works presented more definitive celebrations of heroism and majesty.

(Excerpt from the Portland Art Museum exhibition description)