• The Battle of Alexander

The Battle of Alexander

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The Battle of Alexander (The Battle of Alexander at Issus)
Artist: Albrecht Altdorfer; Oil painting on panel; Size: 158x120cm; Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

Oil painting The Battle of Alexander at Issus was painted by the German artist Albrecht Altdorfer in 1529. The artist is a pioneer of landscape painting and a founding member of the Danube school. In this war painting, Albrecht Altdorfer painted a Battle between the sun, emblem of Christ, and the crescent moon, symbol and flag of the Turks. The picture, painted for Duke William IV of Bavaria in 1529, represents the victory of Alexander the Great over the Persian king Darius III, in 333 BC. In which Alexander the Great secured a decisive victory over Darius III of Persia and gained crucial leverage in his campaign against the Persian Empire. The painting is widely regarded as Altdorfer's masterpiece, and exemplifies his affinity for scenes of monumental grandeur.
Altdorfer often included in his paintings such inexplicable events as comets.
Duke William IV of Bavaria commissioned The Battle of Alexander at Issus in 1528 as part of a set of historical pieces that was to hang in his Munich residence. Modern commentators suggest that the war painting, through its abundant use of anachronism, was intended to liken Alexander's heroic victory at Issus to the contemporary European conflict with the Ottoman Empire. In particular, the defeat of Suleiman the Magnificent at the Siege of Vienna may have been an inspiration for Altdorfer. A religious undercurrent is detectable, especially in the extraordinary sky; this was probably inspired by the prophecies of Daniel and contemporary concern within the Church about an impending apocalypse. The Battle of Alexander at Issus and four others that were part of William's initial set are in the Alte Pinakothek art museum in Munich.

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