Hercules and the birds symphalischen (1500) by Albrecht Durer

Hercules and the birds symphalischen - Albrecht Durer - 1500

Artwork Information

TitleHercules and the birds symphalischen
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationHessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany

About Hercules and the birds symphalischen

The artwork “Hercules and the Stymphalian Birds” was created by Albrecht Dürer in 1500, during the Northern Renaissance. This mythological painting is part of the collection at the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt in Darmstadt, Germany.

In the depiction, Hercules is prominently featured in the foreground, with a strongly muscular physique, drawing a huge bow with a determined expression on his face. He stands poised to shoot, with the three Stymphalian Birds depicted as small, monstrous creatures with wings and talons, flying in alarm in different directions around him. The birds, notorious for eating human flesh and known to be a plague upon Stymphalos, are shown in a state of chaos, desperately trying to escape from Hercules’ arrows. The surrounding landscape features a detailed, tranquil setting with trees, mountains, and a castle in the background, providing a stark contrast to the violent action taking place. Dürer has intricately captured the dynamic posture and tense muscles of Hercules, emphasizing the heroism and strength required to complete this task. This scene corresponds to one of Hercules’ twelve labors from Greek mythology, showcasing Dürer’s skill in bringing classical stories to life through his intricate and expressive artwork.

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