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Monday, January 14, 2013

Alexander the Great Mosaic

This artwork, Alexander the Great Confront Darius III at the Battle as Issus, is a Hellenistic mosaic which was found in the largest house in Pompeii called the House of the Faun. It was copied from an original painting and it made up of about four million tesserae, which almost immediately represents the intricacy and importance of this battle. It shows the intricate fight scene between two powerful leaders. The artist wants to portray the extremes of this battle by showing the specificity and realism of this scene. As we can see, Alexander and Darius are the two highest depicted figures, showing their power and authority. The artist includes foreshortening and chiaroscuro simulating the twisting and fast movement during this battle of death. Horses are running wild and spears are pointing in different directions towards the opponent. The artist also uses reflection, another rare artistic device during this time period. The composition of this mosaic is dominated by diagonals. The center holds an arrangement of the Persian wounded by Alexander intersecting the Persian holding back the horse. Many other figures make up this twisting and diagonal composition. We can conclude that this piece was meant for someone with very high class, possibly highlighting the power and wealth of the occupier of the house.

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