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Following Hercules: The Story of Classical Art

In the Octagon Gallery of the Fitzwilliam Museum AND The Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge
Friday 25th September – Sunday 6th December, 2015
Curated by Dr Caroline Vout

Hercules is one of the best loved heroes from ancient Greece. Known in antiquity for completing twelve tasks or ‘labours’ that confirmed his status as a god, Hercules is today tasked with one more - to show visitors to the Fitzwilliam Museum how sculptures made in the Mediterranean millennia ago came to define western art. Hercules inhabits each of the forty objects on display, which range from exquisite miniatures and Renaissance prints, drawings and paintings, to Wedgwood cameos and a giant polystyrene statue. The result is an arresting visual experience of differing scales, styles and material, which gives ongoing meaning to the ‘classical’.

The Museum of Classical Archaeologys cast of the Farnese Hercules is central to the exhibitions story and awaits your visit on the Sidgwick Site. Hercules is one of the oldest casts on the site and one of several to have come, via the Fitzwilliam, from the same early nineteenth-century collection in Battersea. Come and meet him, discover more about his story, and more about the cast of characters that accompanied him to Cambridge. In the process you will see why casts of Greek and Roman art remain awesome and relevant.

Please note: the final day of opening in the Museum of Classical Archaeology will be Friday 4th December.


Talk FITZWILLIAM: Wednesday 7th October, 6-8pm: 'The Cutting Edge of Classical Art'

Tours CLASSICAL ARCHAEOLOGY: Friday 23rd October, 6-9pm: 'Casts by Candlelight'

Families CLASSICAL ARCHAEOLOGY: Wednesday 28th October, 1-4pm: 'Following in the Footsteps of Hercules'

Talk FITZWILLIAM: Friday 30th October, 1.15-2pm: 'Hercules: The Thinking Person's Superhero'

Talk FITZWILLIAM: Wednesday 4th November, 1.15-2pm: 'Hercules and the Aesthetics of Exhaustion'

Talk CLASSICAL ARCHAEOLOGY: Thursday 12th November, 6.30-7.30pm: 'In the Thrall of the Antique: Plaster Casts and their Viewers'

Talk FITZWILLIAM: Wednesday 18th November, 6-8pm: 'Collecting the Antique'

Panel CLASSICAL ARCHAEOLOGY: Friday 20th November, 6.30-8pm: 'Victorian Visions of Greece and Rome: A Panel Discussion'


Find out more

Following Hercules at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Museum Highlight: the Farnese Hercules

Caroline Vout's faculty webpage



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Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge

Every cast tells two stories.

One ancient. One modern.

Admission is free.


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Sat: 10am-1pm (Univ. term-time only)
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Michaelmas Term Saturday Openings end on Saturday 26th November 2016.


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