Alexander the Great changed the face of the ancient world. During his life and after his death, his image in works of art exerted an unprecedented influence–on marbles, bronzes, ivories, frescoes, mosaics, coins, medals, even painted pottery and reliefware. Alexander's physiognomy became the most famous in history. But can we really know what meaning lies behind these images?
Andrew Stewart demonstrates that these portraits—wildly divergent in character, quality, type, provenance, date, and purpose—actually transmit not so much a likeness of Alexander as a set of carefully crafted clichés that mobilize the notion "Alexander" for diverse ends and diverse audiences. Stewart discusses the portraits as studies in power and his original interpretation of them gives unprecedented fullness and shape to the idea and image called "Alexander."
Andrew Stewart is Professor of Greek and Roman Art at the University of California at Berkeley. His most recent book is Greek Sculpture: An Exploration (1990).
"There is no more evocative Greek portrait type than that of Alexander the Great. By exploring its potency and development in antiquity . . . Stewart has made an impressive demonstration of the value of this broader approach to a traditional art-historical subject."—Sir John Boardman, Ashmolean Museum