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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…

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…

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…

Painting

(3,601 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
(ζωγραφία/ zōgraphía, Latin pictura or ars pingendi). [German version] I. Greek painting The earliest evidence of ancient painting can be found on the high-quality monumental wall frescoes (Wall paintings, Fresco) of the Cretan-Mycenaean civilisation in palaces (Palace) and houses in Crete and Thera [1]. The most recent examples are from the Byzantine period [2]. Hoesch, Nicola (Munich) [German version] A. Sources and history of scholarship Original works are scarcely and poorly preserved, if at all. This is particularly detrimental for the evaluation of and …

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.

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…

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…

Micon

(368 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Μίκων/ Míkōn). Greek painter and sculptor (Plin. HN 34,88) from Athens, active between 475 and 440 BC. He and Polygnotus belonged to the first important generation of the Attic painting school in the early classical period, which broke ground for the development of the great Greek painting. None of the wall paintings in Athens known from numerous written sources of various periods survives, but frequent mention does allow us to infer his great significance. His main patron was Cim…

Asclepiodorus

(156 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] Greek painter from Athens, mid 4th cent. BC, celebrated by Plut. as an important representative of the Attic school of painters (Mor. 345f-346a). According to Plin. HN 35,80, his colleagues admired the particular strength and balance of composition in his paintings, achieved by proportionate spatial arrangement of motifs in two dimensions, in order to create the impression of spatial perspective. A. wrote a theoretical text on a compositional method perhaps relying on grids. The h…

Monochromata

(295 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (‘monochrome paintings’, from the Greek μονόχρως/ monóchrōs or μονοχρώματος/ monochrṓmatos, ‘monochrome’). Pliny (HN 35,15; 35,56) characterises with this expression the use of colour during an early stage in the development of Greek painting which was also still practiced in his day [3]. He mentions a number of artists in this regard -- one can be dated to the mid-7th cent., based on the evidence of contemporary vase painting, another, Cimon [4], to the end of the 6th cent. Scholarly opinion of the nature and appearance of monochromata used to assume that one sin…

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…

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…

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 …

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…

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…

Triumphal paintings

(513 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] A typically Roman genre, common from the middle of the 3rd cent. BC until the Imperial period, today entirely lost and recorded only in written sources. During the triumphal procession (Triumph) of a victorious general, panel paintings or canvas banners were carried past the crowds and were afterwards publicly exhibited (e.g. Plin. HN 35,22-28; Pol. 6,15,8; Jos. BI 7,3-7; other sources in [4]). Rudiments of the content, appearance and intended effect of such pictures can be recons…

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…

Pauson

(193 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Παύσων; Paúsōn). Greek painter from Athens (?), whose creative period towards the end of the 5th cent. BC can only be indirectly inferred. The atrocious judgment of the content of his paintings in the written sources of the 4th cent. BC - e.g. in Aristotle and Aristophanes - has a conservative ring and evaluates them primarily from a moral point of view. It seems to have been shaped by a similar verdict on his character (or vice versa?). We can only assume that new types of themes…

Skiagraphia

(527 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (σκιαγραφία/ skiagraphía). Ancient painting technique, first developed in the last quarter of the 5th cent. BC by Greek artists and used with increasing perfection in the course of the following century. A sophisticated selection of hues and tints and their precise placement allowed a three-dimensional modelling of the images and, as a result, their spatial effect on the image area. In the history of styles, this new use of colours (Pigments) was a breakthrough in the development o…

Protogenes

(423 words)

Author(s): Hoesch, Nicola (Munich)
[German version] (Πρωτογένης; Prōtogénēs). Hellenistic painter and sculptor of bronze statues of athletes and warriors (Plin. HN 34,91; 35,101-106) from Caunus, famous together with other leading masters of the Alexander period as consummate painters (Cic. Brut. 18,70). His creative period, about 330‒290 BC, can only be inferred by combining historical dates and persons from written sources that are often coloured by anecdote ( e.g. Plut. Demetrius 22). Reportedly he only turned to panel painting in advanced age and hence produced only a small oeuvre, havin…
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