ROMANELLI, Giovanni Francesco
(b. 1610, Viterbo, d. 1662, Viterbo)
Hercules and Omphale1650s
Oil on canvas, 100 x 133 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
The subject of the painting was taken from the Biblotheca by Apollodoros. The mythological story depicted in the painting is the following.
For murdering his friend Iphitus in a fit of madness Hercules was sold as a slave to Omphale, queen of Lydia, for three years (Apollodorus 2.6:3). But she soon alleviated his lot by making him her lover. While in her service he grew effeminate, wearing women's clothes and adornments, and spinning yarn.