'Hercules seated on a grassy bank', c.1515

Baccio Bandinelli (Bartolomeo di Michelangelo) (1493 - 1560)

Red chalk, 28.8 x 20.8cm

The torso of Hercules is modeled on the famous antique sculpture known as the 'Belvedere torso'. This was found in the Villa Belvedere and moved to the Vatican by Pope Julius II in 1509. Many artists came to the pope's private gallery to study his collection of classical sculptures.

Bandinelli, a young sculptor and protégé of the Medici family from Florence, first visited Rome in the spring of 1514. His patron, Lorenzo de' Medici gave him letters of introduction to the papal and other private art collections. His interpretation of the torso is not an exact copy, as he has added a bearded head to the muscular torso.

Although mainly a sculptor, Bandinelli was also praised during his career for his drawing skills. He usually favored pen and ink. He was less at ease with the gentler medium of chalk. This can be seen in some of the awkwardness of this drawing. The hard contours and tight musculature are evidence of his struggle to describe the twisted pose in a medium he did not yet handle as well as pen and ink. This suggests this drawing was done early in his career, possibly shortly after he had first seen the torso.

Purchased with the help of the Art Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund.