Andy Warhol’s Alexander the Great complete portfolio is dedicated to the image of the ancient King of Macedon, based on a Hellenistic bronze that is held in a private collection. Warhol created the work to be published in cooperation with the Hellenic Heritage Foundation to coincide with “The Search for Alexander” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, October 27, 1982-January 3, 1983.
The famous king is a celebrity in his own right and is a natural subject for Warhol, who obsessed over icons of any kind. In fact, Alexander the Great is said to have been so influential that when Julius Caesar read about the Macedonian king, he was brought to tears because he himself paled in comparison.
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. 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 that are not usually sources of influence shown in Warhol’s work. The Alexander the Great complete portfolio includes FS II.291-292, and Revolver Gallery also has a trial proof of FS II.291.
Alexander the Great as Part of Andy Warhol’s 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.