Statuette of Alexander the Great

Object Details


Statuette of Alexander the Great




East Greek


Asia Minor (Place created)


2nd century B.C.




31.5 x 10.7 x 7 cm (12 3/8 x 4 3/16 x 2 3/4 in.)

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Ancient authors record that Alexander the Great was so pleased with portraits of himself created by Lysippos that he decreed no other sculptor would make his image. Although this statement is probably exaggerated, Lysippos did make some of the most powerful and lasting images of Alexander. It also shows Alexander understood the propagandistic importance of his image and the need to control it.

Lysippos's statue "Alexander with a Lance," made in the 320s B.C., portrayed Alexander armed and naked, echoing the great heroes of Greek mythology like Achilles with whom he identified. He stood with his weight on one leg, one arm extended and holding a spear, the other hanging down at his side. This broken statuette, carved in the 100s B.C., is a small-scale variant of that original. One of numerous surviving posthumous images of Alexander made well into the Roman period, this statuette may have been a private devotional image related to the worship of Alexander as a god. Its owners certainly valued it, since the statuette was repaired and reworked in antiquity.

- 1973

Robin Symes, Limited, English, 1977 - 2005 (London, England), by partial exchange with the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1973.

The Making of a Hero: Alexander the Great from Antiquity to the Renaissance (October 22, 1996 to January 5, 1997)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 22, 1996 to January 5, 1997
Hellenistic Art from the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 25 to August 15, 2001)
  • Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum, California State University, San Bernardino, January 25 to August 15, 2001

Frel, Jirí, and Elizabeth Buckley. Greek and Roman Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Exh. cat., California State University at Northridge, October 16-November 11, 1973 (1973). p. 12, no. 1, ill.

Frel, Jirí. The Getty Bronze. Malibu: 1978. p. 22; pl. 7.

Frel, Jirí. Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum. A Checklist. Sculpture I. Greek Originals. Malibu: May 1979 p. 26, no. 102.

Frel, Jirí. Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum. A Checklist. Sculpture II. Greek Portraits and Varia. Malibu: November 1979. addendum, p. 44, no. 102.

Frel, Jirí. Greek Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu: 1981. pp. 70, 113, no. 21, ill.

Moreno, P. "Opere de Lisippo," Rivista dell'Istituto nazionale d'archeologia e storia dell'arte Series III, (1983-84), vol. 6-7, pp. 13-70 p. 43.

Frel, Jirí. "Ancient Repairs to Classical Sculpture at Malibu," The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984), pp. 73-92. p. 85, no. 30.

Frel, Jirí. "Alexander with the Lance," Lysippe et son influence. Hellas et Roma V (1987). pp. 77-79.

Grossman, Janet Burnett. "Images of Alexander the Great in the Getty Museum," Studia Varia from the J. Paul Getty Museum 2. Occasional Papers on Antiquities 10 (2001), pp. 51-78. pp. 54-55, no. 2; figs. 2a-c.

Thomas, Renate. Eine postume Statuette Ptolemaios' IV. und ihr historischer Kontext: Zur Götterangleichung hellenistischer Herrscher. Trierer Winckelmannsprogramme, 18 (Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 2001) p. 68, n. 103 m.