You are on page 1of 5

Alexander: Heracles: A Preliminary Note Author(s): Erik Sjöqvist Reviewed work(s): Source: Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts

, Vol. 51, No. 284 (Jun., 1953), pp. 30-33 Published by: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Stable URL: . Accessed: 13/07/2012 03:45
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact


Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Caskeyin this Bulletinin the followingyear and was furtherdiscussedby two other scholars in subsequent years. It was proposedthen that AhmedYoussefshouldcompletethe workof restorationand it is hopedthat he may soon be able to turnhis ingenuityto the chairandchest. L. The importanceof the head. G. id. Hazard'sdaughter. firstkingof Dynasty IV. vol. Hyde. Headof Alexander Otis NorcrossFund Alexander .:3 of the headthereis little to To theirdescription may add. SMITH WILLIAM STEVENSON 7 1-j Fig. pp. was soonconfirmed by specialistsin the field. AhmedYoussefprepared a reproduction of the box for the Boston Museum (Fig. of the footboardof Togetherwith the decoration the bed.1921.1923). 1910. pp. partly becausethere werefewer piecesand partlybecauseit belongedto a time of simpler living conditions. of Philadelphia. has furniture for Hetep-heres). I. 52. Reese.Professor Newbold. 7) and the flowers inlaid designson the lid of the chest which contained the braceletbox (Fig. from whomit has now been recentlyacquired. Mr. wellas beingsome 1300 yearsmorerecent(1353B. 757-758. It was bought in Sparta in 1908 and went through a preliminarycleaning process in the British Museum in the same year before being W. H. VIII. andGreek Monuments fromSparta. which and showypiecesof are the most richlydecorated all the furniture. pp. 1939. It was brieflypresentedby Dr. Kent.the give the titles of the queen'shusband. Even more elaborate are the hawks. November 18.R. Bates published 1909Professor the first time. 3) shows clearlyhow hopelesslookingwas the condition of the decayedmaterial. 1914. The inscriptions Sneferu." AJA. of which a reproductionis exhibited of the nearby.However.Mrs. and a summaryof earlierobservations sufficeas a presentation. mous equipmentof the tomb of Tut-ankh-amen wasin soundcondition. XIII. pp. Acc. D. 305-320. 85-104 (later produced quarian reprint.AhmedYoussef. "A Marble Head of Herakles. W. D. Young has now treated these again and the box has recently been returned to exhibition. The fine proportions and reflectthe same spirit boldlydesigneddecoration of Dynasty IV. D. At the sametime. In it2 for WilliamN. A glance at the photographof the tomb of Hetep-hereswhen it was first opened (Fig."Procecd.. 29. Vol. 8). 3 L. Unfortunately the wood was affected by the climatic changefromEgypt to Americaand had to be removed from exhibitionin the Museum after a shorttime and allowedto standfor a considerable periodto determinewhetherfurtherstresswould be exertedon the plasteredand gilded surfaces." AJA. It paid its first visit to Boston as early as in the summerof 1910. feather patterns. and fromthe secondarmchair(Fig.Wash.and the paintingas exemplifiedby the famousMedumGeese. 462-478. Bates. in Olympic Victor 2 THE Athlctic Art.who had been lent to the Expeditionby the CairoMuseum.Heracles: A Preliminary Note marblehead which is here presented'is not a newcomerto the Museum(Fig.and AntiHercules "The Baffled in a Soc." Bullefin M. XVIII.1471: Otis Norcross Fund. Romaine broughtby its firstowner. as against2650 B. the as the greatportraitsculpture wonderful wall reliefs.L. In comparison. 39. pp. to Philadelphia. W. of theNumism.pp. Caskey. No.with the woodinside the gold casingsof the furniture eithershrivelled to a fractionof its originalbulk or else deof cigarash. clearlyenvisagedby its learnedowner. this box gives a vivid impression skill of the Old Kingdomdesigner. All the teriorated to the consistency more amazingwas Reisner'sachievementin recovering the original appearance of virtually the faevery one of the objects. "A head of Heracles in the style of Scopas. then on loan from Mrs.. 26-27: W.C. corrected . "The Head of a Youthful Heracles from Sparta. 30 BULLETIN OF THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS In 1939. In the summer of 1952I was able to examinethis materialagain in the CairoMuseumwith AhmedYoussefand to checkthe inlay patternsand gold sheetswith my restored drawings. It is somewhatunder life-sizeandmadeof Pentelicmarblewhichon the I Head of Alexander. A. The boxhas so far only been publishedin an articleby Reisnerin the Illustrated LondonNews.completed the difficulttask of replacing the thin gold sheets copyof the box for andfaienceinlayson a modern the curtainsof the bed canopy. 151-157.LI. John Newbold Hazard of Peacedale.C. 1).746). N. The Hetep-heres less attentionthan that of attractedconsiderably Tut-ankh-amen. it is fully of the first great periodof Egyprepresentative tian achievement. 2. and after variousvicissitudeswas again depositedhere by Mrs. 1. 1909.

