Colin Nouailher’s Alexander and Julius Caesar

I’m always interested in seeing how folks in different eras portrayed the big names of the folks within our purview and, as it happens, the Metropolitan Museum’s ‘Featured Artwork of the Day’ (via Facebook) is Colin Nouailher’s plaque of Alexander the Great, which forms part of a series of depictions of the ‘Nine Worthies’ a.k.a. ‘Nine Heroes’ which were popular ‘at court’  in sixteenth century France (due to Jacques de Longuyon’s Les Voeux du Paon). In any event, check this depiction out:

from the Metropolitan Museum

… the official description page with further details can be found here but it is interesting how — to a Classicist — ‘unAlexander-like’ this depiction is, not least because of the beard. One could make a similar comment about another plaque in the series depicting Julius Caesar:

via the Metropolitan Museum

… more info here. Both look more like oriental potentates than anything else, which probably reflects on the French court’s ideas of ‘power’ at the time (that’s me drawing conclusions rather quickly). The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History does have an interesting article on this sort of thing: Images of Antiquity in Limoges Enamels in the French Renaissance.
Outside of that, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France has a very nice manuscript of Les Voeux du Paon online, although it isn’t illustrated. The Bodleian has some pages of illustrations  from the same work (I think), but they are kind of grotty. I’m sure there are better ones out there …

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