LE BRUN, Charles
(b. 1619, Paris, d. 1690, Paris)

Alexander and Porus

Oil on canvas, 470 x 1264 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

This vast canvas is part of a series of four commissioned by Louis XIV from Le Brun. It is a cartoon for a tapestry woven at the Gobelins manufactory in Paris.

The Alexander the Great series illustrates the conquest of the Persian Empire to the fringes of India. In this composition, Alexander shows magnanimity to the Indian king Porus, whom he has just defeated, by allowing him to keep his kingdom. Porus’s elephants can be seen lying dead in the background.

The Battle of the Hydaspes was fought in 326 BC between Alexander the Great and King Porus of the Paurava kingdom on the banks of the river Jhelum (known to the Greeks as Hydaspes) in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent (modern-day Punjab, Pakistan).

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