About this artwork

In ancient mythology, Hercules and Achelous were rival suitors of the nymph Deianeira. As they wrestled for her hand, Achelous transformed himself into a bull, but Hercules defeated him by tearing off one of his horns. Aspertini was one of the great eccentrics of sixteenth-century Italian art, and in this drawing any pretence of anatomical accuracy or classical proportion is sacrificed to expressive force. A technically similar drawing from the legend of Hercules is in the Uffizi, Florence, so this may have been part of a series.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Hercules Wrestling with Achelous in the Form of a Bull
  • date created:
  • materials:
    Brush and brown wash, heightened with white, over black chalk on darkly toned paper, laid down
  • measurements:
    30.80 x 23.30 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    David Laing Bequest to the Royal Scottish Academy transferred 1910
  • accession number:
    D 672
  • gallery:
    View by Appointment
  • subject:
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