Hercules Pendant

A large pearl represents the muscled physique of the mythological strongman Hercules. He wears the skin of the Nemean lion, killed in the first of his twelve labors, and hoists one of the pillars of Cádiz from his tenth trial. In the 1500s, the figure of Hercules represented the virtue of fortitude and was the personal symbol of the French king Francis I, who may have commissioned this magnificent pendant.

Unknown maker, French
Hercules Pendant, ca. 1540
Gold, enamel (white, blue, and black), and a baroque pearl
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; 85.SE.237