Born in Montauban in southwestern France, Bourdelle gravitated
to Paris where he worked in the studio of August Rodin. The influence
of Rodin is apparent in the virility, the simplicity of lines
and the nobility of feeling expressed in his statues. Hercules
(Herakles) the Archer (1909) established his reputation. It is
probably his finest work. One of the bronze statues from the
first casting was purchased by Prince Emmanuel of Sweden for
his palace in Stockholm. Other castings may be seen in The Metropolitan
Museum, the Musee d'Orsay and The Bourdelle Museum in Paris.
The myth which Bourdelle chose to depict was the sixth labor
of Hercules. The great hero had been commanded to rid the people
of Arcadia of the Stymphalian Birds who were ruining the crops
and shooting the inhabitants with steel tipped feathers. Frightening
the birds with a rattle hercules shot many of them with his arrows
as they flew up from their coverts.