Where? Room I of the Alte Pinakothek in Munich
Medium and size: Oil on panel, 158.4 cm × 120.3 cm.
Commission: Duke William IV of Bavaria commissioned a series of historical paintings from various artists for his summer house at the Royal Study. They included both biblical and other historical paintings.
What do you see? It shows the cosmic battle at Issus in 333 BC. Altdorfer captured the end of the battle between the Persian King Darius III and Alexander the Great.
The painting contains thousands of warriors on the battlefield. In the left foreground, the army with the red and black lances is the Persian one of Darius III. They go head to head with the Hellenic squadron, in the right foreground, fighting for Alexander the Great.
Just above this battle is the main scene with, on the left, Darius III on his chariot carried by three off-white horses. He is fleeing the battlefield, realizing that they have lost the battle. To his right, leading the Macedonian army with his outstretched lance is Alexander the Great chasing Darius III.
Above the scene with Darius and Alexander, more battles occur with the Macedonians on the right and the Persians on the left. The banners for each army contain information on the supposed number of soldiers killed and taken hostage.