At the Feet of Alexander

There are two copies of this painting at Chateau Versailles, the first one in the Salon of Mars, the second in the Dinning Room. The first one is by Le Brun; the second by Testelin and it is better than the Le Brun’s original.

Alexander! Alexander is Louis XIV’s favorite chapter in Plutarch. The young magnanimous worrier-king is what Louis aspired to be when fighting the war in Holland for his wife’s dowery. What’s in the picture? What do we see? Women. Yes, most importantly the wife and the two daughters of king Darius:

Roxan who is morning the death of her father and whom Alexander is going to marry, and the younger, Parysatis, obviously fascinated by site of the yuthful conqueror.

The mom, in humble supplication, is begging their new master to spare the family of his defeated foe. Wrong again! She is at the feet of the wrong person. Ephestion recoils from her. And as Alexander himself lets her know, this is another Alexander.

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