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French tapestry, The Battle of Granicus
Biblical - Historical - Mythologic
1680 - 1690
Material and technique
wool and silk
cm 275 x 340
Alessandro Zuccari
After landing in Asia Minor, in 334 BC Alexander met the troops of the Persian satraps on the banks of the Granicus River, not far from the Trojan Plain. His decisive victory there allowed him to conquer the whole of the Turkish peninsula and advance towards the lands in the East.
At the centre of the tapestry, Alexander on horseback urges his soldiers on against the Persians, who are harshly defeated and thrown into the churning waters of the river in the foreground. The composition is based on the huge panel that Charles Le Brun designed for the Sun King in 1665. Clearly, it is only a partial reproduction of the French artist’s work, focusing on the group of soldiers drowning in the Granicus and the imposing figure of the Macedonian king. The two main sources of inspiration for the scene are the now lost painting by Michelangelo The Battle of Cascina, which survives in drawings and  engravings, and the fresco of The Battle of the Milvian Bridge in the Hall of Constantine in the Vatican, which was painted by Raphael’s workshop. Like the other tapestries that make up the series of The Story of Alexander, this panel also has a military-themed border of alternating flags, arms, trumpets and drums.
The Battle of Granicus
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