very near the center. however.and bases this assumption on its clearindividualization. and the breaks likewise show traces of weathering. The heavy.C. They have been variously described as lookingupward. The face is remarkably well preserved except for the tip of the nose. and water.OF FINE ARTS OF THE MUSEUM BULLETIN LI. As a matter of fact. but denies that Heracles is represented. mentions Lysippus.Caskeypoints out Praxiteleanfeaturesin the lowerpart of the head and termsit "an eclecticworkin whichfeaturesfromSkopasand Praxiteleshave beencomeffect. of Alexander. binedwith an unusuallysuccessful still consideringit an eclectic work. Their vigorousand sensitivemodellinghas given riseto as to the directionof theirpenetrating speculation gaze. Fig. . or to the left. The delicate finish of the surface is intact on the right half and only slightly weathered on the left side. the impressionof an upward gaze. so that muzzle and teeth of the beast overshadow the forehead. in any event. 3. The neck and the back of the head with the ears are missing. Bates attributesit to Scopasor his circle. which evidently was exposed for some time to the corroding activities of air. Even Caskey 4 1 am indebted to Miss Hazel Palmer for this observation. The youthful head wears the lion helmet. a close examinationreveals that faint tracesexist at least on the left eye of a tiny incisionwhichseemsto markthe outeredgeof the pupil. National Museum right side has taken on a mottled golden brownish patina entirely lacking on the left. Headof Alexander Athens." Hyde. Teiradrachm -U Fig.4 and cannotguideus with certaintyin any specific direction. slightly fleshy eyebrows give. glanceratherthan a straightforward This is not the only point of discussionamong those who have earliertreated the head. The intensity the expression in the eyes whichatis concentrated of expression tract the onlookerwith a magneticforce. the traditional equipment of Heracles. and dramatizes main characteristic of the young face. 31 V the right. Head of Alexander Otis NorcrossFund Fig. This adds to the lively play of light and shadow which is a of the head. 330 B. It lies. Instead he suggests that it is an idealized portraitof an unknownvictoriousathlete in the disguiseof Heracles. The helmet is drawn down rather far. 2. 4. wind.

