Alexander the Great statuette

Discuss the culture of Alexander's world and his image in art

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rocktupac
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Alexander the Great statuette

Post by rocktupac »

Can anyone help me with this image? I have no idea where this statuette can be found (or if it is even Alexander). I have it tucked away in an "Alexander" sub-folder on my computer. I am interested in the figure on the right (in armor). Thanks!
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amyntoros
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Re: Alexander the Great statuette

Post by amyntoros »

Well Scott, I see that so far no one has anything to say about this statuette. Unfortunately, I'm not able to help either. I looked through most of my books and didn't find an image resembling this. It's a curious little thing, isn't it? And I can't help wondering about its authenticity. Many lesser known sculptures portraying Alexander in armor tend to show Roman breastplates although that doesn't exclude this being an ancient Greek version or a copy. But why then doesn't it show up in any publication concerning Alexander's image? And I must admit that the shortness of the Chiton has me wondering because it is so redolent of the much older images on Greek vases. Am trying to think of any Hellenistic sculpture which compares and I've failed so far, although this doesn't mean that the statuette isn't authentic. But do you think it could be a modern interpretation - perhaps even the work of a student of sculpture? The only reason that thought popped into my head is that the raised arm of the other statuette in the photograph just doesn't look right to me.

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Re: Alexander the Great statuette

Post by Xenophon »

I would agree - the left hand statuette has at the very least had a crude restoration of the right arm, if it is not outright "modern" ( by which I mean not 'ancient', since such statuettes in imitation Classical/Hellenistic style go back to the renaissance if not before.) The right-hand statuette doesn't seem to 'ring true' to me either - it might be genuine(one cannot tell without further information/examination), but to my eye has the look of a 'composite'. A modern artist or forger copies parts from several real pieces to come up with an ancient 'original'........definitely suspicious to me.
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Re: Alexander the Great statuette

Post by amyntoros »

I found the source of the photograph!!! :lol: The excellent Alexander the Great on the Web site is back up and running, now with a sister site for images. During a very quick browse this morning, yours was one of the first images I saw. It's drawn from Alexander the Great: from History to Eternity (!?) which says the statuette is in the Louvre. (Click on the "Portrait" link in the top banner and use the scroll bar on the left side.) Now, the statuette doesn't show up on the Louvre web site but that doesn't mean anything. The larger museums only have a fraction of their collection on display and a comparatively miniscule amount of images on their websites. Plus people can take their own photographs in the Louvre. I still think the statuette is a little fishy though. If you wanted you could probably verify the source by emailing the owner of 1st Muse. There's a "remarks or suggestions" link on the lower left of the main page.

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Re: Alexander the Great statuette

Post by marcus »

amyntoros wrote: I still think the statuette is a little fishy though. If you wanted you could probably verify the source by emailing the owner of 1st Muse. There's a "remarks or suggestions" link on the lower left of the main page.
Of course, even if it is a composite, it might still be of Alexander, and there could be any number of reasons why it isn't of the usual high standard we would expect from 'proper' ancient sculpture. One of the things that occurred to me is that we don't know how big the statuette is - it might be tiny, in which case the detail might not be so good. Or it might have originally come from one of the backwaters of the empire, where the standard of craftsmanship was less good - not everything in Ai Khanum, for example, would stand to scrutiny next to the caryatids of the Parthenon.

So even though the quality of sculpture isn't up to much, I don't think there's any particular reason to doubt its authenticity.

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Re: Alexander the Great statuette

Post by amyntoros »

marcus wrote:
Of course, even if it is a composite, it might still be of Alexander, and there could be any number of reasons why it isn't of the usual high standard we would expect from 'proper' ancient sculpture. One of the things that occurred to me is that we don't know how big the statuette is - it might be tiny, in which case the detail might not be so good. Or it might have originally come from one of the backwaters of the empire, where the standard of craftsmanship was less good - not everything in Ai Khanum, for example, would stand to scrutiny next to the caryatids of the Parthenon.

So even though the quality of sculpture isn't up to much, I don't think there's any particular reason to doubt its authenticity.

All true, all true, but I'm still left wondering why - size and skill notwithstanding - this 'perfect' little example of an Alexander hasn't been published anywhere. It has all the right hallmarks: recognizable facial features comparable with other small sculptures; longish wavy hair with an anastole; the proper stance for an "Alexander with a lance"; and, as far as I know, it's the only other portrayal of Alexander wearing his armor as shown in the Issus Mosaic. And, if it is in the Louvre there should be provenance. Taking all this into consideration, surely this little fellow is worthy of mention in some academic publication, somewhere? Perhaps it is and I don't know about it. It makes me think of the propaganda vids in Starship Troopers when they ask "Would you like to know more?" Yes, yes I would! :)

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Re: Alexander the Great statuette

Post by rocktupac »

amyntoros wrote:as far as I know, it's the only other portrayal of Alexander wearing his armor as shown in the Issus Mosaic.
There is also this one (but note that the shoulder flaps are inverted; they indent on the interior rather than the exterior):
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Re: Alexander the Great statuette

Post by athenas owl »

Off topic, but what is the "ribbon" tied high on the waist called and what is the purpose of it? Thanks. :)
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Re: Alexander the Great statuette

Post by agesilaos »

That is a zone or zona, which also means girdle and it denotes rank. Alexander took the symbolism from the Achaemenids along with the diadem, tiara(upright) etc. The Successors continued the fashion and it was then passed on to Rome.
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Re: Alexander the Great statuette

Post by amyntoros »

rocktupac wrote:
amyntoros wrote:as far as I know, it's the only other portrayal of Alexander wearing his armor as shown in the Issus Mosaic.
There is also this one (but note that the shoulder flaps are inverted; they indent on the interior rather than the exterior):
Oh, thanks for this reminder. I should have remembered as I've seen the bronze statue on exhibit and spent quite a lot of time walking around the display case trying to see if there were any paint remnants. :lol:

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Re: Alexander the Great statuette

Post by athenas owl »

agesilaos wrote:That is a zone or zona, which also means girdle and it denotes rank. Alexander took the symbolism from the Achaemenids along with the diadem, tiara(upright) etc. The Successors continued the fashion and it was then passed on to Rome.

Thank you! I remember that now, it was buried too deep when I asked.
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