Presentation on theme: "Alexander Mosaic. Date:late 2nd c. B.C. Dimensions:3.42 m. high x 5.92 m. wide (incl. frame) Technique:Mosaic Location:House of the Faun (exedra in the."— Presentation transcript:
Alexander Mosaic Alexander - Macdeonian commander, left; Darius – Persian King - to the right Battle of Issus (333BC) or Gaugamela (331BC)
Alexander Mosaic Alexander youthful – but not young. Holds a spear with which he has skewered a Persian soldier To the left, mostly corrupted, are Macedonian soldiers wearing helmets.
Alexander Mosaic Wounded soldier speared by Alexander writhes in agony Darius stretches a hand in a futile gesture to him…a link between Alexander and Darius Alexander without helmet hair appears to flow in the breeze
Alexander Mosaic Alexander is wide-eyed in the heat of battle Note the head of Medusa as an apotropaic symbol on his cuirass (coriaceus).
Alexander Mosaic Around him are his Persian soldiers who mill in confusion in the background, their faces filled with fear and determination. Darius, wearing a Persian cap, stretches out his hand to his wounded defender, while his charioteer whips the horses to flee toward the right.
Alexander Mosaic One Persian, however, to the right of the dying defender of Darius, is intent upon Alexander, and holds his sword in his hand, ready to attack..
Alexander Mosaic Mood of terror and defeat The horse of the Persian defender of Darius collapses beneath him while he writhes in agony on Alexander's spear. Below Darius in his chariot, a Persian soldier, staring in horror at this scene, attempts to hold a rearing horse. The hindquarters of this horse project into the middle ground of the picture, giving it a sense of depth. To the right, a soldier is being crushed under the wheels of Darius' chariot. His face is reflected in the shield which he holds. Further to the right appear the terrified horses of the chariot team, trampling upon another unfortunate Persian. Note also the discarded weapons (lances, spears, swords etc) indicating the battle at an end and one side victorious.
Composition Tree divides the scene – cf Trojan Horse. Cannot know about what would have featured on the left
Alexander Mosaic Composition The composition of the mosaic is dominated by diagonals. The centre is dominated by the intersecting diagonals of the Persian speared by Alexander and the Persian restraining the rearing horse. Two other sets of intersecting diagonals are provided by the figures of Darius and his charioteer and by Alexander and the wounded Persian. The lances in the background of the picture also carry on the diagonal motif.
Alexander Mosaic Composition The setting of the battle is very stylized. In the background appears a tree with bare twisted limbs whose diagonals continue the unifying compositional motif of the mosaic. The tree also serves as a formal vertical counterweight to the Persian king and his charioteer, who rise above the battle fray. In the foreground are discarded weapons and rocks, which serve to define the space between the viewer and the battle scene.
Alexander Mosaic Possibly based on an earlier Greek painting. The mosaic is more 3-d than is usual. highlighting shading shadowing foreshortening ¾ view overlapping recessive diagonals shallow depth of field Find examples from this scene.
Alexander Mosaic Limitation to colours of white, yellow, red and black – the “four colour” technique favoured by 5 th and 4 th century BC painters.
Alexander Mosaic Possibly based on an earlier Greek painting. The mosaic is more 3-d than is usual. A lack of interest in landscape - with the exception of a pathetic tree in the background, is more in line with Greek iconography and its focus on man in the universe, rather than the natural world,