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Episode from the Life of Alexander the Great

Flemish Manufactory1575

Fundación Banco Santander

Fundación Banco Santander
Madrid, Spain

Alexander the Great, enthroned beneath a canopy and surrounded by courtiers, welcomes some figures, possibly ambassadors, who bow in reverence, offering him crowns and sceptres. The background takes the form of a landscape.

The subject of this panel, which is explained in the inscription at the top, seems to be a combination (possibly originating in the medieval period) of various episodes recounted by Plutarch, Quintus Curtius and the Pseudo-Callisthenes.

The inscription can be translated as “The crown of close associates gives gold to Alexander [while he] drinks deceitful poisons prepared by his doctor”. It seems to refer to an episode in which Philip, a doctor from Arcanania, gave Alexander a drink that produced symptoms of poison but from which he was able to recover, having been forewarned in a letter of his doctor’s treachery.

This magnificent tapestry in the Colección Santander was produced in one of the best workshops in Flanders in the second half of the 16th century.

Details

  • Title: Episode from the Life of Alexander the Great
  • Creator Lifespan: 1500/1575
  • Creator Gender: None
  • Date Created: 1575
  • Place Part Of: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: w3870 x h3450 mm (Complete)
  • Manufactory: Flemish Manufactory
  • Exhibition: Madrid, Spain
  • Credit Line: With an inscription in the upper border: “AURUM DONAT ALEXANDRO STUDIOSA CORONA MIXTA BIBIT FRAUDA VENENA SUI”
  • Type: Tapestry
  • Rights: Fundación Banco Santander, www.fundacionbancosantander.com
  • External Link: Fundación Banco Santander
  • Medium: Silk and wool

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