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A piece of Italy on the Wilhelmshöhe

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The giant of Kassel - Wilhelmshöhe Palace and Park, Kassel (Part 2)

While the original statue made of copper braves the elements on the mountain, there’s a copy of it on display in the exhibition. It's huge, too, but made of plaster, and it marks the beginning of the exhibition that shows how Hercules came to Kassel. First, the exhibition traces the long period of time during which this special depiction of Hercules - the resting hero - was created: the discovery of a marble statue in the destroyed ancient Baths of Caracalla; its restoration in the palace of the famous Italian Farnese family, after whom the Hercules statue in Kassel was named; and Landgrave Karl’s trip to Italy, after which, explains Professor Splitter, he decided to have a copy of the marble Hercules made in copper and erected in Kassel.

The Hercules 300 exhibition in Kassel is content with offering just a few meaningful exhibits - it's all about the detail. The exhibition draws visitors in by first giving them the space to orientate themselves. The first part displays the Kassel giant, its dimensions, its importance. "Visitors who don't know Hercules will be enthralled," says Splitter. A special highlight: binoculars pointed at the real copper statue. The appeal of the statue is shown in the second part of the exhibition: the Kassel Hercules through the ages. There’s Hercules with an implied spiked military helmet, and a woman leaning on her suitcase, reminiscent of the figure on the mountain. Many of the objects are the result of an invitation to submit work: artists were asked to interpret the Hercules figure. Clearly, it stimulates the imagination.

Previous article in the series:
The Giant of Kassel - Wilhelmshöhe Palace and Park, Kassel (Part 1)

Next article in the series:
The giant of Kassel - Wilhelmshöhe Palace and Park, Kassel (Part 3)

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Published on 24.08.2018

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