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HERCULE ET AJAX.

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SCULPTURE. 0000000

QUE. 0000-0000 PIO.CLEMENTINI MUSEUM.

HERCULES AND AJAX.

This statue was long considered as that of the emperor Commodus, often represented as Hercules, and the child it carries the same he was in the habit of having with him for his amusement; but the beautiful manner in which the group is executed proves that it belongs to the most flourishing age of the art, and consequently long before the reign of Commodus.

Other antiquaries, recognizing Hercules in this statue , think the child should be considered as Telephus, of whom Augea , daughter of Aleus , king of Arcadia, was secretly delivered, but Hercules, being absent when this event occurred , could not have seen his son when so young.

In fine, Winckelmann, and Visconti after him, are satisfied that the child carried by Hercules is Ajax, the son of Telamon; and maintain their opinion thus : Hercules, present at the birth of this child, held it towards heaven as if for the purpose

of consecrating it to Jupiter; and in order to render it invulnerable enveloped it in his lion-skin, believing that by so doing he should communicate to the child the property which that celebrated trophy possessed.

This statue is of pentelic marble.
Height, 7 feet 5 inches.

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