Hercules and the Cretan Bull

  • Paul Manship, Hercules and the Cretan Bull, 1956, bronze on wood base, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Paul Manship, 1966.47.59

Paul Manship modeled many sculptures of Hercules, the son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmena. Zeus’s wife, Queen Hera, was jealous of Hercules and tormented him so much that he murdered his own family in a fit of insanity. As punishment, he was sentenced to serve twelve labors for his cousin and enemy, Eurystheus. These included strangling the Nemean lion, whose skin was impenetrable, destroying the many-headed Hydra, and stealing the belt from the Amazon queen Hippolyte. His final labor was to capture Cerberus, a three-headed dog from the kingdom of the dead. Hercules had many more adventures after these tasks were completed, including stealing the Delphic tripod from his half-brother Apollo, and killing the giant Antaeus. Antaeus gained strength every time he touched his mother, the earth, so Hercules defeated him by lifting him high above his head.

Hercules and the Cretan Bull
47 784 18 in. ( cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bequest of Paul Manship

Mediums Description
bronze on wood base
  • Animal – cattle
  • Figure male – full length
  • Mythology – classical – Hercules
  • Figure male – nude
Object Number
Linked Open Data
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