painting

Report
Wall Painting and Mosaics
Evidence and Remains
Evidence for Wall Painting in the 5th/4th
Centuries BCE
• Wooden plaques from Pitsa, a site outside Corinth. 530
BCE
• Tomb of the Diver, Poseidonia. 480 BCE
• Pinakotheke (painting gallery) in the Propylaia, Athens.
• Pliny the elder. Natural History, Book 35.
• Roman copies and mosaics.
• Change in vase painting to a more mural-like feel.
• Increase in and success with white-ground lekythoi.
• Late fourth century and Hellenistic tomb paintings in
Macedonia.
Pitsa plaques
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Series of three tablets bearing scenes of a processional.
Votive in nature.
540 BCE.
Unique artifact.
Example of miniaturist art.
Tomb of the Diver
• Poseidonia was a
Greek colony.
• 0.31 meters in
height.
• Symposium
scene.
• Diver, plunging
from one life to
the next.
• Local influence
(Etruscan) on
Greek artisan.
Pinakotheke in Propylaia
• Paintings on wood displayed.
• Pausanias I.22.6:
– Diomedes with the
Palladium.
– Odysseus and the bow of
Philoctetes.
– Orestes killing Aegisthos.
– Achilles with the Scyrian
maidens.
– Odysseus and Nausicaa.
– Portrait of Alcibiades.
– Perseus and Medusa.
Pliny’s Natural History Book 35
• In a discussion on minerals, Pliny digresses
to discuss famous ancient painters like
Zeuxis, Sosos, Parrhasios. Timanthes,
Apelles.
• Mentions some famous subjects: Hercules
strangling snakes, Perseus rescuing
Andromeda.
• Match up descriptions of paintings with
Roman copies.
Pliny’s Zeuxis
• It was said afterwards that Zeuxis painted a
picture of a boy carrying grapes, and when
the birds flew up to them, he approached the
work and, in irritation with it, said, “I have
painted the grapes better than the boy, for if
I had rendered him perfectly, the birds
would have been afraid.” 35.65.
Roman copies
• Painting corpus at
Pompeii and
Herculaneum.
• Third style painting
galleries.
• Multiple copies assume a Greek
original.
Copy of
Perseus and
Andromeda
Alexander
Mosaic
• Alexander
against the
Persian
Darius at the
Battle of
Issus.
• Derived from
a monumental
wall painting
by Philoxenos
of Eretria,
described by
Pliny, done in
310 BCE.
Sympathetic Darius
• Stretches out a
hand towards a
fallen Persian.
• Accurate 4th
century Persian
attire.
• Darius is balanced
by blighted tree in
background.
Ambitious Alexander
• Medusa on breastplate.
• Wild eyes of horses
and Alexander form a
composition with the
Medusa.
• Portrait of irresistible
force.
The Details
• Fallen, transfixed
Persian with a
reflection of his
dying expression in
his shield.
• Indication of the
great mural
painting lost.
Vase Painting
Changes
• Vase surface treated
more as a mural.
• Representations
exceed the frame of
the natural vase shape.
• Large scale figures
and themes.
• Multiple groundlines.
Agrigento
Amazons
White ground
lekythoi
• White ground tried
at the end of the
6thc but red-figure
more popular.
• White background
used on Pitsa
plaques and Tomb
of the Diver.
• Parrhasios, wall
painter who used
line to indicate
volume, not
shading - like
vases.
• Polychrome style
like the
descriptions of
wall paintings.
Pella Mosaics
• Pebble mosaics at
the palace of the
Macedonian kings
in Pella.
• 4th c. BCE
• Lead strips used
for outline.
• Dionysos on a
panther.
• Shading.
Stag Hunt
• Signed by the artist
Gnosis.
• Subtle use of shading.
• Elaborate floral
border.
• Pose borrowed from
high classical art - the
tyrranicides.
• More color.
Tyrannicides
• Harmodios and
Aristogeiton, tyrant
slayers.
• Copy of the original
group of 475 BCE.
• Commemorative
monument - base
excavated in the
Agora.
• Views of interest from
many angles, not just a
frontal perspective.
• From the front, viewer
in the position of
victim.
• Poses copied in many
media.
Vergina Tombs
• Great tumulus (mound) at Vergina.
• Diameter 110 m, Height 12 m.
• 2 temple façade tombs (“prince’s tomb” and
“Philip’s tomb”) and one heroon.
• Temple façade tombs are characteristic of
royal Macedonian burials.
• Painted friezes, painted walls.
• 340 - 320 BCE
Hunt
• Doric façade.
• Frieze course
painted with hunt
scene.
• 9.50 meters long.
• Sacred grove.
Statues on pillars.
• Three mounted
men and Seven
youths on foot.
• Boar, deer, bear.
Alexander?
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Central horseman.
Hunts a lion.
Wears a wreath.
Only youth with definite
features.
• Like Alexander on
sarcophagus and mosaic.
Rape of Persephone
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Small heroon: 3.05 X 2.09 meters.
Three walls painted: rape, mourning Demeter, 3 fates.
Frieze of griffins.
Robbed in antiquity.
Hades and Persephone
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Polychromy and shading for movement and fluidity.
Composition creates gaze.
Original composition - sketch lines on the wall.
Strength in drawing and composition matched by color design.
Delivers its message calmly and simply.
Persephone = Kore
• Simple lines.
• Hatching for
shading to create
volume.
• Dexterous
application of
color in the hair
to create
movement.

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