Statue of Alexander, Greek, 200 – 100 B.C, Marble
Ancient authors record that Alexander the Great was so pleased with portraits of himself created by Lysippos that he decreed no other sculptor would make his image. Although this statement is probably exaggerated, Lysippos did make some of the most powerful and lasting images of Alexander. It also shows Alexander understood the propagandistic importance of his image and the need to control it.
Lysippos’s statue “Alexander with a Lance,” made in the 320s B.C., portrayed Alexander armed and naked, echoing the great heroes of Greek mythology like Achilles with whom he identified. He stood with his weight on one leg, one arm extended and holding a spear, the other hanging down at his side. This broken statuette, carved in the 100s B.C., is a small-scale variant of that original. One of numerous surviving posthumous images of Alexander made well into the Roman period, this statuette may have been a private devotional image related to the worship of Alexander as a god. Its owners certainly valued it, since the statuette was repaired and reworked in antiquity.
Source : The J. Paul Getty Museum
Head of Hephaestion. Unknown. Greek, about 320 B.C. Marble. The J. Paul Getty Museum.
The son of a noble Macedonian family, Hephaestion was the beloved companion of Alexander the Great. Together since boyhood, Hephaestion fought alongside Alexander as he created his great empire. When Hephaestion died in Persia in 324 B.C., Alexander mourned him extravagantly. He was given a royal funeral and Alexander ordered the cities of Greece to worship Hephaestion as a hero.
This head of Hephaestion, broken from a full-length statue, was originally part of a multi-figured group, which might have depicted a sacrificial scene. The J. Paul Getty Museum has more than thirty fragments of this group. The participants include Alexander, Hephaestion, a goddess, Herakles, a flute player, and several other figures, as well as animals and birds. This group may have served as a funerary monument for some nobleman who wanted to associate himself with Alexander, or it might be a monument erected in response to Alexander’s call for the creation of a hero cult.
The appearance of this head has changed over time. A metal ribbon or diadem once circled the head, although only a shallow groove remains today. The head was also re-carved in antiquity, with the hair shortened and the lower eyelids altered.
The J. Paul Getty Museum