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  • Augustus before the Tomb of Alexander

    Artist:
    Bourdon, Sébastien. 1616-1671
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    44,5x56,5 cm

Bourdon, Sébastien. 1616-1671

Augustus before the Tomb of Alexander

France, late 1650s - early 1660s

The subject of this painting is taken from the work of the Roman writer Suetonius Tranquillus Lives of the Caesars). In the chapter devoted to Augustus this tells about how during the campaign against Egypt the Emperor laid siege to Alexandria and visited the burial place of Alexander. He ordered that his coffin be removed from its shrine and, as a sign of respect, placed a golden crown on the head of the great commander and sprinkled his body with flowers. Bourdon tried very seriously to realistically convey the atmosphere of the event: the Lictor (honorary guard attending high officials in Ancient Rome) depicted in the background to the left holds in his hands the fascia, a two-sided axe mounted on branches fastened by belts, attributes of imperial authority. Somewhat farther away, against the arch, we see the signs of the Roman cohorts. The sculpture of a reared up horse brings to mind the legendary horse of Alexander the Great, Bucephalus. Among the personages located on the left edge of the painting, the artist has drawn himself. Wrapped in a cloak, with hands crossed at the chest, he calmly watches the event occurring before him without taking part in it.

Title:

Augustus before the Tomb of Alexander

Place:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

44,5x56,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1772; acquired from the collection of L.A. Crozat, Baron de Thiers in Paris

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-2111

Category:

Collection: