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The Competition in Sittacene and the Placating of Sisigambis
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Attributed to the Master of the Jardin de vertueuse consolation
Flemish, Bruges, about 1470 - 1475
Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment
17 x 13 in.
MS. LUDWIG XV 8, FOL. 99

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Before the impressive stone battlements of a conquered city whose gateway is marked with his name, Alexander the Great hosts games among his troops. The games were designed to boost his troops' morale as they marched from Babylon to Susa. Surrounded by dandily dressed members of the army, an acrobat performs gymnastics while another man hoists a large stone. Rather than emphasizing the physical demands of the games, the artist made the soldiers into a splendid sight in robes of rich saturated reds, blues, and greens with gold highlights, giving the miniature a luxurious feel and courtly tone.

The women standing at the right derive from another episode. With their lavish headresses and sumptuous gowns, they represent members of the family of the defeated Persian ruler Darius. Alexander consistently treated these captive women with respect and magnanimity because of their nobility. The artist may have linked this episode with that of the games because both illustrate Alexander's generosity.