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 • • • • • 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? • • • • Central horseman. Hunts a lion. Wears a wreath. Only youth with definite features. • Like Alexander on sarcophagus and mosaic. Rape of Persephone • • • • 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 • • • • • 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.