Hercules brings to Eurystheus the belt of the queen of the Amazons (Hercule apporte à Eurysthée la ceinture de la reine des Amazones).
This painting is by French painter Daniel Sarrabat (1666-1748). It shows the Roman demigod Hercules (known as Heracles in Greek mythology) handing the belt of the Queen of the Amazons to Eurystheus.
In the myths, Hercules is the son of Zeus, the chief god of the Greek pantheon, and the mortal woman Alcmene.
The story that inspired the painting
In the context of the twelve labors of Hercules, it is said that demigod brings the belt of the Queen of the Amazons to Eurystheus. This task was the ninth of the twelve labors.
Hercules’ cousin, King Eurystheus, wanting to test the hero’s strength and cunning, ordered him to retrieve this belt.
Hercules thus journeyed to the land of the warrior women. There, he managed to gain the trust of Queen Hippolyta. Some accounts suggest that the gods themselves were involved in this task and manipulated the situation to sow discord between Hercules and the Amazons.
While Hercules was negotiating with Hippolyta to obtain the belt, Hera, a jealous and vindictive goddess and Hercules’ arch enemy, disguised herself as an Amazon and spread rumors that Hercules had come to capture Hippolyta. This provoked the anger of the Amazons, who attacked Hercules.
In the ensuing chaos, Hercules managed to kill Hippolyta and seize the belt. However, other versions of the legend suggest that Hercules and Hippolyta were in love and that the killing of the queen was an unintentional consequence of a fierce struggle.
Regardless, Hercules succeeded in obtaining the belt and brought it back to King Eurystheus to fulfill his task.
Hippolyta’s belt became one of the precious objects associated with the legend of Hercules and was considered a symbol of his strength and exploits.
Who was Daniel Sarrabat?
Daniel Sarrabat (1666-1748) was a French painter who was active during the 18th century. He was born in 1666 in Paris, France, and is primarily known for his works in the genre of still life painting.
Sarrabat specialized in creating highly detailed and meticulously executed still life compositions, often featuring various objects such as flowers, fruits, vegetables, and tableware. His paintings were characterized by their rich color palette, precise brushwork, and a strong sense of realism.
The French painter’s works were greatly influenced by the Dutch and Flemish still life painters of the 17th century, particularly the style of artists like Jan Davidsz de Heem (c. 1606-1684) and Willem van Aelst (1627-1683). He employed a similar approach to lighting and arrangement of objects, creating harmonious and balanced compositions.
Although not as well-known as some of his contemporaries, Sarrabat’s paintings were highly regarded during his lifetime. His works can be found in various museums and private collections, and they are appreciated for their technical skill, attention to detail, and the beauty and tranquility they convey.
Unfortunately, there is limited information available about Sarrabat’s life and career, and his works are not as extensively documented as those of other prominent artists of his time. However, his contributions to the genre of still life painting remain noteworthy within the context of 18th-century French art.
In addition to “Hercule apporte à Eurysthée la ceinture de la reine des Amazones”, other famous painting of Sarrabat include “Noah, His Family and the Animals Leaving the Ark” (1688).