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.
- Pierre Henri de Valenciennes
- Alexander at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great
- Oil on canvas
- 16 9/16 × 35 7/8 in. (42 × 91.1 cm)
- Restricted gift of Mrs. Harold T. Martin