A Masterpiece by Antonio Canova



By Phin Upham
Hercules Firing Arrows at his Children by Antonio Canova (1757-1822)
Antonio Canova’s painting “Hercules Firing Arrows at His Children,” is a captivating and beautiful piece of art. It is a masterpiece because it conveys emotion and because of its subtle use of detail to convey meaning. Completed in 1799, the painting is 42 X 66 cm and painted with oil on paper and glued to canvas. The artwork captures the story of Hercules’ horrible madness. In the legend, Hercules is driven mad by alcohol and the goddess Hera. His madness causes him to slaughter his family. Once sober he is stunned and distraught by what he had done and he agrees to twelve labors in order to atone for his crime. Continue reading