- The Choice of Hercules
title=The Choice of Hercules
type=Oil on canvas
museum=Capodimonte GalleryThe "Choice of Hercules" is a painting by the Italian
Baroquepainter Annibale Carracci. Dating from 1596, it is housed in the Capodimonte Galleryof Naples.
Carracci, who was in Rome from the late 1595 or early 1596, was commissioned this work by
Cardinal Odoardo Farnesefor the ceiling of his "camerino" in his family's palace. In 1662it was moved to the Farnese ducal seat in Parma. The work is considered one of Carracci's masterworks [http://www.artonline.it/opera.asp?IDOpera=1382] for its balanced rendering of a poetical ideal, graphically influenced by the artist's contact with Michelangelo's Sistine Chapelfrescoes and Rome's classical remains, such as the Farnese Herculesor the Laocoongroup.
A vigorous and plastic Hercules is depicted with two women flanking him, who represent the opposite destinies which the life could reserve him: on the left the Virtue is calling him to the hardest path leading to glory through hardship, while the second, the Pleasure, the easier path, is enticing him to the vice.
Behind Hercules is a palm, which, through the leaves and the branches (a symbol of military victory and fame), hints to Hercules' future heroic life.
"The Choice of Hercules" is also the name of a musical piece by
* [http://www.artonline.it/opera.asp?IDOpera=1382Page at artonline.it] it icon
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