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Bos was born circa 1549 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in southern Netherlands. In French, the city’s name is “Bois-le-Duc”. Bos lived in Rome for a number of years and his works were influenced by Marcantonio Raimondi (near Bologna 1480 – died between 1527 and 1534: see our no. 11)
The inspiration for this magnificent and extremely rare engraving was the famous so-called Farnese Hercules statue, a copy after a fourth century BC sculpture by Lysippos, found in the 1540 excavation of the Baths of Caracalla. The sculpture had been placed in the Farnese Palace in Rome, sometime before 1556 (precisely when Bos was in Rome), hence the name of “Farnese Hercules”.
On the verso of this sheet is an interesting counter-proof of an engraved battle scene, which appears to be contemporary with the above engraving.