This is an analysis of the diverse facets of Alexander the Great’s image from the Renaissance era through the Baroque into the nineteenth century.
Perceived as the first sovereign ruler of the world, for centuries Alexander became an exemplar for the most ambitious kings and emperors. This cultural phenomenon flourished above all in the Renaissance while extending into the nineteenth century. Early modern monarchs’ identification with Alexander associated them with ideas of kingly wisdom. Yet this admiration waned on occasions. Napoleon was Alexander of Macedonia’s most ardent critic. During the nineteenth century, the Macedonian hero was viewed as an individual who won control of the Achaemenid empire, but also underwent a progressive moral decline that converted him into a tyrant.
The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history and iconography.
1. Literary Preface: “Like Alexander” 2. Imitatio Alexandri: The sovereign of the world 3. Alexander and Fame: The best of nine 4. Alexander and Destiny: Alexandrian emblems for humanist princes 5. Alexander the Conqueror: Issus, West against East 6. Alexander, King of Asia: “Virtue is worthy of the empire of the world” 7. Alexander the Clement: The royal virtue of clemency and its representation in the guise of Alexander in European courts 8. Alexander in the Palace: Scenes from court life 9. Alexander and Architecture: One empire and eight architectural wonders 10. Alexander’s Cadaver: The king beholds the king’s corpse, melancholy and vanitas regia 11. Archaeological Epilogue: A re-encounter at Gaugamela with the Alexander of Antiquity