Hercules and Alcestis

WAG 4017


In Greek mythology Hercules resuced Alcestis from the Underworld after she had sacrificed her own life to save that of her husband. Jones shows the stength of Hercules, able to easily lift the virtuous young woman onto his shoulder. Cerberus, the three-headed dog which guards the entrance to Hades is seen silhouetted in the mouth of the cave, beyond which is the boatman Charon, waiting to ferry souls across the River Styx. The strong contrast of light and dark between the central figures and the background indicate that our sympathy is with Alcestis and her rescuer.