Project Description

PORTRAIT OF ALEXANDER – 1st Century AD

In this portrait of Alexander the head is mounted on a modern bust. Alexander’s hair falls thickly onto the nape of his neck like a lion’s mane in the manner celebrated by Plutarch. From the back of the head part of the hair is brushed forward to the forehead, from which the number of locks rise; the two central ones, now broken, hang down in the style characteristic of Alexander’s portraits. At the sides the long, serpentine locks, are positioned obliquely, leaving his ears bare; this effect is not merely the result of his head being held up, but rather of a gust of wind or a rapid movement on his part. His desire to gaze at the sky is expressed by the greater width of the lower eyelids compared with the upper ones. Alexander‘s friend, recounted that the whole of the Indian expedition was animated by the Macedon’s pothos (longing), expressed by this romantic face. This is a feeling that the admiral described as a perpetual desire to do something new and remarkable. This portrait is, in fact, one of the nearest to the literary descriptions because of his leonine hairstyle and the impassioned upwards gesture of his head.