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Hercules: Myth and Legacy

The second exhibition in our Animal Gods series

Explore the labours of Hercules through the animals, art and cultural artefacts that have carried his name through the ages. 

Ancient myths from Greece and Rome have shaped our modern world in surprising ways. They have been translated into many languages for more than 2,000 years and continue to echo through contemporary society across a multitude of material culture. 

The loudest of these echoes is created by the ancient legend of Hercules. His legend has reverberated through the ages, forming a legacy that manifests in the modern world in many different guises.

This multidisciplinary exhibition explores the Twelve Labours of Hercules through artworks inspired by his legend, as well as natural history specimens, landmarks and cultural artefacts that carry his name. 


Header image: (Left to right) Alcedo Hercules Laubmann, 1917. Blyth’s kingfisher, collected Nankeen Province, China 1989, NHB.8873; Black-figure lekythos depicting Herakles with the Erymanthian boar, Athens 525-500 BC, NM46.52; Club, Eia River area, Damberode, Hercules Bay, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, 1870-1910, ET86.11