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POLYGNOTUS.

ing to this view, Polygnotus came to Athens in 01. 79. 2, b. c. 463, at which time he must have been already an artist of some reputation, since Cimon thought him worthy of his patronage. He may, therefore, have been between twenty-five and thirty-five years old, or even older ; and this agrees perfectly with the slight indications we have of the length of time during which he flourished at Athens. For we learn from Pausanias (i. 22. § 6) that there was a series of paintings by Polygnotus in a chamber attached to the Propylaea of the Acro­polis ; and although it is possible, as these were probably panel pictures, that they might have been painted before the erection of the building in which they were placed, yet, from the description of Pau­sanias, and from all that we know of the usual practice in the decoration of public buildings at this period, it is far more probable that they were painted expressly for the building. Now the Pro­pylaea were commenced in b. c. 437n and completed in b. c. 432, so that the age of Polygnotus is brought down almost to the beginning of the Pelo-ponnesian war. Again, in the Gorgias of Plato, 44 Aristophon, the son of Aglaophon, and his brother," are referred to in a way which implies that they were two of the most distinguished painters then living (Gorg. p. 448, b., comp. Schol.*). Now the probable date of the Gorgias is about 01. 88. 2, b. c. 427—426, which is within six years of the date assigned by Pliny as that before which Polygnotus flourished. Hence we may conclude that the period during which Polygnotus lived at Athens, was from b. c. 463 to about 426 ; and assuming his age, at his death, to have been about 65, the date of his birth would just about coincide with that of the battle of Marathon ; or he may have been somewhat older, as we can hardly suppose him to have been much less than thirty at the time of his migration to Athens. At all events, his birth may be safely placed very near the beginning of the fifth century b. c. The period of his greatest artistic activity at Athens seems to have been that which elapsed from his removal to Athens (b.c. 463) to the death of Cimon (b.c. 449), who employed him in the pictorial decoration of the public buildings with which he began to adorn the city, such as the temple of Theseus, the Anaceium, and the Poecile. The reason why we have no mention of him in connection with the still more magnificent works which were erected in the subsequent period, under the administration of Pericles and the superintendence of Pheidias, is probably because he had left Athens during this period, with the other artists who had undertaken the decoration of the buildings connected with the great temple at Delphi ; for there we know that some of his greatest works were executed. It ap­pears, however, from the passage of Pausanias already cited, that he returned to Athens about b. c. 435, to execute his paintings in the Propylaea. He also worked at Plataeae and at Thespiae (see below).

The above considerations respecting the date of Polygnotus lead to the very interesting result, that

* It is, of course, almost useless to speculate on the reason why the name of Polygnotus is not specified. It may have been on account of his celebrity ; or it may have been that he was grow­ing old, and that his brother Aristophon was, just at the time, more before the public eye.

4G3

POLYGNOTUS.

he was exactly contemporaneous with Pheidias, having been born about the same time, having survived him only a few years, and having com­menced his artistic career about the same period: for, not to insist on the probability that Pheidias had some share in the works at the temple of Theseus, we know that both artists worked at about the same time for the temple of Athena Areia at Plataeae, where Polygnotus (in con­junction with Onatas) painted the walls of the portico, and Pheidias made the acrolith statue of the goddess: the date of these works may be assumed to have been about b c. 460, or a little later. Again, about the end of their career, we find, at the Propylaea, the paintings of Polygnotus decorating the latest edifices which were erected under the superintendence of Pheidias. Thus, it appears that the causes which produced that sud­den advance in the formative art of statuary, of which Pheidias was the leader, produced also a similar advance in the representative art of paint­ing, as practised by Polygnotus. The periods of the essential development of each art were identical, under the effect of the same influences. What those influences were, has been very fully ex­plained under pheidias. But, it may be said, from all that we know of the style of Polygnotus, the advance of the one art does not seem to have corresponded precisely to that of the other, for Pheidias brought his art to perfection ; but no one supposes that the works of Polygnotus exhibited the art of painting in any thing like perfection. This has, in fact, been adduced by eminent ar­chaeologists, such as Bottiger, as a reason for placing Polygnotus about ten years earlier. The reply is, that the objection rests on a confusion between two very different things, the art of painting, as developed by all the accessory re­finements and illusions of perspective and fore­shortening, elaborate and dramatic composition, varied effects of light and shade, and great diversi­ties of tone and colouring, and, on the other hand, the mere representation on a flat surface, with the addition of colours, of figures similar to those which the statuary produces in their actual form in a solid substance : in one word, it is a confusion between the art of Apelles and the art of Poly­gnotus, which differed even more from one another than the latter did from such sculptures as the bas-reliefs of Phigaleia or the Parthenon. The painting of Polygnotus was essentially statuesque ; and this sort of painting it is probable that he brought nearly, if not quite, to perfection, by the ideal expression, the accurate drawing, and the improved colouring which characterised his works, though he made no attempt to avail himself of the higher accessories of the art, the discovery of which was reserved for a later period. The differ­ence is clearly indicated by Cicero, when he says that Polygnotus, and Timanthes, and other artists who used but few colours, were admired for their forms and outlines, but that in Echion, Nicoma-chus, Protogenes, and Apelles, every thing had reached perfection. (Brut. 18.)

So fully did the ancients recognise the position of Polygnotus, as the head of this perfected style of statuesque painting, that Theophrastus ascribed to him the invention of the whole art. (Plin. H. N. vii. 56. s. 57.) In how far this statement is in­correct, and what steps had been taken in the art before the time of Polygnotus, may be seen in the

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