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“The Battle of Issus (Battle of Alexander with the Persians)”, Albrecht Altdorfer - description of the painting

“The Battle of Issus (Battle of Alexander with the Persians)”, Albrecht Altdorfer - description of the painting

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The Battle of Issus, or the Battle of Alexander with the Persians - Albrecht Altdorfer. 1529

The Bavarian artist Albrecht Altdorfer lived in the city. The beauty of those places made a deep impression on him, and he was one of the first painters to portray landscapes emotionally and expressively, and not just as a convenient backdrop for the picture.

The pinnacle of the painter's art was the Battle of Issus (1529), written for William IV, Duke of Bavaria. Heaven, sea and earth play the same role in it, and only a tablet in the sky indicates that this is the battle in which Alexander the Great defeated the Persians on the Issa River in 333 BC. e. In the armor of warriors and the architecture of a distant city in the background, this scene might seem to refer to the 16th century.

To create a sense of the grandeur of what is happening, Altdorfer painted the battle as if from a bird's eye view. A swirling whirlpool of tiny silhouettes of soldiers merging into a single mass opens in front of the viewer against the backdrop of a mountain landscape, where the sun dramatically breaks through the clouds, driving away the moon. Alexander fights in the forefront of the warriors in the midst of the battle, pursuing the Persian king Darius in his chariot.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT. Alexander, king of Macedonia (356-323 gg. E.) - the most famous of all the conquerors of antiquity - was a student of Aristotle, already at the age of 18 he commanded the cavalry; defeated the Persians, conquered Egypt and founded Alexandria. In the temple of Apollo, the Delphic Sibyl predicted to him that he was invincible. Alexander the Great is often depicted riding on his horse, Bucephalus, a white stallion who only obeyed his sensitive hand.

According to legend, when the army of Macedon captured the Greek city of Thebes, one of the commanders subordinate to him raped the noble woman Timokley, demanding that she give him her money. Timoklea led him to the well in which she supposedly hid her jewelry, and when he bent down to look down, she pushed him into the well. For the deed, the woman was presented to the court to Alexander, and he acquitted her. This legend was embodied in the painting by Pietro della Vecchia (1602-1678) Timokley brought to Alexander, which captures the moment of the liberation of Timokley by Alexander for her greatness of spirit and self-esteem.

After the Battle of Issus Alexander showed the same nobility and generosity to the defeated Darius and his family. When his army captured and plundered the Persian camp, Alexander respected his mother, wife and two daughters of Darius. Veronese portrayed Alexander and his friend Hephastion visiting the royal family in the painting The Family of Darius in Front of Alexander (c. 1550). Mother Darius mistakenly mistook the taller Hephastion for her conqueror, but Alexander did not attach importance to the error and, laughing aside, reassured her, saying that Hephastion was another Alexander. In pursuit of Darius, Alexander discovered the king of the Persians dying from a mortal wound inflicted by his own subjects. When Darius died, Alexander honored his enemy by covering his body with his own cloak.

The celebrated Alexander was convinced that it was better to rule through goodwill than through violence, trying to combine different customs. He married Roxanne, who, according to some sources, was the daughter of Darius, and according to others, the daughter of the ruler of the Asian lands he had conquered.

Watch the video: Alexander 2004 - Battle of Gaugamela 12. Movieclips (August 2022).