This painting is named; “The Astonishment of Sisoes.”
It is both a commentary and a contemplation on death, not only of man, but of earthly empires.
It was painted following the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the 15th century and shows St. Sisoes, at the tomb of Alexander the Great, standing over the bones of this once great ruler, with the following inscription:
“SISOES, THE GREAT ASCETIC, BEFORE THE TOMB, OF ALEXANDER, KING OF THE GREEKS,WHO WAS ONCE COVERED IN GLORY.
ASTONISHED, HE MOURNS FOR THE RAVAGES OF TIME AND THE TRANSCIENCE OF GLORY, AND TEARFULLY DECLAIMS THUS:
‘THE MERE SIGHT OF YOUR TOMB, DISMAYS ME AND CAUSES MY HEART TO SHED TEARS, AS I CONTEMPLATE THE DEBT WE, ALL MEN, OWE.
HOW CAN I POSSIBLY STAND IT? OH, DEATH! WHO CAN EVADE YOU?‘”