Hercules between Vice and Virtue (c.1685)

Lairesse, Gérard de (1641-1711)

Hercules between Vice and Virtue
Oil on canvas, 112 x 181 cm
Musée du LouvreParis

The theme comes from the famous apologue of Prodicas, transmitted by Xenophon (Memorabilia, II, 1, 21-34), often represented by painters (Raphael, Carracci, Rubens, etc., cf. Panofsky). Vice is embodied by the provocative Voluptuousness, accompanied by an old woman in the role of matchmaker (Envy or Lie?). The chaste Virtue has as its attribute a horse bit, a symbol of restraint and moderation. Behind Hercules, already on the path to good, a Fame and, in the background, the temple of glory which rewards good deeds. – Dated around 1685. (Louvre)