. forcefulfeaturescontrastto some extent with the softerandmorerounded formsof mouthand chin.. What did the archetypelook like after which the die-cutterworked? I think a detailedcomparison between the Sicyon coin and our head gives a satisfactoryanswerto the question. accordingto ProfessorKent.C.andthe individuality of the headstronglysuggesta portraitratherthan an image of an immortal. In later coin issues these features are either over-emphasized or blurred. but the talentedintermediary between a leadingartist of the time and the mass medium of coinage. There is an upperflat sectionand a lowerbulgingone divided by a horizontal groove. the scene of the great deedsof his ancestorAchilles.C. Kent goesbackto the Heraclesidea. Two years later. but whichdo not apply to the youngAlexander in 332B. 12. the eyes fairly deeplyset. 32 BULLETIN OF THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS a coin in the NewellCollection I herereproduce of the AmericanNumismatic Society ( eloquently describedby Plutarchand variousother ancient authors.C.1. after the successfulbattle of Issus." "lookingup with his face to the sky. The final stages of this processended in the famousAlexanderportraitsby Lysippus. of the woundedand baffled Heracleswho sneakedaway afterhavingbeenattacked byHippoco6n. It originated in the old Macedoniankingship. All the personalfeatures of the coin image pointed out above are found in the marble head from Sparta.5 Struckin Sicyon in the year 330 B. Newell. Pausaniassaw a statue of Heraclesin a sanctuaryclose to the city wall of Sparta.C.and his sons. which claimeddescentfromboth Heraclesand Achilles. The deificationof Alexanderduring his own lifetimewas a gradualprocess. valiantlydefendedby its inhabitantsunder the protection of the Phoeniciangod HeraclesMelkhart.the heavy eyebrows.and presentedhimself as a reincarnation of the Homerichero. 2). The featuresareclearlyindividualized beginningwith the two separate planes in which the forehead is modelled.the "patronsaint" of the city. The pathos.quite appropriately on account of the unusualsituation -and the direction of the eyes. 1950. In the variety of interpretations and attributions there is a generalconsensuson the great beauty of the head. 3.C. the small mouth. it shows Alexander'slikeness in the traditional Heraclesiconography.but connectsit with a localSpartan myth. be a remnantof that statue. only infinitelyfiner and more plastically rendered:the divided forehead.the short upperlip. Alexandervisited Ilium.C. and the nose straight and energetic. and 330 B.C. The evidence seems sufficientto identify them as the same person:our head is a portraitof the young Alexanderfrom the time between 332 B.LI." Such were the Lysippanportraitsof Alexanderwhich have come down to posterity in innumerable copiesandin literature. Volume. His mainarguments are the expression of the face whichlacks divine serenity.reflected in the coinsof Sicyon and Tarsus. The eyebrows arerather heavy and the attireof Heracles. But theirvery discussion in otherpointsseemsto suggest a new solutionregarding both subject-matter and artist. Our head should. Its small size speaks decidedly against a cult statue. wouldbe unparalleled in Greekart of the fourthcenturyto render an athleticvictor. and soon after this crucialevent in his early career we meet what I believe to be his imagein Heracles'attire on coins both in the East and in Greeceitself. and its quality of being a Greekworkfrom the fourthcenturyB." with a "liquidsoftness and in his eyes"and with a "manliness brightness and lion like fiercenessin his my opinion.15. Alexanderbesieged and conqueredthe city of Tyre. It seems to be the king portrayedas Heracles. related by Pausanias(II1. 3-5).but these early coins preserve a truer likeness and mark at the same time the first decisive step in the evolutionof an iconography that was totally new to Greekart: that of rendering an imageof a deifiedruler. 5 Numismatic Studies. After the conquest. where we meet him with "his neck bent slightly to the left. the softly roundedchin. whenhe was just 24 yearsold. These manly.the attitude of whichhe was told had been suggested by this episode. No. 6. The new photograph of the coin we owe to the courtesy of Miss Margaret Thompson of the American Numismatic Society. A personalcharacteristic is obviouslyrendered in the strikinglyshortupperlip andthe small.the intensity. and gainedmomentumunderthe influenceof the new impressionswhich met Alexanderand his men during the conquest of the suggestedby Professor Hyde. to the quotedauthor. In this all importantpoint I am in wholeheartedagreementwith the distinguished scholars already mentioned.not Heracles used as an allegoryof this early stage of deificationof the youngruler.which can be followed through our historicalsources. But who could he be? Who among mortals could in the latter part of the fourth centuryaspire to an identificationwith the deified hero? The only possibleanswerseemsto be: Alexander the Great.rather sensuousmouth. the finenessof its execution. in 332 B. Soon after having crossedthe Hellespontin 334 B.and above all the expression are the same. 1. had pointedto these featuresand held that it was only the lion-helmetwhich helpedus to identify him with the deifiedhero. a legendary kingof Sparta. The official portraitsof that period are. Alexandertook the placeof the god. published by Professor Noe afterthe notes of Mr.proportions. p.glancingsidewise according towardthe left.. The die-cutterwas not the original portraitist. On the other hand.

