Arts & Culture

The Family of Darius before Alexander

Paolo Veronese1565-7

The National Gallery, London
The National Gallery, London

The story illustrates the mistake made by the family of Darius, the defeated Persian Emperor, in identifying Alexander after the Battle of Issus.

Alexander and his friend Hephaestion visited Darius's tent; the mother of Darius, misled by Hephaestion's splendour and bearing, offered him the obeisance due to the victorious monarch; Alexander forgave her.

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  • Title: The Family of Darius before Alexander
  • Creator: Paolo Veronese
  • Date Created: 1565-7
  • School: Italian
  • Physical Dimensions: w4749 x h2362 cm
  • More Info: More Artist Information
  • Inventory number: NG294
  • Artist Biography: Paolo Caliari was born in Verona – hence 'Veronese' – and moved to Venice in the early 1550s, where he became one of the leading painters of the 16th century. He was trained in Verona by the local painter Antonio Badile, whose daughter he married in 1566. In Venice the colouring of Titian influenced him deeply. Tintoretto was also an influence, and an attraction to Mannerism shows in works such as 'The Consecration of Saint Nicholas'. However, Veronese went on to develop his own more decorative style. In 1573 the Inquisition took exception to some irreverent detail in a Last Supper by Veronese. In a fascinating exchange with the Inquisitors he defended the painter's right to 'take the same licence as poets and jesters take'. He eventually changed the title of the picture to 'Supper in the House of Levi', rather than change the picture itself. Throughout the 1560s and 70s Veronese produced mythological pictures for an international clientele, including two paintings bought for Philip IV by Velázquez on one of his Italian visits. Veronese ran a large workshop, assisted by his brother Benedetto and his sons Carlo and Gabriel. They carried on his studio after his death.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bought, 1857
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: The National Gallery, London
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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