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Artist: Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Italian, Florence, ca.1432–1498
Hercules and Deianira
Oil on panel transferred to canvas
unframed: 54.6 x 79.2 cm (21 1/2 x 31 3/16 in.), framed: 67.4 x 94.8 cm (26 9/16 x 37 5/16 in.)
University Purchase from James Jackson Jarves
When the centaur Nessus abducted Deianira, her lover, Hercules, shot him with a poisoned arrow. The dying centaur convinced Deianira that his blood would make a powerful love potion and Deianira sent Hercules a cloak soaked in Nessus’s blood. Putting it on, Hercules was poisoned and died. Deianira then took her own life in remorse. This portrayal of the legend, one of the most famous Renaissance paintings in any American collection, is universally admired for Antonio del Pollaiuolo’s accomplishment in rendering the human body in dramatic action. Equally imposing if less widely acknowledged is the sophistication of its panoramic landscape background depicting Florence and the Arno Valley.
Alan Shestack, ed., Yale University Art Gallery Selections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1983), 2829, ill.
Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 4849, fig. 40.
Clay M. Dean, A Selection of Early Italian Paintings from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2003), 3435, no. 10.
Laurence Kanter and Ian McClure, “Yale’s Garofalo: Conversion and Transfer,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2010): 7273, fig. 7.
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.