Statuette of Herakles

Imperial Period
2nd century AD

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Rome

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 139; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 110-111 (additional published references).


Height: 57 cm (22 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble from Göktepe , Turkey (near Aphrodisias)

On View

Archaic Greece Gallery (Gallery 113)


The Ancient World



Herakles standing with his head lowered and turned to left. His right hand rests on one end of his club, the other end of which is supported on a small elevation beside his foot. The lion’s skin hangs over the extended left forearm, and the missing left hand probably held a bow. The hero’s great strength is suggested by the massive neck and swelling shoulder muscles. Hair and beard are carved in short, thick curls, and the ears show the swollen cartilage characteristic of boxer’s ears. A rounded feature, possibly a water spring, lies to the left of the support shaped like a tree trunk. The plinth, straight in the front and rounded in the back, presents a molded edge.

The missing parts comprise the tip of the nose, the left forearm and hand (which were at some time refastened), and a corner of the plinth. When found, the whole surface was covered with a hard incrustation, which has been removed with care from the front by means of acid.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8463 (core/fresh marble): Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.2 / delta18O -2.8,
University of South Florida Lab No. 8858 (weathered surface): Isotopic ratios - delta 13C -2.1/ delta 18O - 3.6

Attribution - Göktepe 3-4, Turkey (near Aphrodisias). Justification - C and O isotopes (core/fresh marble), fine grain, pure white


Said to have been found in Rome, between the Aventine and the Tiber [see note 1]. 1898, sold by Signor Marotti, Rome, to Edward Perry Warren (b. 1860 - d. 1928), London [note 2]; 1914, sold by Edward Perry Warren to the MFA for 2,500 pounds. (Accession date: August 6, 1914)

[1] According to a letter from Edward Perry Warren dated May 7, 1914.
[2] According to Edward Perry Warren’s records. J. D. Beazley calls the statuette as "the Marotti Herakles" in Edward Perry Warren: The Biography of a Connoisseur (1941), p. 350.

Additional information:
In 1903, the statue was lent to the Burlington Fine Arts Club by Edward Perry Warren (Exhibition of Ancient Greek Art (1904), p. 13, no. 12).

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1912