The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

PTCTURA.

Aniiclnta d^Ercolano, vol. i. plates J, 2, 3, 4.) They are paintings of a late date and are of con­siderable merit in every respect, but the colours have been nearly destroyed by the heat, and the pictures are in some places defaced ; they are painted upon marble. They were probably all executed by the same artist, Alexander of Athens. AAEHANAPO5 AOHNAIO^ EFPASEN, is an in­scription upon one of them (pi. 1), which represents five females, with their names attached*, two of whom are playing at the ancient game of the tali (acrrpayaXicr^s). These tablets are in the col­lection of ancient paintings of the Museo-Borbonico at Naples, Nos.408, 409, 410, 411.

The next and last essential step towards the full development or establishment of the art of painting (faypatyia) was the proper application of local colours in accordance with nature. This is, however, quite a distinct process from the simple application of a variety of colours before light and shade were properly understood, although each ob­ject may have had its own absolute colour. The local colour of an object is the colour or appearance it assumes in a particular light or position, which colour depends upon, and changes with, the light and the surrounding objects ; this was not thoroughly understood until a very late period, but there will be occasion to speak of this hereafter. Probably Eumarus of Athens, and certainly Cimon * of Cleonae, belonged to the class of ancient tetra-chromists or polychromists, for painting in a variety of colours, without a due or at least a partial ob­servance of the laws of light and shade, is simply polychromy ; and a picture of this latter descrip­tion is a much more simple effort than the rudest forms of the monochrom in chiaroscuro. There are a few examples of this kind of polychrom upon the most ancient vases. In the works of Eumarus of Athens, however, there must have been some at­tention to light and shade^ and in those of Cimon of Cleonae still more.

IV. Painting in Asia Minor and in Magna Graecia. It is singular that the- poems of Homer do not contain any mention of painting as an

* These two names are generally connected with each other, but Eumarus must have preceded Cimon some time. He was the first, according to Pliny (H. N. xxxv. 34), who distinguished the male from the female in painting : " qui primus in pictura marem feminamque discreverit,. . . figuras omnes imitari ausum.'" The most obvious dis­tinction which here suggests itself can scarcely be alluded to by Pliny, or Eumarus must belong to a very early period, for we find that distinction very decidedly given on even the most ancient vases, whenever the figure is naked. That Eumarus dared or ventured to imitate all figures, may imply that he made every distinction between the male and the female, giving also to each sex a character­istic style of design, and even in the compositions, draperies, attitudes, and complexions of his figures, clearly illustrating the dispositions and attributes of each, exhibiting a robust and vigorous form in the males, and making the females slighter and more delicate. These qualities are all perfectly compatible with the imperfect state of the art of even so early a period, and they may also be very evident, notwithstanding ill-arranged composition, defective design, crude colour, and a hard and tasteless execution.

SCI

PICTURA.

imitative art, nor is there mention of any artist, similar to Hephaestus, who might represent the class of painters. This is the more remarkable, since Homer speaks of rich and elaborate em­broidery as a thing not uncommon ; it is sufficient to mention the splendid Dipl'ax of Helen (II. iii. 126), in which were worked many battles of the Greeks and Trojans fought on her account. This embroidery is actual painting in principle, and is a species of painting in practice, and it was consi­dered such by the Romans, who. termed it " pictura textilis " (Cic. Verr. ii. 4. 1), " textili stragulo, magnificis operibus picto " (I,<J. Tusc. v. 21) ; that is, painted with the needle, embroidered, acu picto. (Ovid. Met. vi. 23 ; Virg, Aen. ix. 582.) The various allusions also to other arts, similar in nature to painting, are sufficient to prove that paint­ing must have existed in som.e degree in Homer's time, although the only kind of painting he notices is the " red-cheeked " and " purple- cheeked ships" (vyes /ni\TOTrdpr)Ot, 11. ii. 637 ; veas <poiviKO'/rapy-ovs, Od. xi. 123),. and an ivory ornament for the faces of horses, which a Maeonian or Carian wo­man colours with purple. (11. iv. 141.) The de­scription of the shield of Achilles, worked by Hephaestus in various -coloured metals, satisfac­torily establishes the fact that the plastic art must have attained a considerable degree of development in the time of Homer, and therefore determines also the existence of the art of design. (Ai*s delineandi;

Painting seems to have made considerable pro­gress in Asia Minor, while it was still in its infancy in Greece, for Candaules, king ofLydia(B.c. 716), is said- to have purchased at a high price a paint­ing of Bularchus, which represented a battle of the Magnetes. ( Plin. H. N. xxxv. 34.) It would appear from the expression of Pliny (H. N. vii. 39) that Candaules paid the painter as much gold coin as would cover the picture. It must be confessed that the tradition is very doubtful (see Diet, of Biog. art. Bularchus) ; but this painting of Bularchus is not an isolated fact in evidence of the early cultivation of. painting in Asia ; there is a remark­able passage in Ezekiel, who prophesied about 600 b. a, relating to pictures of the Assyrians (xxiii. 14, 15) : " Mjfcn pourtrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans pourtrayed ivith ver­milion, girded with girdles upon their loins, ex­ceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylo­nians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity."

The old Ionic or Asiatic painting, the "genus picturae Asiatieum," as Pliny (//. ./V. xxxv. 10. s. 36) terms it, most probably flourished at the same time with the Ionian architecture, and con­tinued as an independent school until the sixth century b. c., when the lonians lost their liberty, and with their liberty their art. Herodotus (i. 164) mentions that when Harpagus besieged the town of Phocaea (b. c. 544), the inhabitants col­lected all their valuables, their statues and votive offerings from the temples, leaving only their paintings, and such works in metal or of stone as could not easily be removed, and fled with them to the island of Chios ; from which we may con­clude that paintings were not only valued by tho Phocaeans, but also common among them. He­rodotus (iv. 88) also informs us that Mandrocles of Samos, who constructed for Dareius Hystaspis the bridge of boats across the Bosporus (b. c.

3 m 3

Pages
About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index

900

901

902
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.