The Alexander Mosaic

The Alexander Mosaic
A Masterpiece of Mosaic
One of the greatest achievements of the
mosaic artist. From a distance it could easily
be mistaken for a well-executed painting
Key Information
Size: 5.5 x 3.2 metres
 Date: circa 120 BC, but probably based on
a painting from circa 300 BC
 Location: originally laid in the exedra in the
House of the Faun. Now in Museo
Nazionale, Naples
Subject Matter
The two key figures: Alexander the Great
and Darius III (Persian King)
 Alexander on horseback on the left, Darius
in chariot on right
 A battle between Greeks and Persians,
probably the Battle of Issos (333 BC),
possibly the Battle of Gaugamela (331 BC)
 In both Battles, Darius flees from the
More like a painting than a mosaic
 A much more 3D picture than a mosaic would
normally present.
 A realistic depiction of the scene by using:
-Three-quarter views
Links to a 3rd/4th Century BC Painting
Limitation of colours to white, red, black
(and combinations of these)
 This is the ‘four-colour’ technique adopted
by Greek painters in the 4th/5th C BC
 The scarcity of landscape features
(tree/few rocks)
 Shallow depth of field in the scene
 Any depth at all only being conveyed by
foreshortening and overlapping