Welcoming Andy Warhol’s “Alexander the Great” at Mamush Gallery
We are very proud to present “Alexander the Great”, an extraordinary artwork, a rare edition of 65 screenprints, signed and numbered individual trial proofs.
In 1982, the “Pope of Pop”, Andy Warhol (1928–87) produced a series of colorful screenprints based on a Roman-era bronze head (150 BCE-138 BCE) of the legendary king of Macedonia, Alexander the Great. Those prints were commissioned by Alexander Iolas (1907–87) a bit after the blockbuster exhibition of ancient art and artefacts “The Search for Alexander” that took place in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
The portrait of Alexander fits into an extended framework of cultural memorabilia, picturing personas from Goethe (1982) to Jane Fonda (1982), and from Santa Claus (1981) to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1984). But how about Alexander? Exploring this affinity between the ancient and (post)modern world, nobody argues that by the time the bronze head was created, Alexander’s image was “as well known and established as famous corporate logos are today” (Elizabeth Baynham).
By producing Alexander’s image in his trademark style, Warhol assimilated the ancient past into the grand narration of the American history and its need to relate to ancient Greece- a need that springs from the cultural and democratic legacy. As seen like that, Alexander the Great becomes as much a part of American culture as Marilyn Monroe and Ronald Reagan. So, what about the matter of cultural identity? Apart from its deeply historical approach, there is also the meaning of its deconstruction through art, as Baudrillard would suggest. This portrait is not only a beautiful illustration of the legendary king: it clearly consists of a testimony about the way that postmodernity has collectively perceived, remembered and reconstructed the classical past. Faces, symbols and ideas become international elements. Viewing this print, there is no doubt that Alexander’s larger than life personality and Warhol’s genius color perspective created a global masterpiece.