Hercules defeating the river god Acheolus in the form of a bull, with three women to his left holding cornucopias, from a series of six engravings of Herculean Subjects

Series/Portfolio: Six engravings of Herculean Subjects

Artist: Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio (Italian, Parma or Verona ca. 1500/1505–1565 Krakow (?))

Artist: After Rosso Fiorentino (Italian, Florence 1494–1540 Fontainebleau)

Date: ca. 1526–27

Medium: Engraving

Dimensions: Sheet (trimmed to platemark): 8 3/8 × 6 15/16 in. (21.3 × 17.7 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949

Accession Number: 49.50.208


This engraving is one of a series of the six feats of Hercules commissioned from Rosso and Caraglio by Baviero de' Carocci, who had been Raphael's printing assistant. When the river god Achelous fought with Hercules for the hand of Deianeira, daughter of a king of Calydon, he took refuge in his ability to change form and turned himself into a bull, whereupon Hercules wrestled him to the ground and ripped off one of his horns. Ovid's account of the story (Metamorphoses 9.1–88) concludes with the naiads filling the horn with fruit and flowers to create the first cornucopia, as shown here.