The Battle of Issus (1528-29) by Albrecht Altdorfer

The Battle of Issus - Albrecht Altdorfer - 1529

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Battle of Issus
ArtistAlbrecht Altdorfer
MediumOil on Wood
Dimensions158 x 120 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBavarian State Painting Collections, Munich, Germany

About The Battle of Issus

“The Battle of Issus” is an oil on wood painting created by Albrecht Altdorfer in 1529, reflecting the artistic style of the Northern Renaissance. Measuring 158 by 120 centimeters, it is categorized as a battle painting. Presently, the artwork resides in the Bavarian State Painting Collections located in Munich, Germany. It encapsulates a historic scene, notable for its rich details and dynamic composition.

The artwork exhibits an epic landscape that intertwines with the tumultuous activity of battle. At the core of the painting is the chaotic clash of combat, populated with a dense arrangement of soldiers in armor that reflects the intensity of close-quarter conflict. This mass of human struggle is set against a backdrop of serene and pristine landscapes, with cities, rivers, and distant fortresses extending into the far reaches of the scene, culminating in a dramatic sky that transitions from the cool tones of a crescent moon’s night to the warm glow of a setting or rising sun.

Above the fray, suspended from the heavens, is an elaborate scroll bearing text, seemingly floating independently within the scene. The dramatic contrast between the violence below and the tranquility of the natural environment emphasizes the insignificance of human conflict in the grandeur of the natural world. Altdorfer’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in every aspect of the painting, from the individual soldiers to the natural elements, creating a layered narrative of history, landscape, and allegory.

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