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Article

Carola Hicks

Term used to describe the art of the Picts, who were the inhabitants of northern and eastern Scotland in the years between the Roman occupation of Britain (mid-1st century ad) and the 9th century. Their use of tattooing probably inspired the Roman name of Picti, or painted people. Pictish art is best known through sculpture, although there are also examples of silverwork. Several hundred carved stones provide evidence of a remarkable tradition whose style, technique, and range of ornament are without exact comparison in the rest of the British Isles.

The stones have been divided into three main groups that overlap chronologically. Class I consists of simple undressed stones decorated with a precise range of incised designs known as symbols. Class II is represented by more carefully shaped slabs; the decoration is in relief and is marked by a cross and other scenes on the face, with the symbols relegated to the back. On Class III monuments the symbols are no longer present, but there is a wider selection of ornament and narrative iconography. There is some difference in distribution: Class I is evenly spread through the eastern mainland, Class II has a greater concentration in the south of the Pictish kingdom, and Class III has some outliers in the west and north....

Article

Andrew F. Stewart

[Polycles]

(fl ?mid-2nd century bc).

Greek sculptor(s). Although Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.xix.52) listed Polykles among those sculptors who flourished in the 156th Olympiad (156–153 bc), the numerous testimonia show that at least two sculptors of that name were active during the 2nd century bc. Members of a successful dynasty that also attained considerable social prominence, they may be considered the main exponents of the Classical revival in 2nd-century bc Athens (see also Dionysios, Timarchides family and Timokles). Their family tree is controversial, and it is often unclear which sculptor made what. Polykles seems to have been responsible for a Hermaphrodite in bronze, often identified with one preserved in several replicas (the most famous in Paris, Louvre); a Boy Victor in Olympia; a statue at Elateia in Aitolia; and several works in Rome: a Hercules in the Temple of Ops; a marble Jupiter and Juno in their temples within the ...

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

( fl 4th–3rd century bc).

Greek gem-engraver associated with the glyptic portraits of Alexander the Great (reg 336–323 bc). According to Pliny (Natural History 7.125), Pyrgoteles was one of the three court artists authorized to depict Alexander's likeness in art (the others being Apelles for painting and Lysippos for sculpture). The same author (Natural History 37.8) adds that Alexander had issued an edict forbidding anyone to engrave his image on emeralds, other than Pyrgoteles, ‘who was without a doubt the most illustrious master of his art’. According to Plutarch (Life of Alexander, 4.1), it was Alexander himself who designed his public image, and saw that it was widely publicized through art, as a means to cultivate his own legend. Plutarch also relates that Alexander demanded from his court artists, in order to convey his royal qualities through his idealized portrait, that ‘the poise of the neck turned slightly to the left and the melting of the eyes’, in order to broadcast ‘his manly and leonine quality’ (Plutarch, ...

Article

Warwick Bray and Trent Barnes

Pre-Columbian culture of the Northern Andean region that flourished between c. 800 bc and c. ad 1630. It is named after the small town of San Agustín in the department of Huila, southern Colombia. It is classed archaeologically as a culture of the Intermediate area (see South America, Pre-Columbian, §II). The region where San Agustín culture developed covers several hundred square kilometres and contains approximately 40 Pre-Columbian archaeological sites, each with its own history. The more important of these include Alto de Lavapatas, Alto de Lavaderos, Alto de los Idolos, Las Mesitas, Isnos, El Vegón, and Quinchana. The entire landscape shows evidence of human habitation: ancient trackways and field systems, house terraces, carved boulders, cist graves, shaft tombs, and a series of mounds covering stone-built chambers containing carved statues. These monuments were first described by Juan de Santa Gertrudis in 1758 and have been studied sporadically ever since....

Article

Elizabeth Struthers Malbon

Early Christian carved stone Sarcophagus (Rome, Vatican, Mus. Stor. A. Tesoro S Pietro) of Roman city prefect Junius Bassus who, according to an inscription on the sarcophagus, was ‘neofitus’ (newly baptized) at his death in 359. It was originally placed near the tomb of St Peter and discovered in 1597.

