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Paintings on historical subjects

(717 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] In Egyptian art, the illustration of historical events constitutes a rare exception; stylized motifs, such as the king slaying enemies, must be understood as timeless and are used as unchanging topoi over the centuries in various pictorial media. The insufficient material remains, art-theoretical texts and literature from ancient Greece relating to the painting of historical subjects do not permit a precise definition of ancient historical painting, in analogy to the modern term f…

Aetion

(170 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Ἀετίων; Aetíōn) Greek painter (also a sculptor?) of the late classical period, exponent of the four-colour painting style ( Colours). There is an elaborate description of A.'s most famous painting, the wedding of Alexander with Roxane, in Lucian. Hdt. 4-6, which prompted many Renaissance and baroque painters to reinterpret the subject. Influences of this or a further wedding painting described by Plin. HN 35,78, which was meant to symbolize Alexander's unification policies, can pe…

Encaustic (painting)

(304 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] From the Greek ἐγκαίειν ( enkaíein), to burn in, heat up. A painting technique with  wax as binder for the pigments. The colour emulsion was applied cold or warm or fused with the surface by heating. The process, described incompletely by Pliny (HN 35,122f.; 149) and especially valued by Greek panel painters in the 4th cent. BC, gave the paintings a brilliant quality as well as durability but it was protracted, complicated and expensive. In spite of a great deal of research, even exper…

Landscape painting

(971 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] A. Greece The lack of material records for ancient Greek painting also creates difficulties when attempting a definition and evaluation of this genre. However, based on today's knowledge of the monuments, it is fairly safe to assume that it cannot be equated with independent landscape painting (LP), as practised by the Dutch painters or during Romanticism, which forms the basis of the modern concept [4. 176]. Antiquity did not know a specific term for LP as we understand it [1. 190;…

Parrhasius

(506 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Παρράσιος/ Parrhásios). One of the most important Greek painters, from Ephesus, son of the sculptor (?) Evenor [1], active c. 440-380 BC. This versatile and productive (Plin. HN 35,69-72 alone records 16 paintings) contemporary of the equally famous Zeuxis lived in Athens; his spectacular and expensive works reached many areas of the Greek world and later, as booty, the Roman world. P. belonged to the second generation of artists from the 5th cent. BC, whose technical advances all…

Nealces

(147 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Νεάλκης; Neálkēs). Hellenistic representative of the Sicyonian school of painting, which has been famous since the Classical period. In the late 3rd cent. BC he was a respected and influential court painter for his friend Aratus [2]. Plin. HN 35, 141f. refers to pictures of an Aphrodite, of a snorting and foaming horse along with its tamer, as well as one of a naval battle between Persians and Egyptians on the Nile. We have no details of N.'s style, but his craftsmanship is emphasized in an anecdote which is also often told about other artists (Plin. HN 35, 103f.). Hoesch, Nic…

Pleistaenetus

(143 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Πλεισταίνετος; Pleistaínetos). A Greek painter mentioned solely in Plut. De gloria Atheniensium 2,346; his life span can be dated to the middle of the 5th cent. BC only through chronological inference. He is said to have been a brother of the sculptor Phidias and to have created paintings of battle scenes with victorious commanders, as well as images of heroes. Several scholars believe that Pliny (Plin. HN 35, 54) had mistakenly written Panaenus instead of P., however the assumpti…

Scenography

(565 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Greek σκηνογραφία/ skēnographía, Latin scaenographia). There is controversial criticism of the development and appearance of this genre, surviving only in ancient literature and in pictorial secondary sources (cf. also Painting), and they remain unclear, despite various synopses of the results of different branches of study of the form and development of Greek theatre and its performing places. Changes in architecture and forms of staging also moulded the character of scenography. In…

Aglaophon

(141 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
(Ἀγλαοφῶν; Aglaophôn) Two Greek painters of the same name. [German version] [1] the Elder From Thasos, father and teacher of  Polygnotus [1] from Thasos, father and teacher of  Polygnotus [1], probably active since the end of the 6th cent. BC. According to Quint. Inst. 12,10,3, he was appreciated for the ‘archaism’ and the plain colouring of his paintings. There is not enough evidence of their style, but it was probably rather plain according to the opinion of classicistic rhetoricians. Hoesch, Nicola (Munich) [German version] [2] the Younger Possibly grandson of [1] possibly grandson…

Pausias

(323 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Παυσίας; Pausías). Greek painter from Sicyon, belonging to the local school, student of Pamphilus [2], worked between 380 and 330 BC. Representative of light, decorative genre painting that was popular at the time and moved away from the historical-mythical themes of the classical period. With the change in subjects came a preference for predominantly small scenes in splendid Encaustic (painting). Sources (Plin. HN. 35,123ff.) emphasize graceful still lifes of flowers, whose effec…

