BERCHEM, Nicolaes
(b. 1620, Haarlem, d. 1683, Amsterdam)

The Battle between Alexander and Porus

Oil on canvas, 111 x 153 cm
Private collection

This dramatic painting, dating from late in Berchem's career, is a rare historical subject by the artist. He gained great popularity during his lifetime as a painter of pastoral scenes, hunting parties and seaports, many of which show the influence of his sojourn in Italy. However, in a departure from his usual subject matter, the artist here depicts the epic Battle of the Hydaspes which took place in 326 B.C. between the armies of Alexander the Great and Porus, a powerful Indian king.

In the depiction of this historic event, Berchem brilliantly depicts the frenzied action at the peak of battle, demonstrating his skill at portraying a highly complex composition with dynamic equestrian groupings.

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