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Alexander at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.

Date:

1796

Artist:

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes
French, 1750-1819

About this artwork

This landscape and its companion piece, Mount Athos Carved as a Monument to Alexander the Great, reflect the late-18th-century enthusiasm for the antique, as well as the cult of sensibility that made the tomb in a landscape a favored subject for art in this period. Here Alexander, who overthrew the Persian Empire, arrives at the tomb of its founder, Cyrus the Great (590/580–c. 529 B.C.), only to find that it has been desecrated. In choosing the subjects of this pair of moralizing landscapes, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes was doubtless suggesting the transitory nature of empire and of life itself.

On View

Painting and Sculpture of Europe, Gallery 218

Artist

Pierre Henri de Valenciennes

Title

Alexander at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great

Origin

France

Date

1796

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

16 9/16 × 35 7/8 in. (42 × 91.1 cm)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of Mrs. Harold T. Martin

Reference Number

1983.35

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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