Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), p. 47; ill. p. 48.
Queyrel, Francois. Les portraits des Attalides: Fonction et représentation. BEFAR 308 (Athens: École francaise d’Athènes, 2003), p. 170n227.
This bust was badly damaged during its time underground, and has been extensively restored. It is, nevertheless, the portrait of Alexander that comes closest to the work of Lysippos, a Greek artist of the fourth century BC. Lysippos’s fame is due as much to his works in bronze as to his status as Alexander’s official portraitist. Contemporary sources tell us that the sovereign authorized only three such artists: the sculptor Lysippos, the gem-engraver Pyrgoteles, and the painter Apelles. No direct trace of Lysippos’s work has come down to us. Most antique bronze statues disappeared long ago, and are known only through small bronze copies or Roman versions in marble. The Azara Herm and the bronze Br 370 are copies of the same original, created by Lysippos around 330 BC. Alexander is shown looking upwards, as if to challenge the gods themselves. This vision of the inspired ruler, widely copied by Alexander’s successors and imitators, became a standard model for Hellenistic royal portraiture.
Robin Symes, Limited (London, England), by partial credit and partial purchase, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1973.
Missions & Organization Louvre Lens Louvre Abu Dhabi Databases Publishing & Audiovisual Productions Press Online Media
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 23.
Additional information about the work Modern Latin inscription: “this effigy of Alexander the Great, discovered in 1779 (in the Pison villa) at Tivoli, was restored by Joseph Nicolas Azara.”
Bibliography E. Michon, “L’hermès d’Alexandre dit hermès Azara”, in Revue archéologique, IVe série, t. VII, janv-juin 1906, pp. 79-110Exposition “Visages du Louvre, chefs-d’oeuvre du portrait dans les collections du Louvre”, Tokyo, 18 sept.
-1er déc. 1991, Musée national d’art occidental, cat n 26, p. 79Exposition “Denon, l’oeil de Napoléon”, Paris, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 20 oct. 1999-17janv. 2000, musée du Louvre, cat.
n 191, pp. 196-197
Grossman, Janet Burnett. “Images of Alexander the Great in the Getty Museum,” Studia Varia from the J. Paul Getty Museum 2, Occasional Papers on Antiquities 10 (2001), pp. 51-78; pp. 51-53, no. 1; figs. 1a-d.
Sully wing Ground floor Athena gallery (also called the Melpomene gallery) Room 344
Stewart, Andrew. “Ethos and Pothos in a Portrait of Alexander the Great.” Abstracts and Program Statements, College Art Association, 77th Annual Meeting, February 16-18, 1989, p. 60.
Pfrommer, Michael, with E. Towne Markus. Greek Gold from Hellenistic Egypt. Getty Museum Studies on Art (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 8-9, fig. 7.
Stewart, Andrew. Faces of Power: Alexander’s Image and Hellenistic Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), appendix 5, “The Getty Fragments: A Catalogue,” pp. 438-52, pp. 438-39, no. 1; pl. 2; figs. 16, 146-49.
Reinsburg, Carola. “Alexanderbilder in Ägypten: Manifestation eines neuen Herrscherideals.” In Fremdheit – Eigenheit: Ägypten, Griechenland und Rom: Austausch und Verständnis. P. C. Bol et al., eds. (Stuttgart: Scheufele, 2004), p. 324, fig. 8.
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Home>Collection & Louvre Palace>Curatorial Departments>Portrait of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC)
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Ogden, Daniel. Alexander the Great: Myth, Genesis and Sexuality (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2011), p.157, figs. 8.1-8.2.
Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities Hellenistic Art (3rd-1st centuries BC)
Grossman, Janet Burnett, and Elizabeth C. Teviotdale. The Making of a Hero: Alexander the Great from Antiquity to the Renaissance, exh. brochure (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996), ill.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 25.
Lipsius, Frank. Alexander the Great (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1974), ill. p. 84.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 32.
Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed., Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978), pp. 29-30, ill.
Vermeule, Cornelius C. Greek and Roman Sculpture in America (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1981), no. 101.
Ridgway, Brunilde S. Hellenistic Sculpture I: The Style of Circa 331-200 B.C. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990), pp. 116, 134-35.
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This work takes the form of a herm: a pillar whose upper part has been sculpted in the shape of a head. It shows a young man, his head slightly lifted. The features are idealized, but there is a a degree of individualization in his inspired expression, and the mane of hair falling in strands on his forehead. The authenticity of the antique inscription – which identifies the bust as that of Alexander the Great – is open to discussion, but the physiognomy of the figure leaves no doubt. The particular arrangement of the hair is well attested in other images of the Macedonian conqueror.
The text on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, unless otherwise noted. Images and other media are excluded.
