(b. 1493, Firenze, d. 1560, Firenze)

Hercules and Cacus

Marble, height 505 cm
Piazza della Signoria, Florence

The genesis of Hercules and Cacus dates to 1508 when a marble block was ordered for Michelangelo to carve as a counterpart to the David. However, the marble was not delivered until 1525 and was given to Bandinelli as Michelangelo was working on the Medici Chapel. His first model was incompatible with the block but he continued on the project through the 1527 expulsion of the Medici. In 1528, with the republicans in control, Michelangelo was given the block for a Samson and Philistine but after the Medici return in 1530 he was instructed to resume work in the chapel and Bandinelli to continue the Hercules and Cacus. After seeing it installed as a pendant to the David in the vast Piazza, Bandinelli concluded that the muscles were "too sweet" and further exaggerated it.

The basic theme of victor over vanquished seems forced and devoid of tension in comparison to Michelangelo's Victory. In trying to outdo the David, it is rigidly posed and the facial grimaces are like deeply drilled caricatures.