Just thought I would put in a quick plug for the Cast Gallery’s current exhibtion, which launched on Friday: ‘The Labours of Herakles’ by New Zealand artist Marian Maguire. The exhibition is a series of interesting and beautifully-done etchings and lithographs depicting Herakles as a participant in the history of New Zealand – mostly focusing on the impact of colonisation, but also other events such as Gallipoli or the women’s suffrage movement. A personal favourite is the one entitled ‘Herakles Writes Home’, done as a Greek vase-painting showing Herakles the colonist in his cabin – the details of the illustration are wonderful, right down to the titles of the books on the shelf (ranging from a Greek/Maori dictionary to Mrs Beeton). But the whole series is well worth popping into the Cast Gallery for a look! (For readers not in Cambridge, you can also see them here, though the images are unfortunately rather small – these are works that really need to be seen in person to appreciate all the details!)
Depicting just the torso and upper legs of a male figure seated on a rock, the Belvedere Torso is a remarkable fragment of classical sculpture. Although fractured, what remains is a powerful evocation of masculine physicality: the broad shoulders, the colossal chest with its rippling muscles, those mighty legs; the sheer mass of this body is breathtaking. It truly is a tour de force of ancient sculpture.