The painting is a "comprehensive image" of aulic Baroque Classicism, demonstrating the stylistic language that can be recognised in the painting of Verona's artist Giambettino Cignaroli. His style was formed under the influence of the academic painting of Emilia-Romagna. Also influential were Verona-based artists, his teacher and a local, Antonio Balestra († 1740), and a Frenchman, Ludovico Dorigny († 1742). Cignaroli's painting belongs to the time of artistically extremely diverse Venetian Settecento. He executed many large painting compositions for churches and palaces and he enjoyed considerable fame in his lifetime, and although he never left his immediate homeland, he received prestigious commissions from church prelates and crowned heads both in Italy and abroad, e.g. from the Russian, Polish and Spanish courts and from the Prince-elector of Saxony.
The painter was trained in literature, poetry and rhetoric and it was easy for him to interpret literary stories of Ancient and Christian world in his own way. The displayed image is probably part of a cycle about the life of Alexander of Macedon (the Great) and presents the episode when in 333 B.C. the Macedonian hero defeated Darius, King of Persia, and captured the family of the escaped king: his mother, wife and two daughters. Shortly afterwards in a military camp, Darius' wife died in childbirth. This saddened Alexander for he was unable to shower the captured queen with kindness. He visited her for the last time in a tent and ordered a funeral with full honors.
Ferdinand Šerbelj, Miha Pirnat ml.
3 October–7 November 2013
National Gallery of Slovenia