MANTLE CLOCK “THE VIGIL OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT”
The great Macedonian conqueror, who lived from 356 to 323 BC, is shown in a moment of meditation, his noble head leaning on his left arm. A burning oil-lamp and a rolled papyrus are placed next to him. War motifs associated with the leader, united in elegant panoplies, embellish the base and the case of the clock.
The history illustrated by the clock is taken from Ammianus Marcellinus, a Roman historian from the late imperial age (330-390). As witnessed by his biography, the young Alexander used to hold a ball in his hand while studying in order not to doze off: in fact, if the hand relaxed, the object would have fallen on a copper cup, thus waking him up (see The immortal Alexander the great; the myth, the reality, his journey, his legacy, catalogue of the exhibition, Amsterdam, 2010, p. 283).
As the inscription on the left side of the clock indicates, the work was designed by the great French bronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843); a quite different version of the same subject by this author is part of the collection of the State Russian Museum of Saint Petersburg.
Inscription: THOMIRE A PARIS”; machine: “L. MOINET A PARIS”.
France, early 19th century
height 47 cm