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.


  • 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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