Frame with Labors of Hercules

Labors of Hercules

early 17th century

Object Place: Europe, The Netherlands


26.35 x 21.59 cm (10 3/8 x 8 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood; Boxwood

On View

Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)





Boxwood, wide oval frame with Labors of Hercules in high relief.

This remarkably carved and designed frame is decorated with scenes from the life of the classical hero Hercules, from his first display of extraordinary strength as an infant strangling snakes from his crib, to his awful death from being wrapped in a poisoned cloak. Three of his famous Labors are shown as well. Hercules was considered a model of virtue and strength throughout history. The frame probably held a mirror, and thus became a “mirror of virtue”: one would see oneself surrounded and inspired by the trials and virtues of Hercules, and rewarded by Fame, represented as a winged female figure above.


By 1957, with Nicolas E. Landau, Paris; 1957, sold by Landau to the MFA for $600. (Accession Date: September 12, 1957)

Credit Line

Otis Norcross Fund