The Ancient Library

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excessively thin coloured line on the panel, by which Protogenes, on his return, at once guessed who had been his visitor, and in his turn drew a still thinner line of a different colour upon or within the former (according to the reading of the recent editions of Pliny, in ilia ipsa}. When Apelles re­turned and saw the lines, ashamed to be defeated, says Pliny, "tertio colore lineas secuit, nullum re-linquens amplius subtilitati locum." (Ib. §11.) The most natural explanation of this difficult passage seems to be, that down the middle of the first line of Apelles, Protogenes drew another so as to divide it into two parallel halves, and that Apelles again divided the line of Protogenes in the same manner. Pliny speaks of the three lines as visum effugientes* The panel was preserved, and carried to Rome, where it remained, exciting more wonder than all the other works of art in the palace of the Caesars, till it was destroyed by fire with that building.

Of the means which Apelles took to ensure ac­curacy, the following example is given. He used to expose his finished pictures to view in a public place, while he hid himself behind the picture to hear the criticisms of the passers-by. A cobbler detected a fault in the shoes of a figure: the next day he found that the fault was corrected, and •was proceeding to criticise tlie leg, when Apelles rushed from behind the picture, and commanded the cobbler to keep to the shoes. (Plin. Ib. § 12 : hence the proverb, Ne supra crepidam sutor: see also Val. Max. viii. 12, ext. § 3; Lucian tells the tale of Phidias, pro Imag. 14, vol. ii. p. 492.) Marvellous tales are told of the extreme accuracy of his likenesses of men and horses. (Plin. xxxv. 36. §§ 14, 17j Lucian, de Column. 1. c.; Aelian9 F~. //. ii. 3.) With all his diligence, however, Apelles knew when to cease correcting. He said that he excelled Protogenes in this one point, that the latter did not know when to leave a picture alone, and he laid down the maxim, Nocere saepe inmiarn diligentiam. (Plin. I.e. § 10; Cic. Oral. 22 ; QuintiL x. 4.)

Apelles is stated to have made great improve­ments in the mechanical part of his art. The as­sertion of Pliny, that he used only four colours, is incorrect. (Diet, of Ant, s.v. Colores.) He painted with the pencil, but we are not told whether he used the cestrum. His principal discovery was that of covering the picture with a very thin black var­nish (atramentum), which, besides preserving the picture, made the tints clearer and subdued the more brilliant colours. (Plin.I.e. § 18.) The process was, in all probability, the same as that now called glazing or toning, the object of which is to attain the excellence of colouring "which does not pro­ceed from fine colours, but true colours; from breaking down these fine colours, which would ap­pear too raw, to a deep-toned brightness." (Sir. J. Reynolds, Notes on Du Fresnoy, note 37.) From the fact mentioned by Pliny, that this varnishing could be discovered only on close inspection, Sir J. Reynolds thought that it was like that of Correggio. That he painted on moveable panels is evident from the frequent mention of tabulae with reference to his pictures. Pliny expressly says? that he did not paint on walls, (xxxv. 37.)

* Does this refer only to the excessive thinness of the lines, or may it mean that the three lines were actually tapered away towards a common vanishing point ?


A list of the works of Apelles is given by Pliny, (xxxv. 36.) They are for the most part single figures, or groups of a very few figures. Of his portraits the most celebrated was that of Alexander wielding a thunderbolt, which was known as c Kepavvotyopos., and which gave occasion to the say­ing, that of two Alexanders, the one, the son o1 Philip, was invincible, the other, he of Apelles, in­imitable. (Plut. Fort. Aleoc. 2, 3.) In this picture, the thunderbolt and the hand which held it ap­peared to stand out of the panel; and, to aid this effect, the artist did not scruple to represent Alex­ander's complexion as dark, though it was really light. (Plut. Alex. 4.) The price of this picture was twenty talents. Another of his portraits, tha of Antigonus, has been celebrated for its conceal ment of the loss of the king's eye, by representing his face in profile. He also painted a portrait o himself. Among his allegorical pictures was out representing Castor and Pollux, with Victory am Alexander the Great, how grouped we are no told; and another in which the figure of War with his hands tied behind his back, followed th> triumphal car of Alexander. " He also painted,' says Pliny, "things which cannot be painted thunders and lightnings, which they call Bronte Astrape, and Ceramobolia." These were clearl; allegorical figures. Several of his subjects wer taken from the heroic mythology. But of all hi pictures the most admired was the "Venus Ant; dyomene," (??' dmdvou&T] 'Ac^oSmy), or Venn rising out of the sea. The goddess was wringin her hair, and the falling drops of water formed transparent silver veil around her form. This pi( ture, which is said to have cost 100 talents, we painted for the temple of Aesculapius at Cos, an afterwards placed by Augustus in the temple whic he dedicated to Julius Caesar. The lower pai being injured, 110 one could be found to repair i As it continued to decay, Nero had a copy of made by Dorotheus. (Plin. I.e.; Strab. xiv. p. 657 Apelles commenced another picture of Venus ft the Coans, which he intended should surpass tl: Venus Anadyomene. At his death, he had finis] ed only the head, the upper part of the brcas and the outline of the figure ; but Pliny says, th; it was more admired than his former finished pi ture. No one could be found to complete tl work. (Plin. xxxv. I. <?., and 40. § 41; Cic. ad Fat. i. 9. § 4, de Off. iii. 2.)

By the general consent of ancient author Apelles stands first among Greek painters. 1 the undiscriminating admiration of Pliny, wl seems to have regarded a portrait of a horse, : true that other horses neighed at it, as an achiev ment of art as admirable as the Venus Anadyomei itself, we may add the unmeasured praise whi< Cicero, Varro, Columella, Ovid, and other write give to the works of Apelles, and especially to tl Venus Anadyomene. (Cic. Brut. 18, de Orat. iii. Varro, L. L. ix. 12, ed. M'uller; Colum. R. . Praef. § 31, Schn.; Ovid. Art. Am. iii. 401; Po> iv. 1. 29; Propert. iii. 7. 11 ; Auson. Ep. 10' Antliol. Planud. iv. 178-182.) Statius (Sitv. i. 100) and Martial (xi. 9) call painting by the nar of "Ars Apellea." Sir Joshua Reynolds says the Greek painters, and evidently with an espec reference to Apelles, "if we had the good fortu to possess what the ancients themselves esteem their masterpieces, I have no doubt but we shoi find their figures as correctly drawn as the L;

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