The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Painting

PAINTING.

443

the level ground of the city. Out of the two Servius Tullius made the four city tribfs. The country tribes doubtless arose similarly out of pagi, the names of which were in some cases transferred to them. Like the old division into pagani and mon-tani, the old districts under the authority of indgistri long continued to exist for sacred purposes. They had their special guardian deities, temples, and rites, which survived even the introduction of Christianity. To the district festivals belonged especially the Pagdnalia (q.v.), the Ambarvalla (j.f.), at which the festal procession carefully tra­versed the old boundaries of the district; and, lastly, the Termlna.Ha (see terminus).

Painting. Among the Greeks painting developed into an independent art much later than sculpture, though it was used very early for decorative purposes. This is proved by the evidence of painted vases belonging to the ages of the most primi­tive civilization, and by the mural paintings discovered by Schliernann at Tiryns. The scanty notices in ancient authors respect­ing the first discoveries in this art connect it with historical persons, and not with mythical names, as in the case of sculpture. Thus it is said [by Pliny, N. If. xxxv 16] that [either PMlocles, the Egyptian, or] Cleanthes of Corinth was the first to draw outline sketches ; that Telephones of Sicyon developed them further ; that Ecphantus of Corinth introduced painting in single tints (monochrome); and that Eumarus of Athens (in the second half of the 6th century) distinguished man and woman by giving the one a darker, the other a lighter colour. Clmon of Cleouae is mentioned as the ori­ginator of artistic drawing in profile [cdtd-grapha, hoc est obllquds Imagines, Pliny xxxv 56, cp. 90], It is further said of him that he gave variety to the face by making it look backwards or upwards or down­wards, and freedom to the limbs by duly rendering the joints; also that ho was the first to represent the veins of the human body, and to make the folds of the drapery fall more naturally [ib. 56].

Painting did not, however, make any decided advance until the middle of the oth century b.c. This advance was chiefly due to P6LYGNOTUS of Thasos, who painted at Athens. Among other claims to distinc­tion, it is attributed to him that he gave greater variety of expression to the face, which hitherto had been rigidly severe. His works, most of them large compositions rich in figures, give evidence of a lofty and

[ poetic conception; they appear to have been, in great part, mural paintings for decorating the interior of public build­ings [Pausanlas, x 25-31; i 15, 22 § 6]. The colours were first applied in uniform tints so as to fill in the outlines, and fresh lines and touches were then added to indi­cate where the limbs and muscles began, and the folds of the garments. The drawing and the combination of colours were the chief considerations; light and shade were wanting, and no attention was paid to per­spective. It is doubtful whether at this early time, besides mural paintings (exe­cuted al fresco on carefully smoothed stucco-priming with plain water-colours), there were any pictures on panels, such as afterwards became common ; but we may fairly assume it. These were painted on wooden panels in tempera; i.e. with colours mixed with various kinds of distemper, such as gum or size, to make them more adhesive.

In the same century the encaustic method of painting was discovered, though not elaborated till the following century. [The process, as described in Eoman times by Vitruvius (vii 9), was as follows: "The medium used was melted white wax (cera punicd), mixed with oil to make it more fluid. The pot containing the wax was kept over a brazier, while the painter was at work, in order to keep the melted wax from solidifying. The stucco itself was prepared by a coating of hot wax applied with a brush, and it was polished by being rubbed with a wax candle, and finally with a clean linen cloth. After the picture was painted, the wax colours were fixed, partly melted into the stucco, and blended with the wax of the ground by the help of a charcoal brazier, which was held close to the surface of the painting, and gradually moved over its whole extent " (Middleton's Ancient Rome in 1888, p. 417).] The en­caustic method had several advantages over painting in tempera: it lasted longer and was more proof against damp, while the colouring was much brighter; on the other hand, it was much more laborious and slow, which explains the fact that the majority of encaustic paintings were of small size.

While the pictures of Polygnotus cer­tainly did not deceive by too much truth to nature, it was [his younger contemporary] the Samian agatharchus who practised scene-painting (Gr. skenographia) at Athens, and thus gave an impulse to the attempt at illusory effect and the use of perspec-

Pages
About | First | Index

442

443

444
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.