At the end of 2010, as the Ruhr region was coming to the conclusion of its year as European Capital of Culture, the 18-metre-high sculpture created by artist Markus Lüpertz as part of RUHR.2010 was positioned on the tower of the Zeche Nordstern (Nordstern mine) in Gelsenkirchen. Hercules – son of Zeus, Greek god and hero – is Lüpertz’s largest sculpture to date and is seen as an inspiration, problem-solver and source of ideas for the region.
Lüpertz produced 43 colour-painted bronze bozzetti as sketches for this colossal sculpture. These are to be seen not only as preparatory studies but also as valid works of art in their own right. These classical-looking sculptures, which are presented in this catalogue, are impressive by virtue of their diversity in form and figure, size, look and feel.