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Orsines Presenting a Gift to Alexander and the Execution of Orsines

Master of the Jardin de vertueuse consolation and assistantabout 1470 - 1475

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Inside a palatial hall, Orsines, a Persian military leader, kneels before Alexander to offer a gift. As Quintus Curtius Rufus's text recounts, although Orsines gives lavish gifts to Alexander's retinue, he snubs Alexander's lover Bagoas. Furious at being spurned, Bagoas turns Alexander against Orsines. Consistent with his increasingly immoral behavior, Alexander, under the sway of his lover, orders Orsines's death. The execution takes place outdoors at the right. Here, as Alexander and Bagaos watch from the palace steps, an executioner raises his sword above the kneeling Orsines.

Although described in Curtius's account as a eunuch, Vasco's translation turned Bagoas into a woman, considered by the fifteenth-century audience to be a more appropriate match for Alexander. The illuminator followed suit, representing Bagoas as a beautiful woman, richly attired in Burgundian fashion.

In this miniature, which opens the last chapter of Vasco's text, the illuminator presented the story in two sequential moments arranged side by side. Yet, despite the appearance that the interior and exterior correspond to different views of the same building, the landscape on the right differs from that seen through the door at the left and is shallower than the deep interior space on the left.

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  • Title: Orsines Presenting a Gift to Alexander and the Execution of Orsines
  • Creator: Master of the Jardin de vertueuse consolation and assistant
  • Date: about 1470 - 1475
  • Location Created: Lille (written), France
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 43.2 x 33 cm (17 x 13 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig XV 8, fol. 226
  • Object Type: Folio
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: Ms. Ludwig XV 8, fol. 226
  • Department: Manuscripts
  • Culture: French and Flemish
  • Classification: Manuscripts


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