Nicophanes

(126 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Νικοφάνης; Nikophánēs). Painter of the second half of the 4th cent. BC, student of Pausias and therefore belonging to the Sicyonian school of painters (Plin. HN 35,111; 137). He was counted among the decorative genre painters, whose importance increased during this period; assessments of the effect of his art varied and apparently it was especially appreciated by connoisseurs. His manner was pleasing and fine despite a harsh effect of his colours due to the use of much ochre. We k…

Still lives

(965 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] Representations, as realistic as possible, of selected living and non-living objects in an independent composition and a fairly small-scale pictorial arrangement. The motifs of ancient SL were taken from all areas of ancient flora and fauna but also from everyday domestic life. The depicted objects, arranged in a more or less intentional composition, included useful and decorative plants, such as vegetables, field crops, fruit and flowers, smaller mammals and birds, molluscs, crus…

Book illustration

(776 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] These are hand-painted illustrations in manuscripts of cultic, lexical, geographic (and cartographic), or literary content, which explain the text through images, or supplement or ornament it. Painting techniques range from roughly-sketched pen or brush drawings using drawing ink and/or water-colour up to lavishly coloured pictures in tempera. The term ‘miniature’ for book illustrations derives from the cinnabar (Lat. minium) used in the Middle Ages to emphasize margins and initials. Grounds were raffia,  papyrus, and  parchment. From th…

Ctesidemus

(56 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] Second-rate Greek painter (according to Plin. HN 35,140), who worked around and after 350 BC and was the teacher of  Antiphilus [4]. Extant works are a battle painting, the sack of Oechalia, and a portrait of Laodamia; nothing is known of their style. Hoesch, Nicola (Munich) Bibliography G. Lippold, s.v. Ktesidennos, RE 11, 2077.

Panaenus

(271 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Πάναινος/ Pánainos). Painter and sculptor from Athens, brother or more likely nephew (Str. 8,3,30) of the sculptor Phidias, with whom he worked, possibly in the same workshop. His active period was the second third of the 5th cent. BC. Paus. 5,11,4-6 reports that he painted the fence in the temple of Zeus in Olympia with a programmatic cycle of myths. As can be inferred from remains and dowel holes, this fence was made of individual stone slabs, which were set up between the front…

Fresco

(391 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] From Italian fresco, affresco intonaco, ‘on the fresh plaster’. Wall and ceiling paintings, in which the  pigments are applied to a damp base either in pure form or with the aid of a special binder such as diluted glue, casein, or marble powder. The composition of the covering varies; usually, it is a whitewash mortar mixed with different additives which are applied one after the other in several layers. Basically, the fresco technique lies in the fact that during the drying process o…

Alexander Mosaic

(1,219 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] Monumental floor mosaic (5.82 × 3.13 m) representing a battle between the Macedonians and Persians, who were led by Alexander the Great and Darius respectively. Discovered in October 1831 in the ‘Casa del Fauno’ in Pompeii (Regio VI,12; now Naples, MN). The work in opus vermiculatum ( Mosaic), preserved in part only, consists of more than 1.5 million small stones coloured with mineral dye. Large, missing sections filled with stucco, mainly on the left half, and areas patched-up with coarser stones are repairs carried out in …

Agatharchus

(254 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] Greek painter from Samos, worked in Athens in the 2nd half of the 5th cent. BC. Ancient sources link A. with chronologically divergent historical events. Vitr. De arch. 7 praef. 11 describes A. in connection with  stage painting as the ‘inventor’ of  perspective in painting and mentions a theoretical work about this. The negative judgement of his contemporary  Zeuxis regarding his hasty painting methods (Plut. Pericles 13), the information that  Alcibiades [2] locked A. in his hou…

Compendiariae

(234 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (from Lat. pictura compendiaria, an advantageously short way of painting; ‘abbreviated’ painting). Ancient technical term, often translated as ‘quick painting’. The manner, the application and the influence of this Greek painting technique of the late 4th cent. BC is still debated due to the lack of detailed explanations in the sources (esp. in Plin. HN 35, 110; Petron. Sat. 2). The debate includes a number of methods: impressionist ‘paint spot painting’; the use of a kind of sketchi…

Marble, paintings on

(499 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] In Greek and Roman painting, stone, and especially marble, was a popular surface for paintings, as it lent itself to representations with varied functions. Images for the funerary cult, which are mostly badly preserved, existed on marble tombstones in many regions of the Mediterranean area from archaic times into the Hellenistic period. Like the relief stelae which were also painted with colours ( Polychromy), they were erected in necropoleis. Reliefs and painting were also combin…
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