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Deaccessioned September 22, 2011
Weary Herakles ("Herakles Farnese" type)
mid- to late 2nd century A.D.
Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), no. 022.
Overall: 67 cm (26 3/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, probably from Paros or Aphrodisias
This Roman copy was modeled after an original 4th century B.C. bronze statue of Weary Herakles by the Greek master Lysippos of Sikyon. The version is identified as the “Herakles Farnese” type on the basis of its similarity to a more complete copy in Naples, which shows an aged Herakles holding the Apples of the Hesperides in his right hand, behind his back, and leaning on a club covered with the skin of the Nemean lion and a cloak, which he has placed under his left armpit. Herakles’ hair is disheveled, his brow is knotted, and his eyes are sunken.
The “Herakles Farnese” type was very popular in antiquity; many replicas and variants have been identified. This particular example was probably carved in the Hadrianic or Antonine period.
The statue is incomplete. Both arms have been broken off, the left at the elbow, the right higher up. The lower part of this statue, now in the Antalya Museum, was excavated in the South Baths at Perge.
1981, Mohammed Yeganeh, Frankfurt [see note 1]; 1981, sold by Yeganeh to the MFA (half-interest) and Leon Levy and Shelby White, New York (half-interest) [see note 2]; 2004, remaining half-interest given by Shelby White to the MFA; September 22, 2011, deaccessioned by the MFA for transfer to the Republic of Turkey [see note 3]. NOTES:  According to information provided by Mr. Yeganeh, the sculpture belonged to his mother in Iran, who had acquired it around 1950 from a German dealer. He suggested the German dealer acquired it from a European private collection after World War II. This account has never been verified.  MFA accession date: December 31, 1981.  In 1990, a scholar noted the similarity of the MFA sculpture--which shows the torso and head of Herakles--to the bottom half of a Herakles statue that had been excavated in 1980 in Perge, Turkey (held by the Antalya Museum, Turkey). Shortly thereafter, the Turkish government claimed ownership of the MFA sculpture and requested its return. In 1992, casts were made of the two sculptures, and it was determined that they fit together and must have been created as one sculpture. The MFA and Turkey have been in active discussions since that time regarding how the two pieces might be reunited. After the MFA received full interest in its part of the sculpture in 2004, discussions resumed regarding a resolution. On September 22, 2011, an agreement was signed by the Republic of Turkey and the Museum of Fine Arts transferring full ownership of the upper part of the sculpture to Turkey. For further information, please see: http://www.mfa.org/collections/provenance/antiquities-and-cultural-property/weary-herakles
Gift of Leon Levy and Shelby White and Museum purchase with funds donated by the Jerome Levy Foundation