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Hercules Expelling the Faun from Omphale’s Bed Jacopo Tintoretto


Jacopo Tintoretto Venice, 1518/1519 – Venice, 1594

Culture Italian
Date ca. 1585
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on canvas

112 × 106 cm

Inventory number 6706
Collection Old Master Paintings
On view Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1250-1600, Gallery XXI

As Ovid’s Fasti (Roman calendar) relates, Hercules and Omphale once exchanged clothes for fun. At night a faun entered Omphale’s bedroom, who, deceived by the female clothes, was kicked out by Hercules; the servants, woken up by the noise, hurried in, and everyone was highly amused at the goat-legged god’s misfortune. Carlo Ridolfi, the chronicler of Venetian painting, informs us (1648) that Tintoretto painted this myth with erotic content, together with three further episodes from the life of Hercules, for the emperor Rudolf II. The Budapest picture, in which the flickering light of the torches and the diagonal positioning of the vehemently moving figures create a dynamic overall effect, originally belonged to this set commissioned by the emperor, and is one of the master’s late works.

Vilmos Tátrai


Pigler, Andor, Katalog der Galerie Alter Meister, 1-2. Museum der Bildenden Künste, Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest. 2, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1967, p. 694-695.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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