'Alexander and the Gordian knot'

'If then such praise the Macedonian got
For having rudely cut the Gordian Knot'
.....Waller ...to the King

Alexander was reputedly a strong, handsome commander with one eye dark as a black night and one blue as a burnished sky. He lead his army on his faithful black stallion Bucephalo and was accompanied by the best military formation of the time, the Macedonian Phalanx which was armed with sarisses, the fearfully brutal five and half meter long spears.

Parmenion, the general shown here on the left of Alexander, was also called the Lion of Macedon, and had acquired great popularity within the army. As King Phillip's (Alexander's father) general his reputation was of a general who had never lost a battle. During the siege of Tyre, the Persian king Darius sent a letter to pay ransom of 10,000 talents for his family and cede all his lands west of the Euphrates to Alexander. On that occasion Parmenion advised Alexander to accept. "I would accept, were I Alexander." Parmenio said ; "I too, were I Parmenio!" was Alexander's famous retort.

It would appear (depending on which newspaper you buy) Alexander was a little full of his own importance ... JH

I am now nearing the stage I call presentation. Remember this painting is not only about art, it is also a narrative about lateral thinking - and about communicating that idea. The construction of the painting is pitched to the exotic, to sentiments of heroes and villians.

Some specific late alterations are examined below and relate to the final view (next page).

1. More detail in the sky line.
2. People on the balcony of one of the buildings.
3. Blocks of stone to give texture behind ladder.
4. Tackle rope hanging from right building.
5. Hands, faces, legs and feet re-adjusted and detailed a little more.
5. Sheep made to look more like sheep and less like large dogs.
6. More orange on the tiger. Here I introduced a new color not used in any other mix. This is a practice I would warn beginners against unless like here you need some counterpoint.
7. Redened up the foreground to allow the yellow middle distance to balance the blue of the sky - more drama.
8. Adjusted some overall values.
9. Had a shower, changed, found my wallet, switched out the light and raced down to the nearest bar. You don't want to know the rest ...

'Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter' ... Shakespear (HenryV, 1.i)

Alexander III of Macedon died in his 33rd year. He had reigned for 12 years and eight months.

GO TO ... final view
.....or back to main lesson list