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Dying Alexander

Roman copy of a Hellenistic portrait.

The identification of this head as a portrait of Alexander the Great is derived from Plutarch, who wrote that only Lysippos was permitted to make a likeness of him, and portrayed him “with leonine hair and melting upturned eyes”.

The interpretation that Alexander is shown in his death throes demonstrates the Renaissance desire to find in ancient sculpture illustrations of ancient history; the expression and pose are more dramatic than we would expect to find in a portrait. Other art historians have called it a dying giant, with comparisons to similar figures in the Great Altar of Zeus at Pergamon

Location of Original: 

Florence, Uffizi 151


Purchased in 1884 from Malpieri of Rome


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 363 (n.9)
Amelung: Führer durch die Antike in Florenz (1896), 95-6, no.151
Brunn-Bruckmann: Denkmäler Griechischer und Römischer Skulptur, pl. 264
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 97, no.525
Reporter: 19 June 1885, 894, no.478
Haskell & Penny: Taste and the Antique (1981), 134

Roman. Original: late C3 or early C2 BCE

From Rome

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