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date: 13 November 2019

Pyrgoteles (ii)locked

( fl 4th–3rd century bc).
  • Dimitris Plantzos


( fl 4th–3rd century bc).

Greek gem-engraver associated with the glyptic portraits of Alexander the Great (reg 336–323 bc). According to Pliny (Natural History 7.125), Pyrgoteles was one of the three court artists authorized to depict Alexander's likeness in art (the others being Apelles for painting and Lysippos for sculpture). The same author (Natural History 37.8) adds that Alexander had issued an edict forbidding anyone to engrave his image on emeralds, other than Pyrgoteles, ‘who was without a doubt the most illustrious master of his art’. According to Plutarch (Life of Alexander, 4.1), it was Alexander himself who designed his public image, and saw that it was widely publicized through art, as a means to cultivate his own legend. Plutarch also relates that Alexander demanded from his court artists, in order to convey his royal qualities through his idealized portrait, that ‘the poise of the neck turned slightly to the left and the melting of the eyes’, in order to broadcast ‘his manly and leonine quality’ (Plutarch, ...

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