.. November 13.. tain considerable Lysippuswas the favoritecourt sculptorof Alexanderthe Great and had already made his first portraitof himwhilethe princewasstill a boy.Sung dynasty........ by Kishi Chikudo.. Eugene Bernat. 52.1545.. 52..... of which the early coins and the heads in Boston and Athens give so eloquent witness...... Sung dynasty.131... Professor quirements pointed clearlytoward Lystylistic comparisons sippus... fifteenthcentury....1546.... Lead. What has been considered best contemporary replica so far known. period Korean. 53. and Mrs. Hu (large jar). T'ang dynasty..... 486... Tz'u-chouware....... H. The Boston head is the ERIKSJdQVIST 6 Brunn.. 5). of less distinguished quality but still an Attic marble work from the period. eighteenth . Eugene Bernat.. and materially(Fig. by Toyo... 53.. Gift of Rev. Gift of Mr.1745. betweenthe two and the difference The Boston head stands out very honorablyin (Fig..and the theory of its vious chronological beingan eclecticworkdoesnot answerthe new reHyde's of a royalportrait.nineteenth ....Japanese. Paintings.... Wei dynasty. and Arndt....Pi. FredericB... Sung dynasty.. for example.. 52. Res... Pomegranate Branch.. and Mrs. Eagles. unknown ware.Chinese..... the renderingof the hairof Agiasandof ourhead.. Figurefor inlay decoration..1544. Pottery pillow..107.. 52... Paine...... 1953 Asiatic Art.108.. Kuan type.. Griechischeund Romische Portrdas.. third or fourth century .takes an important place not only in the iconeclecticism iognomy of the sitter renderedby a first-rate ography of Alexander the Great.32. the comparison Thereremainsthe questionwhowas the author madein bronze of of the prototype probably in Heraclean the portraitof the young Alexander attire... 4). AdrianRubel. 52... century Marbleizedcoffer.. Plate decorated in Arita style with Kakiemondesign. Gift of Robert T. Kuei ("two-handledbowl"). Res.. Stylistic forthe firsttime as a semi-divine analysis and historicalevidencestrengtheneach other reciprocally. early Han dynasty..... Gift of C..Gift century EdwardS.. Gift of Miss Lucy T.Han dynasty.late Ming dynasty.. Small jar... 52... for obhave to be discarded ScopasandPraxiteles reasons.. 33 Thereexistsin the NationalMuseumof Athens a similarAlexanderhead (Fig. Aldrich..132-53..1543. Morse Fund.. Chinese....6 It is illustratedhere for comboth the faciallikeness parison. 5. Lotus Bud.. Kellogg. CharlesB......120. Crowsand Snowy Treetops. SamuelEddy Wan Kuo-cheng.. Yung-ch'eng .. and Mrs. P...both spiritually studies of the art of Lysippus.... It seemshardlyplausiblethat he shouldhave been forgotten when there arose the immensely imthe young king of rendering portantcommission Fig. Ceramics. Chinese.. Chou dynasty. Gift of Mr. and thus is only the resultof the complexphys. Ku (beaker)...OF FINE ARTS OF THE MUSEUM BULLETIN memoryof Mr.. Chou dynasty...133.... 52.. Hoyt Fund...... 52.121. 52.. Gift of ArthurWiesenberger.. Ceramics.Chinese.. Pottery horse.. 53.1751. Ting ware.... 52... pottery. of Miss AdelaBarrett. Princeton University Accessions.and they now obsupportfromexternalevidence. Pottery pillow.. Pottery pillow.. 53. Gift of Miss Pauline Fenno..... Ching-t-chen ware. Porcelainvase......2. sixth century. Bronze. 3). 53.....1532. Pair of small porcelaincups. Jr.... Paintings... Flask-shaped bottle...1547..and demonstrates in execution.. Ming (?) dynasty..... Gift of Mr.... Headof Alexander Otis NorcrossFund being.... ... Sung dynasty..... AshikagaIdealisticSchool. 52. 1952 through March 12. Paul Bernat. but also in the sculptorin an excellentlikeness. and Mrs..

Related Interests