1437. Angelo Trevisani Alexander the Great

Object description
Venice 1669-1753
Alexander the Great pardoning the family of Darius
Oil on canvas, 38 x 56 cm

Cabinet Turquin, Stéphane Pinta, Paris

Gösta Stenman collection, No. 6239

Our painting is the sketch, or the bozzeto, of the great format housed in the National Museum of Stockholm as attributed to Diziani (147 x 201 cm, n° NM 195). This picture, which arrived as early as the middle of the 18th century in Sweden and entered the museum in 1862, has had its attribution contested ever since. It has finally been given to Angelo Trevisani by professor Ugo Ruggeri (U. Ruggeri, Nuove opere di Angelo Trevisani, in Ex Fumo Lucem. Baroque Studies in Honour of Klara Garas, Budapest 1999, vol. II, pp. 53-60). This new attribution has been confirmed by the foundation Cini of Venice http://arte.cini.it/Opere/93646 .

Student of painters Andrea Celesti and Antonio Balestra in Venice, Angelo Trevisani was influenced by Giovanni Battista Pittoni. He realised historical paintings and religious retables, frescos and portraits. Even though he received some commissions in Lombardy, most of his work was made for Venice and still remains there. His older brother, Francesco Trevisani, left the City of the Doges for Rome at the age of twelve where he had a brilliant career. He also represented the topic of the Family of Darius before Alexander (Paris, Louvre museum).

This painting represents Alexander the Great pardoning the family of Darius, king of the Persians, that he however just defeated at the battle of Issus that happened in 333 B. C. The topic has been counted by Plutarch in his Parallel Lives. This example of a great prince being magnanimous by sparing his opponent's family has been very much appreciated by great aristocratic families who used them to decorate their castles and palaces. Let's mention for example the famous compositions of this theme by Paolo Veronese (London, National Gallery) and Charles Le Brun (Palace of Versailles). Widely spread through engravings, they inspired lots of painters.