Identified by his mass of leonine hair, his young idealized face, and his deep-set, upturned eyes, Alexander the Great was the first Greek ruler to understand and exploit the propagandistic powers of portraiture. Ancient literary sources say that he let only one sculptor carve his portrait: Lysippos (active ca. 370-300 B.C.), who created the standard Alexander portrait type.This life-size head, said to have been found in Megara, was part of a multi-figured group, which probably served as a funerary monument for a courtier who wanted to associate himself with the ruler. The Getty Museum has over thirty fragments of this group, which might have depicted a sacrificial scene. The participants include Alexander, his companion Hephaistion, a goddess, Herakles, a flute player, and several other figures, as well as animals and birds.The head was re-carved in antiquity. The left ear was added, the right sideburn shortened, and the lower eyelids recut.
pencil drawings Pencil Sketch Drawn Portraits Of Alexander The GreatPencil Sketch Drawn Portraits Of Alexander The Great
Frel, Jiří. Greek Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1981), pp. 68-69, 112, no. 19.
Vermeule, Cornelius C. Greek Art: Socrates to Sulla; From the Peloponnesian Wars to the Rise of Julius Caesar. Art of Antiquity 2, pt. 2 (Boston: Dept. of Classical Art, Museum of Fine Art, 1980), pp. 126, no. 71, 215, fig. 71A, ill.
The Search for Alexander. An Exhibition. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Nov. 16, 1980-April 5, 1981; Art Institute of Chicago, May 14-September 7, 1981; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, October 23, 1981-January 10, 1982; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, February 19-May 16, 1982. New York Graphics Society: 1980, pl. 2, bottom; p. 101, no. 6, ill.
Thanks to its original antique inscription, this figure can be definitely identified as Alexander the Great, son of Philip II of Macedon. The leonine hair brushed up from the forehead is characteristic of portraits of the Macedonian sovereign. The work is a copy of the head of a work from 330 BC attributed to Lysippos – doubtless the statue of Alexander with a bronze lance mentioned by Plutarch (Moralia, 360 d). The Louvre’s small bronze, Br 370, is another copy of the same work.
Formerly in the cabinet of the Chevalier d’Azara,Spanish ambassador to Rome, then in France. Offered to Napoleon BonaparteGift of Napoleon Bonaparte; entered the Louvre in 1803 , 1803
Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 111, The Hellenistic World
Stewart, Andrew. Greek Sculpture: An Exploration (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990), p. 191, 192; fig. 576.
Portrait of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC), called “Hermes Azara”
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The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 5, ill.
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Towne Markus, Elana. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 60-61.
Unknown 29.1 × 25.9 × 27.5 cm (11 7/16 × 10 3/16 × 10 13/16 in.) 73.AA.27
Smith, R. R. R. Hellenistic Royal Portraits (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), p. 158, cat. no. 16; pl. 12, 6.
Image: Portrait of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC), called “Hermes Azara” Image: Portrait of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC), called “Hermes Azara”
Giuliani, Luca. Bildnis und Botschaft: Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Bildniskunst der römischen Republik (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1986), pl. 34, p. 153 ff.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Appointment Calendar (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1981), week of February 16.
Picon, Carlos, and Sean Hemmingway, eds. Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2016), pp. 111-112, no.13a, ill., entry by Jens M. Daehner.
Grossman, Janet Burnett. Looking at Greek and Roman Sculpture in Stone (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), pp. 50, ill.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 23.
Stewart, Andrew. Review of “The Search for Alexander.” The Art Bulletin 64, no. 2 (June 1982), pp. 321-26.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), p. 25.
This bust was part of a gallery of herms featuring portraits of famous men, unearthed in 1779 during an excavation at Tivoli organized by Joseph Nicolas Azara, the Spanish ambassador to the Holy See and, later, to France. For a time, this was the only known portrait of Alexander the Great; the value and significance of Azara’s gift of it to Napoleon Bonaparte was, then, considerable. The date of the presentation is uncertain: according to some texts, Azara intended to offer it as a diplomatic gift during the negotiations surrounding the Armistice of Bologna in 1796, as a gauge of the Holy See’s good will towards . Nevertheless, the inscription tells us that Napoleon received the herm during his time as First Consul, ie. not before 1803, the year in which he gave the work to the Louvre (as indicated by the inscription on the right-hand side of the pillar). The inscription, together with Bonaparte’s other imperial symbols, was probably made after his downfall in 1815.
Frel, Jiří. “Ancient Repairs to Classical Sculpture at Malibu.” The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984), pp. 73-92; p. 81, no. 23.
Spivey, Nigel and Squire, Michael. Panorama of the Classical World (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2004), p. 176-177, fig. 275.
Frel, Jiří. Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum: A Checklist; Sculpture I: Greek Originals (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1979), p. 7, no. 20.
Foreman, Laura. Alexander the Conqueror: The Epic Story of the Warrior King (Cambridge, Da Capo Press, 2004), p. 16.
The Search for Alexander the Great (November 16, 1980 to May 16, 1982) National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), November 16, 1980 to April 5, 1981The Art Institute of Chicago, May 16 to September 7, 1981Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, October 27, 1981 to January 10, 1982M.
H. de Young Memorial Museum (San Francisco), February 20 to May 16, 1982The Making of a Hero: Alexander the Great from Antiquity to the Renaissance (October 22, 1996 to January 5, 1997) The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 22, 1996 to January 5, 1997Transforming Tradition: Ancient Motifs in Medieval Manuscripts (September 23 to November 30, 2003) The J.
Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 23 to November 30, 2003Pergamon and the Art of the Hellenistic Kingdoms (April 11 to July 17, 2016) The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), April 11 to July 17, 2016
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The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 24.
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