Greece Painting Part II

Athens, even after Polygnotus, continues to be the major center of pictorial art. A development of the primordial polygnothean perspective had to be felt in the works of Agatarco di Samo, who in Athens, already before 450 BC. C., had painted a scene for a tragedy by Aeschylus (Vitruv., VII, praef., 11). Alongside perspective, another progress in painting: chiaroscuro. It seems that chiaroscuro was widely applied in painting first by the Athenian Apollodorus, which flourished in the last decades of the century. It goes. C. (Plin., NatHist., XXXV, 60), and who had precisely the title of shader, skiagráphos: with the chiaroscuro the function of the contour line of the figures was partially eliminated. But the further developments of this chiaroscuro, especially as regards the almost total elimination of the contour line, took place with two great painters still of the fifth century, Zeusi and Parrasio.

In the meantime the traditions of the grandiose polygnothean art had not vanished, even with the transformation of the style now dissolved by the last ties of archaism, of style, which in this second half of the century. V is at first trustworthy, in the severe and composed ideal beauty, then, according to the ionic current, gentle and graceful, indeed mannered. Next to this last address, represented by Aglaofonte, son of Polyignoto’s brother, Aristofonte, we have the realistic art of Pausone. No longer the tragic grandeur of polygnothy, but the abstract graceful personifications, and the misery or banality of everyday life. Zeusi and Parrasio flourished between the fifth century and the century. IV.

According to, Zeusis of Heraclea in Pontus, although he made an Eros crowned with roses, was nevertheless known as a painter with vigorous, massive forms, so that he could be considered as a Polykleitos of painting. He achieved beautiful color effects, but he also devoted himself to monochromes. The merit of this painter (see Aristotle, Poetics, 6), lacking in the expression of the characters, consisted essentially in a perfect technique, a technique for which his Helen of Crotone was rightly famous.

Parrasio of Ephesus, continuer of the Polyignothean tradition regarding subjects, mostly taken from the epos of the Trojan cycle, sought a spiritual expression, based on the physical motif. He preferred figures of heroes and athletes, but the forms he expressed were delicate, gentle, conforming to the ionic current, so that his Theseus was famous, who seemed “fed on roses”.

Passionate must have been the art of Timante, from the island of Citno, who won in a Parrasio contest with the picture of the contest for the arms of Achilles; famous was his sacrifice of Iphigenia, magnified by various writers, especially Latin, and of which a faint echo is preserved in monuments of the Roman imperial age.

At the beginning of the century. IV the school of Sicyon flourished with an address similar to that of sculpture in the same city. In fact it was in Sicilian painting, which shunned the folds and which by the Greeks was called crestography, the absolute dominance of the science of numbers and lines, the preoccupation with symmetry and proportion. The major representatives of the Sicilian school are Eupompo, Melanzio, Panfilo and, especially, the pupil of Panfilo, Pausia di Sicione, who was the propagator of the encaustic technique (v.), With which very beautiful color effects were obtained. Pausia in turn had various pupils: Aristolaus, Nicophanes, Socrates, Thales; but Pausia and his school, albeit with outstanding skill in technique, did not raise much for the subjects, while the scientific concern of measure and symmetry cut off the flight of the imagination, and therefore of creative power, to the Sicilian pictorial art.

From Panfilo and Melanzio Sicionî came a great painter, Apelles of Colofone; but the genius of Apelles, if disciplined in the rigid Syconia method, could open new paths to the art of painting, so that Apelles can be considered as the leader of the Ionian address.

Apelles was active especially in Ephesus and Kos, he was the same age as Lysippus, because his life probably extended, like that of the great Syconius sculptor, between 370 and 300 approximately, and, like Lysippus, he was the artist court of Alexander the Great. His masterpiece di lui was the anadiomene Aphrodite in Kos, so that in painting he was almost the comparison of Praxiteles in sculpture. Apelles was most skilful in technique; it will suffice to mention the episode of the very thin line that he led above a very thin line drawn by Protogenes (Plin., Nat. Hist., XXXI, 81); in drawing he attained supreme mastery in the foreshortening; The portrait of Antigonus will suffice as an example, in which he wonderfully hid his one-eyed character (Plin., Nat. Hist., XXXV, 90); he was excellent in chiaroscuro, so that some parts of his figures seemed to protrude from the picture; he had the highest degree of the dowry of a colourist, which he expressed especially in the picture of Calumny and in that of Thunder, Lightning and Lightning, distinguished from each other by the different intonation of the colors.

But the salient feature of Apelles’ work was its ideality, which he did not recognize in another great representative of the Ionian school, Protogene di Cauno (Caria), who very late gained fame as a painter, having continued to be a simple decorator of ships up to fifty years old (Plin., NatHist., XXXV, 101); perhaps he was younger than Apelles and lived longer than him. His activity took place especially in Athens, then in Rhodes. Protogenes remained famous for his tormented indifference, which prompted him to make and redo the same painting several times: as an example, his Ialysus, for which he spent seven years of work, is worth. The greatness of the art of Protogenes, who was also a bronze sculptor, must have consisted in the perfection of the work.

Alongside the Ionic school, pre-eminent, and derived from the Sicilian school, they flourished in the century. IV a. C. the Theban and Attic schools. Aristide was the best representative of the Theban, according to some inventor of the encaustic; passionate painter, he can be compared to the sculptor Scopa for the impressive images he created, designed to arouse the emotion of the viewer. Aristide’s pupil was his son Nicomachus, a powerful and easy artist, so as to be compared to Homer; Nicomachus’s pupils were Aristide the Younger, who seems to have been a genre painter and portraitist, and Philoxenus of Eretria, whose name is linked to the picture of a battle between Alexander and Dario Codomano, of which a vivid memory was recognized in the famous mosaic of the House of the Faun in Pompeii.

Greece Painting 2