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Platter with Alexander and Porous after the Battle of Hydaspes
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Platter with Alexander and Porous after the Battle of Hydaspes

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The scene represented on this large round platter is the encounter of the victorious Macedonian King Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) and the wounded and defeated Indian King Porus on the banks of the Hydaspes River. The battle is described by numerous Greek historians, including Arrian (Anabasis Book 5, chapters 11-18), Plutarch (Alexander, chapter 60), and Diodorus (The Historical Library Book 17, chapters 87-88). The center of this platter is filled with the battle scene: in the left foreground, the wounded Porus, bare-headed, is seated on the ground and supported by two of his officers. In the middle of the composition, Alexander stands turned towards Porus, holding his horse by the bridle. The background is crowded with tangled soldiers on foot and horseback, with a wall of spears behind. Other plates from this series are based on the 1608 print series Alexandri Magni Praecipuae Res Gestae (Principal Deeds of Alexander the Great) etched by Antonio Tempesta (1555-1630).

The platter is painted with grey-blue, olive-green, yellow, and ochre pigments, and it has outlines in manganese. The marli (wide, flat border) is divided by tasseled cords into fourteen compartments decorated with trophies of war. Around the low vertical side is a waved ribbon. The back is white. This platter was produced by the workshop of Francesco Antonio Xaviero Grue, the son of the maiolica painter Carlo Antonio Grue (1655-1723). Francesco Antonio earned degrees in philosophy and theology from the University of Urbino, and was often called “il dotore maiolicaro,” or the “doctor potter.” For more on the Grue family, see 48.1755.

  • The Search for Alexander. National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. 1980-1983.
Provenance Hermann Emden, Hamburg [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase [no. 78]; Sale, Rudolph Lepke, Berlin, November 3, 1908, no. 76; Jacques Seligmann, Paris [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1910, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1910

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1700-1710 (Baroque)
earthenware with tin glaze (maiolica)
Accession Number
H: 2 15/16 x Diam: 26 15/16 in. (7.5 x 68.5 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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