This double-register, columnar sarcophagus of white marble (2.4×1.4×1.0 m) is carved with ten intercolumnar façade scenes of biblical characters in the ‘fine style’ and five spandrel scenes of biblical characters personified by lambs, with shallowly carved double-register harvest and season scenes on the two ends. The now-fragmented lid contains the remains of a verse inscription and two scenes, the most complete of which represents a funerary meal. Thus the Junius Bassus sarcophagus, one of only two extant double-register columnar Early Christian sarcophagi, presents a distinctive combination of carving styles and both Christian and Roman iconography.

The façade scenes on the upper register (under a level entablature) are: ...

Article

Eve D’Ambra

[Silene]

Roman villa in Libya. The élite of the great city of Leptis Magna built villas along the Tripolitanian coast, and the Villa Sileen, near the village of Khums(Qums) is an excellent example of this type of domestic architecture in North Africa. Discovered in 1974, the villa was inhabited in the 2nd century ...

Article

Eve D’Ambra

Roman Spain consisted of the entire Iberian peninsula, both modern Spain and Portugal. As it is twice as large as Italy, Hispania was viewed as a remote subcontinent with the Pyrenees guarding passage to Europe and the Straits of Gibraltar beckoning to Africa. Its geography, therefore, played a significant role in its historical development, especially in its early contact with Rome during the Punic wars. The landscape exhibits variety in features, such as a high central plateau bounded on three sides by mountain ranges, a narrow coastal plain bordering the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic seaboard. With a climate ranging from Mediterranean to subdesert conditions, agriculture provided a livelihood for its inhabitants (wheat, olives and grapes being the most important products). Its wealth of resources also included metals (gold, silver, iron, copper, lead) that were mined, and the harvest of the sea (especially for the making of garum, a fish sauce considered a delicacy by the Romans)....

Article

Luca Leoncini

revised by Thorsten Opper

Bronze statue (h. 730 mm; Rome, Mus. Conserv.), usually considered an eclectic work of the early Imperial period in Rome (late 1st century bc–early 1st century ad). It reproduces a Hellenistic model thought to be more closely reflected by the marble Castellani Spinario in the British Museum, London; cf. also a Hellenistic terracotta statuette of a peasant boy from Priene (now in Berlin, Staatl. Museen, Antikensamml., TC8626), combined with a head type of the early 5th century BC that is also known in conjunction with a different body type. The Spinario represents a young boy sitting on a rock and removing a thorn from his left foot, which he holds on his right knee. The Spinario was listed by the English antiquary Magister Gregorius between 1165 and 1167 among the ancient bronzes standing outside the Lateran in Rome; reliefs in a number of medieval churches show versions of the figure, attesting to its early fame. It was one of the antiquities donated by ...

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

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl c. 1st century bc).

Greek sculptor. He worked in Rome during the late Hellenistic and early Imperial eras, and signed a statue of a Youth (c. 50 bc; Rome, Villa Torlonia) as a pupil of Pasiteles. However, he is mentioned only once in literary sources (Pliny the elder: Natural History XXXVI.iv.33), as the maker of a group of Appiades (apparently water nymphs associated with the aqua Appia) in the collection of Asinius Pollio (76 bcad 5). The Albani Youth is representative of the eclectic and stylistically retrospective sculptures created for the Roman market in later Hellenistic times. While it is largely modelled on Early Classical Apollo types (e.g. the Choiseul-Gouffier Apollo; London, BM), it has the elongated proportions, small head and agitated stance typical of Late Classical works. Over a dozen replicas of the type are known, two of which were incorporated into statue groups. In the Orestes and Electra...

Article

Diane Harris

(fl c. 325–c. 280 bc).

Greek sculptor. He was the son of Herodotos of Olynthos and the father of Herodoros, both of whom were also sculptors. He was born in Olynthos before 348 bc when the city was destroyed by Philip of Macedon. His later signatures on statue bases record his citizenship as Athenian or from the Attic deme Diomeia. He was a contemporary of Lysippos as well as Leochares, and continued to work during the reign of Lysimachos (287–281 bc). Many of his works were brought to Rome, including statues of Demeter, Zeus and Athena which were displayed in the Temple of Concord; matrons weeping, praying or sacrificing (Pliny: Natural History XXXIV.xc); a portrait of the philosopher Dion of Ephesos (Inscr. Gr./1, XIV, 1149); and a portrait of Autolykos, the founder of Sinope (Plutarch: Lucullus xxiii). Other works include a portrait of Hadeia, the wife of Autolykos, in the amphiareion at Oropos (...

