Alexander the Great 292 is based on a Hellenistic bronze bust in a private Swiss collection. By the 1980s Warhol was appropriating themes from across art historical periods for use in his pop pantheon, from Nineteenth-Century European paintings to iconic Italian Renaissance portraits. Alexander the Great is Warhol’s only series with classical sculpture as its subject. Though Warhol is primarily known for his soup cans and celebrity portraits, his interest in political figures is shown throughout his work, with portraits of Mao Zedong, Vladimir Lenin and John F. Kennedy. Alexander the Great was a celebrity in his own right, and his influence continued for generations. In fact, when Julius Caesar read about the Macedonian King, he was brought to tears because he paled in comparison.
Alexander the Great 292 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
During the early 1980s, Warhol created his first prints that were inspired masterpieces from art history. Among the works he created were: Details of Renaissance Paintings, Saint Apollonia, and the After Munch series. The Alexander the Great series were the only works he made based on classical art. They were also the only works he made based on a sculptural source, not a painting. It deviates greatly from Warhol’s revolutionary style of work, which is celebrated for its originality and how it breaks from tradition. The images of Alexander the Great pay tribute to influences of the masters of classical antiquity.