VERONESE, Paolo
(b. 1528, Verona, d. 1588, Venezia)

The Family of Darius before Alexander (detail)

1565-70
Oil on canvas
National Gallery, London

When Alexander the Great was received by Sisygambis, mother of Darius, after the battle of Issus (333 B.C.), she mistook his companion Hephaistion for the victorious general. According to the ancient account, Alexander magnanimously put the royal parent at ease by saying: "He too is an Alexander." The history painting recalls the magnanimity of the great commander and ruler of antiquity in the form of a virtue allegory. As a quasi-private counterpart to the history paintings in the Doge's Palace, the picture presented the viewer with an example of a virtuous deed.