About this artwork
Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, a leading landscape artist in late-18th-century France, sought to elevate the art of landscape to the level of history painting. In the hierarchy of subjects set by the French artistic establishment, the painting of inspiring religious and historical narratives was placed higher than the imitation of nature. Valenciennes followed the 17th-century precedent of Nicolas Poussin by imbuing his landscapes with moral content. This work and its companion, Alexander at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, address questions of fame and mortality through episodes from the life of Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.). Here Valenciennes depicted an unrealized project to perpetuate Alexander’s glory—a monumental image of the ruler carved into Mount Athos.
- Pierre Henri de Valenciennes
- Mount Athos Carved as a Monument to Alexander the Great
- Oil on canvas
- Inscribed lower right: P. Valenciennes / [...] 1796
- 16 1/2 × 36 in. (41.9 × 91.4 cm)
- Restricted gift of Mrs. Harold T. Martin