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French tapestry, The Entry of Alexander into Babylon
Biblical - Historical - Mythologic
Material and technique
wool and silk
280 x 465 cm
Alessandro Zuccari
Triumphant aboard a golden chariot drawn by elephants,  sceptre in hand, his head circled with laurel, Alexander the Great makes his entry into the city of Babylon after repeatedly defeating the Persian army. On the left, a group of musicians leads the way, while behind him flock his generals and porters bearing the rich spoils of war. The celebration took place in the autumn of 331 BC and marked the final disappearance of the ancient Persian empire, which was absorbed into the vast kingdom of the Macedonian conqueror.
The tapestry is the largest and most complex in the series The Story of Alexander. Certainly, it is the most successful piece, notwithstanding the necessary simplification with respect to the model on which it is based, the extraordinary composition designed for Louis XIV by Charles le Brun. In planning this rendition of the historical scene, the Sun King’s court painter obviously wished to emphasize the exotic aspect of Alexander’s exploit by including elephants drawing the conqueror’s chariot and several figures in Oriental dress in the lower left-hand corner, beneath the statue of a female deity. Like the other panels in the series, the present tapestry also has a border patterned with various military trophies.
The Entry of Alexander into Babylon
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