Monday, December 6, 2010

Battle of Issus, Altdorfer

Similar to the ancient mosaic, this painting by German artist Albrecht Altdorfer captures the moment of Alexander's victory over Darius of Persia. Though the angle of the painting is physically impossible, it helps to emphasize the greatness of the victory by showing the multitude of troops and also the incredible expanse of landscape beyond that is now assumedly Alexander's. The sky is quite a point of awe and concentration for the viewer's eye. It's bright blue hue and large expanse immediately draw one in. However, the fiery setting sun and high crescent moon, surrounded by the threat of swirling storm clouds lend an increased importance to this pivotal moment as if the heavens themselves have been changed. The sky seems to mirror the scene below metaphorically: soldiers of both sides are present like the sun and the moon, but it is finally the moment when one of them of them takes possession and precedence over the other, wholly altering the reality from that moment on. 

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