Herakles at the tree of the Hesperides, bronze, Roman, 1 century AD. Image: courtesy British Museum
Until 31 August, the wonderful roman bronze figure Herakles at the tree of the Hesperides, from the British Museum's collection, will be on display in the foyer of the De La Warr Pavilion in celebration of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The loan is the first outcome of a relationship that Turning Point South East is building with the British Museum, linking people working within the visual arts in the South East with curators and other staff at the Museum to explore opportunities for collaboration.
Through dialogue between the De La Warr Pavilion and the British Museum, in particular the Senior Curator of Greece and Rome, Ian Jenkins, Herakles at the tree of the Hesperides was identified for loan during this year's olympic season.
DLWP curator David Rhodes says in The Guardian:
"I dreamed of bringing a piece of classical sculpture into this very modern space which is known for contemporary art," ..."but my wish-list to the British Museum was mostly big lumps of stone. The Herakles is really wonderful – he is so beautiful and sexy, but he is not a golden youth but a real athlete who has had a hard life, with his broken nose and lumpy forehead."
Dating from the 1st century AD, this important statue was excavated at a temple in Byblos, Lebanon and depicts Herakles (Hercules), legendary founder of the Olympic Games and a patron god of the gymnasium - the training ground for atheletes in ancient Greece.
The Herakles figure will act as the centrepiece for our Olympics season this spring and summer. The impressive physical presence of this object from the anicent world will create a surprising juxtaposition to the Pavilion's modernist architecture.
Herakles will act as a fascinating tool through which audiences can be introduced to the history of the Olympic Games and will mark a dynamic new departure in the De La Warr Pavilion's programming.