Alexander and Bucephalus (1859 – 1861) by Edgar Degas

Alexander and Bucephalus - Edgar Degas - 1859 - 1861

Artwork Information

TitleAlexander and Bucephalus
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1859 - 1861
Art MovementImpressionism

About Alexander and Bucephalus

The artwork entitled “Alexander and Bucephalus” is a creation of Edgar Degas, painted between the years 1859 and 1861. This oil on canvas reflects the aesthetics of the Impressionism movement, despite its earlier time frame and demonstrates Degas’ engagement with history painting as a genre.

The painting illustrates a storied moment from antiquity, capturing the young Alexander the Great in the act of taming or perhaps bonding with Bucephalus, the horse that would become renowned as his legendary steed. The scene is cast in a windswept landscape that provides a dramatic backdrop for this pivotal encounter. Onlookers occupy the periphery of the composition, their attention focused on the central figures, enhancing the scene’s gravitas. Attention to the dynamic between horse and human, the tableau is infused with anticipation and the sense of an emerging relationship, which would go on to become emblematic of bravery and exceptionalism in historical lore.

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