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C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl first quarter of the 5th century bc).

Greek sculptor. The Greek city states that defeated the Persians at Plataia in 479 bc set aside a tithe for Zeus at Olympia from which was made a bronze statue of the god, 10 cubits tall. When Pausanias visited Olympia he saw the statue standing near the Bouleuterion and assigned it to Anaxagoras (...

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

(fl c. 250–200 bc).

Greek sculptors. They were employed by the Attalid kings of Pergamon to create monuments to Pergamene victories over the Gauls. Isigonos is mentioned only once (Pliny: Natural History, XXXIV.xix.84) and may be identical with Epigonos, whom Pliny credits with a Trumpeter and a Weeping Child ‘pitifully caressing its murdered mother’ (XXXIV.xix.88), and who also signed eight bases for bronze statues on the Pergamene acropolis, two celebrating victories over the Gauls. No originals by Epigonos survive, but the famous Dying Gaul (Rome, Mus. Capitolino; see Greece, ancient §IV 2., (iv), (b)) may reproduce his Trumpeter and be copied from one of the signed monuments of c. 223 bc. The warrior wears a Celtic torc and is bleeding from a chest wound, his broken trumpet and sword by his side. The realism of the statue emphasizes its pathos and, by stressing the dignity of the conquered, the statue exalts the achievement of the conquerors. Epigonos signed his work as a native Pergamene, while Stratonikos (who also made ‘philosophers’) was from Kyzikos; Antigonos came from Karystos in Euboea if, as some scholars think, he is the same person as the antiquarian of that name. This Antigonos combined the formal analysis of art pioneered by ...

Article

Nianhua  

James Flath

[Chin.: “New Year pictures”]

Genre of popular woodblock prints known for their bold colors and folkloric content. Prior to the mid-20th century these prints were widely used throughout China to decorate the home, as calendars, and to conduct domestic rituals in advance of the lunar New Year festival.

The most common production method for nianhua uses three to five relief printing blocks. In this technique an outline block is used to print an image in monochrome, and additional blocks are then used to apply individual colors. Finally the prints may be touched up by hand. In some examples all colors are applied using brushes. The subject matter of nianhua is diverse. Although the variety of gods appearing in nianhua is virtually unlimited, domestic deities such as the Stove God, Door God, and the God of Wealth are common. The image of the Stove God in particular was believed to embody the deity and protect the household. The act of burning the print at the end of the year was traditionally intended to send the deity to Heaven, and its subsequent replacement was to welcome him back to the home. Themes of wealth, good fortune, and scholarly success leading to official promotion are popular, as are images relating to fertility and the birth of male children. Narratives scenes drawn from historical classics and the theater are among the most widely produced items in the genre. More rarely, ...

Article

I. Leventi

(fl late 3rd–2nd century bc).

Athenian sculptor. He worked in the service of the Pergamene kings and made the colossal marble cult statue of Asklepios at Pergamon (c. 180 or c. 170 bc), carried off by King Prusias II of Bithynia in 156 or 155 bc (Polybius: Histories XXXII.xxv; Diodorus Siculus: World History XXXI. xxxv). The bearded head of the god on Pergamene coins may be derived from the statue, while a Roman Imperial copy of it has been seen in the colossal marble head in Syracuse (Mus. Archeol. Reg., inv. 693), and the type of his body in the seated marble Asklepios in Cherchel (Mus. Archéol., inv. no. S. 136). The same Phyromachos, presumably, was described as a bronzeworker by Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.li), who set his floruit in the 121st Olympiad (296–292 bc). This date, however, might have been an attempt by Pliny to set Phyromachos just before the dead period (...

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Diane Harris

( fl mid-1st century ad ).

Greek bronze sculptor, active in Rome and Gaul . His name (‘foreign gift’) suggests that he may have been born in Massalia (Marseille), Asia Minor, Egypt or Syria, and according to Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.xviii.46) he was the foremost sculptor of colossal statues of the 1st century ad. From ad 54 to 64 Zenodoros worked in Arvernis, Gaul, making a bronze statue of Mercury, for which he was paid 40 million sesterces. Nero commissioned him to make a colossal imperial portrait c. 36 m high, which was placed in his palace, the Domus Aurea in Rome (Pliny: XXXIV.xviii.45–6; Suetonius: Nero xxxi). During the reign of Vespasian ( ad 69–79) it was converted into a statue of the Sun god, Sol (Aelius Spartianicus: Hadrian XIX.xii; Herodian: I.xv.9; Pliny: XXXIV.xviii.45). A replica of the Mercury was known in Corinth in antiquity (Pausanias: Guide to Greece II.iii.4) and several extant copies may reflect the original appearance of the statue. The colossal statue of ...