Ercole was the son of Giulio and the grandson of Niccolo dell Abbate who both met considerable success in France while working with Primaticcio.
Giulio worked in Fontainebleau between 1561 and 1577 so the date of birth of Ercole appears uncertain. All we know is that he was active at the end of the 16th century in Modena, where his son Pietro Paolo was born in 1592.
He painted many Madonnas in the churches of Modena as well as mythological subjects and decorated the great rooms of the twon palace with Schedone with scenes of the life of Hercules that still exist.
However Ercole led a disorderly life and left many works unfinished or hurriedly painted. His masterpiece was Cana's Wedding, now shown together with some religious pieces by his hand in the museum of Modena.