Stories of Alexander the Great
by Charles LE BRUN

In 1661, Le Brun received his first commission from Louis XIV for The Family of Darius before Alexander (or The Tent of Darius) in which the qualities of the artist's mature style appear fully developed. The hero is Alexander with whom the King admitted some similarity. Alexander the Great (356 BC-323 BC) was the military genius who created an empire that stretched across three continents. Alexander was to be the theme of the next series of work commissioned by the King from Le Brun immediately after the Tent of Darius.

Louis XIV commissioned four huge canvases illustrating the victories of Alexander. These works (executed between 1665 and 1673) were intended to be cartoons for tapestries which were later woven at Gobelins manufactory in Paris. The series consists of: Alexander Entering Babylon (or The Triumph of Alexander); The Battle of Arbela; Crossing the Granicus; and Alexander and Porus. An allusion to the grandeur of the reign of Louis XIV - who was also a great conqueror and powerful monarch - is evident in the paintings.

The four works, later reproduced as tapestries, were part of the collections of Louis XIV. The cartoons are in the Musée du Louvre, while the tapestries can be found in the Musée du Louvre, in the Château du Versailles, and in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Preview Picture Data Info
Alexander Entering Babylon, or The Triumph of Alexander
1670s
Tapestry
Château, Versailles


Alexander Entering Babylon, or The Triumph of Alexander
1665
Oil on canvas, 450 x 707 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris


The Battle of Arbela
1669
Tapestry
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


The Battle of Arbela
1669
Oil on canvas, 470 x 1265 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris


Crossing the Granicus
1665
Tapestry
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


Crossing the Granicus
1665
Oil on canvas, 470 x 1209 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris


Alexander and Porus
1670s
Tapestry
Musée du Louvre, Paris


Alexander and Porus
1673
Oil on canvas, 470 x 1264 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris


Alexander and Porus (detail)
1673
Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Paris


The Family of Darius before Alexander
1660s
Tapestry
Château, Versailles


The Family of Darius before Alexander
c. 1660
Oil on canvas, 164 x 260 cm
Musée National du Château, Versailles


The Seasons: Autumn
after 1664
Tapestry
Mobilier National, Paris


Louis XIV Visiting the Gobelins Factory
1673
Tapestry, 370 x 576 cm
Musée National du Château, Versailles


Louis XIV Visiting the Gobelins Factory
-
Black chalk, 580 x 928 mm
Musée du Louvre, Paris



Summary of the works by Charles Le Brun
Versailles | Stories of Alexander | Various paintings | Graphics



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