Heracles Fighting against the Lion
Anònim, segle XIX
Technique: Painted plaster
Dimensions: 62 cm diàm.
Date: Segon terç del segle XIX
Generic classification: Sculpture
General inventari: 3930 E
Location: Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi
Notes:
This medallion depicts the same subject as a decorative medallion placed in a window of the Casa Bassols in Cucurulla Street in Barcelona. It is also very similar to a much-weathered medallion placed in a window of Avinyó Street no. 17. It appears to reproduce one which was devoted to Heracles labours, a subject drawn from Antiquity which was a favourite motif during the Renaissance and which was very closely linked to Barcelona since it was believed Heracles had been the founder of the city. The other four windows of the Casa Bassols depict other episodes of Heracles’ labours . This medallion corresponds to the episode in which Heracles fights against the lion. There was another notable Renaissance building in Barcelona, the Gralla house, which had two medallions located in the main large doorway, inside the highest points of the arc. One depicted Hercules fighting against the lion and the other Hercules fighting against a monster. Although part of the large doorway is still preserved in the Museu de l’Enrajolada (the Tile Museum) in Martorell, the medallions are missing and the only documentary evidence which exists is a lithography by Francesc X Parcerisa in the book “Recuerdos y Bellezas de España” (1839) where they are clearly visible. Notwithstanding, P. Piferrer makes a short description of the subjects depicted in the house and takes a picture of the building immediately before it was demolished in 1856 (preserved in the the Museu de l’Enrajolada in Martorell) where the two medallions are no longer visible. The two plasters depicting these subjects, which are housed at present at the Academy, do not seem to correspond with his description either.


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