Dating to Imperial Rome, circa 2nd century AD, the sun-god is depicted in a type inspired by Alexander the Great with a commanding brow line and wavy hair. The god was originally carved wearing a radiate crown representing the rays of the sun.
Helios, the ancient Greek sun-god, was said to drive his chariot each day from east to west across the sky, mirroring the movement of the sun. He is usually depicted wearing a radiate crown symbolising the rays of the sun.
One of the titles given to Alexander the Great was Helios, and depictions of the sun god from the Hellenistic period onwards were heavily influenced by portraits of Alexander.
Portraits of Alexander continued to be made throughout the Hellenistic period and beyond into Imperial Rome. The Roman love of important historical characters, coupled with their insatiable demand for ancient works of art, meant that portraits of Alexander and Alexander as Helios continued to be popular well into the Roman Imperial period. By this time, images of Helios were entirely conflated with those of Alexander. The head of Alexander-Helios presented here, has Alexander’s characteristic wild thick hair, secured with a diadem, signifying royalty, around his head.
We are delighted to be collaborating with photographer Jaron James on this project. Having worked together for many years photographing beautiful and captivating objects, the idea for this exhibition arose from Jaron’s pleasure in shooting select parts of objects, the details.
Jaron James (b.1975) graduated in Documentary Photography in 2000 from Newport University, South Wales. Since then Jaron has photographed for The Science Museum, and worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum for five years.
Now freelancing, Jaron works with a strong client base which includes The National Trust, English Heritage, Leighton House, Art UK, The Powell Cotton Museum and various important Fine Art and Ancient Art dealers.