Joseph Mallord William Turner

Hercules and Cacus, after Domenichino


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 128 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXII 75 a

Catalogue entry

Turner turned the sketchbook to landscape format to make this drawing. Domenichino’s (Domenico Zampieri, called Domenichino 1581–1641) picture dates from 1622–3. The subject is from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The fire-breathing monster Cacus, who has stolen and hidden Hercules’s cattle, is dragged from his lair and killed by the hero. Turner took considerable interest in Domenichino while in the Louvre, copying both this work and its companion, Hercules and Achelous. His notes on the picture are on folio 76 of the sketchbook (D04372). He was also under the impression that Guercino’s Mars and Venus and Raising of Lazarus, which he drew or made notes on, were by Domenichino; see folio 35 (D04319) and folios 53, 54 verso (D04342, D04344). Surprisingly, however, he did not copy or remark on the painter’s most famous work in the Louvre, The Last Communion of St Jerome.

David Blayney Brown
July 2005

Read full Catalogue entry

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