The painting provides a new interpretative approach to the well-known historical personality and Greek military leader Alexander the Great. Done as an abstract piece, it tells a whole narrative and may be more or less informative depending on the observer’s background knowledge. The painting is divided into the upper and lower halves, where the former is occupied by the rider and the latter – by the horse. Interestingly here, the audience has to be able to make some historical and linguistic connections to manage to decipher the images. Thus, the amber-hued horse in the painting is more reminiscent of a bull in its stature, with a massive head, two horns, as well as a wide, bloody red nostril. An important fact in this context is that Alexander the Great named his horse Bucephalus, which may be translated as “the head of an ox”.
The figure of the rider himself is all bloody red, with the brush strokes reminding the dropping blood due to their fluidity and lack of shape. The yellow eye of the male figure makes it almost demonic, implying Alexander’s the Great notorious violence and aggression in battles. With the large sword contoured in blood on the left and against the backdrop of the deep blue night, again with blots of red in some places, the subject matter is representative of a strong military leader. Finally, the position of the horse with bent legs and the forward-directed strokes of the dark blue night in the lower part of the canvas create the impression of fast motion, making the narrative image dynamic and creating the sense of a rush from the battlefield.
So how do we tell the history of Alexander the Great, pulling apart the myths and legends and reconstructing an accurate narrative? It’s a difficult task, but it’s an important one because the history of Alexander is a history of the Greek empire, which had a massive influence on vast regions stretching across Europe, Asia, and Africa. Alexander the Great’s life and military campaigns from places so far away from one another paints a picture of an expansive empire. We know that Alexander was a powerful military leader. He led important campaigns and expanded his empire from Greece to Persia, Babylon, Egypt and beyond, taking advantage of local political contexts as he conquered new territory. The contemporary artist invites the viewer to taste history in form of a demonic spirit, the candle next to and the Lyon.