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Title: Hercules and Cerebus
Item Name: Sculpture
Maker: John Cheere (1709-87)


This item is in the Burton Constable Hall collections and is included on this database by kind permission of the Burton Constable Foundation. With his superhuman strength, Hercules is arguably the most popular of all ancient heroes and his Twelve Labours are legendary. Although his mother, Alcemena, was a mere mortal, his father was the supreme god Jupiter. Jupiter’s wife, Juno, was outraged by her husband’s infidelity and vowed to kill the infant Hercules. Although she failed to kill him, she continued to plague him in adult life. During a bout of madness, inflicted by Juno, Hercules killed his own children and, as punishment, was forced to serve King Eurystheus of Argos and undertake twelve dangerous tasks (the Twelve Labours). In this instance, Cheere alludes to his descent to the underworld where Hercules was forced to capture Cerberus - the monstrous, three-headed dog who guarded the entrance to Hades. Presumably, Cheere felt two heads were sufficient for this composition! Located in the Great Hall.

Year: 1762
Materials: Plaster
ID_Number: CHS 24