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Mount Athos Carved as a Monument to Alexander the Great

A work made of oil on canvas.
Public Domain

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes
French, 1750-1819

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.


On View, Gallery 218


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Pierre Henri de Valenciennes


Mount Athos Carved as a Monument to Alexander the Great


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Inscribed lower right: P. Valenciennes / [...] 1796


41.9 × 91.4 cm (16 1/2 × 36 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Mrs. Harold T. Martin

Reference Number


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