Alexander and Bucephalus Edgar Degas Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Edgar Degas is a rebound artist most prominently known for his genre paintings showcasing the beauty and essence of ballerinas.

Alexander And Bucephalus belongs to a collection of historic paintings by the artist. While Degas most commonly preferred to showcasing women throughout his art, he commonly dabbled in other realms that captivated him. This is showcased within Alexander And Bucephalus as it incredibly veers away from the classic paintings Degas is most known for painting. The scene showcases Alexander The Great near the left side of the painting shielding his horse Bucephalus. The viewer is able to witness immense fear on Alexander's face as he holds onto his horse. While it is unknown what exactly is occurring, it seems as if Alexander feels threatened by the group of men starring at him.

Alexander is dressed in white attire commonly worn during his time. Small glimpses of pink are showcased onto the fabric creating a hue against the overall white tone. His attire is covered in endless folds and caverns throughout the piece, adding greater dimension rather than showcasing his clothing in a solid colour. The horse stands behind Alexander gently bending its head in unease. Behind Alexander, a group of men stand around him. It is difficult to make out these men, alongside their relationship to Alexander and Bucephalus. Yet, it seems as if one of the men is attempting to cover Alexander is a blue-grey cloak. Alexander is barefoot with his feet in the brown coloured dirt. To the right, a group of men seem to be intimidating Alexander and his horse. Roughly four men stand amongst one another making different movements towards Alexander.

The fascinating element to witness amongst the men is the black spirit that seems to derive in between all the men. A black cloud seems to swirl upwards into a large black cloud. Based on where Alexander's eyes are facing, it seems as if he is frightened by this dark spirit in the sky. The artwork is believed to be an unfinished piece based on the disconnect in the group of men's bodies. The arm of one of the men seems to disappear as he points it towards Alexander. Alongside, the bottom portion of another man seems to also disappear as it is nowhere to be found. It is unknown whether the painting is unfinished, or perhaps if this disappearance of body parts is in relation to the dark spirit. Another group of figures is showcased in the background of the painting, away from the overall prominent two groups. The ground continues into the background of the painting where it meets with tall mountains and greenery. Lush mountains concave into one another towards the sky.

A small glimpse of the sky above is showcased in a gentle grey shade accentuated by a few clouds. While the despair and fear on Alexander's face remains as the focal point of the painting, the mountains around hold almost as much significance. The gal mountains add perspective and depth throughout the piece as it extends towards the sky. The background of the piece perfectly intertwines with the overall scene captivating the piece. While the origin of the spirit in the piece remains unknown without historical context, the viewer is still able to make out the overall idea of what is occurring. Alexander and his horse remain the focal point of the artwork as the viewerÕs attention fall towards their beings.