This artwork, Elegant Figures overseeing Sculptors working on a Statue of Hercules and Anateus in a Palace Courtyard by Balthasar van den Bossche, is currently for sale at Rafael Valls Limited.
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Van den Bossche's favoured subjects for sculptor's and artist's studios were usually copies of classical stautes or one of the many stories surrounding Hercules. These were usually admired by smartly dressed conoisseurs who look arrogantly at what is in fron of them. A painting in the Hermitage shows a similar loggia but the scultpure is of Hercules and the Nemean Lion.
Anateus was a giant who drew his strength from Gaia, mother earth. Having been challenged by Anateus, Hercules fought him but could not throw him off. He eventually realised his secret and held him off the ground until his strength had drained from him. He then killed him.
Comtesse M.Th. de la Béraudière Her sale American Art Association, New York, 11-12 Dec 1930, Lot 62 Sale Weinmuller, Munich, April 1970, Lot 666 German Private Collection