Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Hercules shooting at the Stymphalian birds, study for a relief; standing to right with bow drawn Pen and brown ink, over black chalk

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1617-1654
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 251 millimetres
    • Width: 188 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Turner 1999
        Inscribed in brown ink above the lower edge, to the right of centre: "Bernini"; and, faintly in black chalk, in another hand, just above the previous inscription: "I'algardi". Numbered in brown ink, lower right: "n.36".
  • Curator's comments

    Lit.: A.E. Popham, 'Catalogue of Drawings in the Collection formed by Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart., F.R.S., now in the possession of his Grandson, T. Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick of Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham', I, London, 1935, p. 126, no. 3 (as Attributed to Berini); N. Turner, 'Italian Baroque Drawings', London, 1980, no. 11; J. Montagu, 'Algardi', New Haven, 1985, I, p. 104, fig. 110; N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 1

    Turner 1999
    1946,0713.1383, 1982,0724.4 and 1991,1005.80 are all studies for the stucco decoration of the 'Stories of Hercules' in the Galleria di Ercole in the Villa Belrespiro (Doria-Pamphilj), outside Rome. The present drawing corresponds closely with the finished panel of 'Hercules Shooting the Stymphalian Birds' (Montagu, 1985, II, fig. 93), the sixth of the Twelve Labours, though there are several minor differences of detail. The decoration was carried out in 1646, to Algardi's design, by Rocco Bolla and Giovanni Maria Sorisi, who received payment for their work between 24 April and the end of May of that same year (Montagu, 1985, II, p. 454). The drawing, which had been attributed previously to Bernini, was returned to Algardi by Vitzthum, who recognised its connection with one of the reliefs in the gallery. The decoration was intended to honour the young Camillo Pamphilj, who had been created cardinal in November 1644. Stories of the life of Hercules were invoked as an inspiration to young princes, since the ancient hero's choice of virtue was regarded as an ideal moral 'exemplum'. (The iconography of the room is discussed in some detail by Raggio, 1971, pp. 3-38, and Batorska, 1975, pp. 22-54.) For the design of some of the scenes Algardi was influenced by crystal plaques engraved by Annibale Fontana (d. 1587), though no corresponding crystal of this subject is known (see Montagu, 1985, I, p. 104).

    Literature: Popham, 1935, I, p. 126, no. 3 (as attributed to Bernini); Vitzthum, 1963(a), pp. 88-9, fig. 33; Raggio, 1971, p. 11, fig. 16a; Turner, 1980, p.40, no. 11; Montagu, 1985, I, p. 104, fig. 110; II, pp.455(k) and 480, no. 31 (with the inventory number given incorrectly as 1964,0713.1383); Edinburgh, 1998, no. 139.


  • Bibliography

    • Turner 1999 1 bibliographic details
    • Phillipps-Fenwick 1935 p.126(3) bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Italian Roy XVIIc)

  • Exhibition history

    1998 Jun-Sep, Edinburgh, NG, Roman Baroque Sculpture & Design

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Hercules shooting at the Stymphalian birds, study for a relief; standing to r with bow drawn Pen and brown ink, over black chalk


Hercules shooting at the Stymphalian birds, study for a relief; standing to r with bow drawn Pen and brown ink, over black chalk

Image description



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Object reference number: PDO9341

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