The colossal statue of Hercules was found on the morning of June 28, 1960 in a chapel during the excavations in the spa area of the city of Alba Fucens. Hercules, in Pentelic marble, with an exceptional height of 2.40 meters, is represented seated on a sadly lost seat, holding a patera with his left hand raised and with his right clutching a lost object, which in all probability can be reconstructed as a club facing down. The face is characterized by a thick beard worked with symmetrical locks. On the forehead a crown of olive leaves is visible, which may allude to participation in the banquet, or rather of laurel, a symbol of victory. The leontè that invariably characterizes the hero must have been represented around the left arm and the hips, but according to other hypotheses a cloak could have been wrapped. This, together with the crown of laurel leaves, could be the expression of a “Roman” interpretation through the reference to the model of the invictus . Traditionally, however, through a series of comparisons with small and medium-sized statues depicting the god in a similar pose and thanks to the literary texts of Latin authors such as Stazio and Marziale, the statue is identified with the representation of Hercules called Epitrapezios , "at the table" ( trápeza in ancient Greek), according to a model developed by Lysippos and attributed to the second half of the 4th century BC
The sculptor from Sicyon, with a profoundly innovative choice for his time, loved to represent his subjects "not as they are, but as they appear to the eye" (Pliny the Elder). By reproducing their outward appearance, Lysippus also suggested the psychological and emotional implications of his characters at the same time. In the canonization of artistic genres during the Roman age, if the works of Polykleitos become a source of inspiration for the representation of divinities, Lysippus provides the models for heroes and ideal types (the hero, the philosopher, the man of letters, etc.), while the sculptors are inspired by Praxiteles for the representation of figures of men.
According to some, the small dimensions of many replicas of Heracles justify the epithet of Epitrapezios assigned to the subject by the writers, because they were made to be placed "on the table". In most cases, the hero is represented with his head twisting slightly upwards, rather than looking downwards. The stature and posture of our Hercules not only presuppose a variant of the statuary type in large dimensions, but also suggest that the statue was a cult simulacrum, seated on a rock or rather on a throne, and that it was intended to be admired. bottom up. The club itself is held by the god like a scepter of power. In this case, the title of Epitrapezios could depend on the offerings of food and drink given to him, placed by the devotees, the cultores Herculis , on the table-trápeza . The fact that the back of the Hercules of Alba is not finished also suggests that the statue was leaning against a wall of the chapel in which it was found, suggestively compressed in the narrow colonnaded space.
Hercules constitutes a very common subject in figurative representations throughout antiquity due to the universal myth that he embodies: the hero is the paradigm of mortal man who reaches apotheosis through his works and thus finds redemption from death.
Generally the work is considered an expression of the neo-attic currents of the first century. BC active in late Republican Rome and in the Augustan age, characterized by the production of works inspired by Greek sculptural models of the V-IV century. BC There was, however, also the proposal to recognize in the statue a certain baroque pathetism that would refer to the artistic currents parchments and rodie workers of the II-I century. B.C