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ITALIAN SCHOOL. 00000000 AN. CARRACCI. ccc00006 FARNESE PALACE.
HERCULES IN REPOSE.
The Farnese palace, one of the most beautiful in Rome, was begun by pope Paul III, who employed in it a part of the marble and even the stones of the Coliseum and the theatre of Marcellus;
it was finished by his grand-son Alexander, who died cardinal in 1589; but still the interior of this vast edifice remained to be decorated. It is believed that it was by the orders of Ranucio, duke of Parma, that Annibal Carracci was called to Rome in 1600, to adorn the palace with paintings.
Three subjects are found there taken from the history of Hercules, one represents the son of Alcmena surrounded with several emblems which call to mind a part of his exploits. Near him is his club which he formed from the trunk of a knotted olive tree; the apples from the garden Hesperides; the skin from the enormous Nemean lion; the hind of mount Cerynus, to which the painter has given horns like that of a stag, because the fable mentions that Hercules seized her by her golden horns; the wild boar of Erymanthus, the sight of which greatly terrified Eurysthus when Hercules presented it to him; and Cerberus is also there whom Hercules chained that he might deliver Theseus out of hell. In respect to the Sphynx facing Hercules, it is there as the emblem of silence, and calls to mind the conductor of the Muses, Hercules musagetus; upon the pedestal where the Sphynx is appears a greek inscription, signifying that labour procures a glorious repose.
In this composition Annibal Carracci has not shewn himself an able colourist; his painting is somewhat dark, which
perhaps, avises from the obscurity of the cabinet whose ceiling is ornamented by this fresco.
Engraved by Aquila and by N. Mignard.