Article

Virginia C. Goodlett

and Tauriskos

(b ?Tralles, Asia Minor; fl ?2nd century bc).

Greek sculptors. They were active in the Hellenistic period. Pliny (Natural History XXXVI.iv.34) mentioned a large sculpted group by Apollonios and Tauriskos portraying the Punishment of Dirke, which was brought to Rome from Rhodes in the time of Augustus (reg 27 bcad 14). A Roman copy of the work, the so-called Farnese Bull, was excavated in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome in 1545 (Naples, Mus. Archeol. N.); it is probably contemporary with the baths, which were built in the mid-3rd century ad. Small copies on gems prove that this marble copy is more elaborate than the original group. Thus it is impossible to date Apollonios’ and Tauriskos’ activity. Pliny provided the names of both their natural father, Artemidoros, and their adopted father, Menekrates. Attempts to identify Menekrates with the Menekrates of Rhodes who worked on the ‘Great Altar’ at Pergamon are unsuccessful: the Pergamene inscription is so fragmentary that the name of Menekrates cannot be restored with certainty....

Article

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl 2nd century bc–early 1st).

Name of at least two Greek sculptors, members of a family of Athenian sculptors including Polykles, Timokles and Dionysios. Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.xix.91) listed a Timarchides among sculptors in bronze, but his best-known work seems to have been a marble lyre-playing Apollo in the Temple of Apollo near the Porticus Metelli (later Octaviae) in Rome (Pliny: XXXVI.iv.35). This has been identified with a classicizing Apollo type known from several Roman copies. If it was the cult statue, the original may date to 179 bc, when the temple was rebuilt. Pliny perhaps implied that Timarchides also sculpted the cult image in the Temple of Juno Regina (ded. 179 bc) in the same porticus. He may also have been that Timarchides who worked with (?his brother) Timokles on the cult statue of Asklepios at Elateia (Pausanias: Guide to Greece X.xxxiv.6). They may be the ‘sons of Polykles’ mentioned twice by Pausanias (VI.xii.9; X.xxxiv.8), although neither name occurs with this patronymic. If so, their works suggest a connection with the Neo-Attic school of sculpture, and one may be datable to ...

Article

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl mid-2nd century bc).

Greek sculptor. He was presumably a member of the family of Athenian sculptors that included Polykles, Timarchides family and Dionysios. His activity is known from only two literary references. Pliny the elder (Natural History XXXIV.xix.52) named him with Polykles in his list of sculptors of the 156th Olympiad (156–153 bc) who revived artistic activity, which had been in decline since the 121st Olympiad (295–292 bc); Pausanias (Guide to Greece X.xxxiv.6) identified a statue of Asklepios (untraced) at Elateia as the work of Timokles and Timarchides, probably the ‘sons of Polykles’ who produced a portrait of Agesarchos at Olympia and the statue of Athena at Elateia (both untraced; Pausanias: VI.xii.9, X.xxxiv.8). The latter work is clearly strongly reminiscent of the so-called Neo-Attic sculptures of the later 2nd century bc, since the figures on its shield were apparently copied from the shield of the Athena Parthenos...

Article

Luca Leoncini

Marble statue of a semi-nude Venus (h. 2.04 m; Paris, Louvre; see fig. ). Its twisting composition is probably the work of the Greek artist Alexandros of Antioch on the Meander, active in the 2nd century bc, who in turn was inspired by a pre-Hellenistic model. The artist’s name was incised on a block of stone that was found together with the Venus but later lost. A few scholars in the past doubted the connection between the block and the statue and hence the attribution of the work to Alexandros. Some attributed the work to Praxiteles, and the loss of the inscribed block may have been engineered to support this theory. The statue was found in 1820 by a peasant on the island of Melos. When found it was in two pieces, along with other fragments. It was bought by the Marquis de Rivière, who donated it to Louis XVIII, King of France. The latter in turn donated it to the Musée du ...

Article

Celebrated work of antique sculpture. It depicts a nude Venus, her head turned to the left, her hands covering her breasts and genitals (h. 1.53 m; Florence, Uffizi; see fig. ), and is perhaps the work of an Athenian follower of Praxiteles of the 1st century bc, probably based on a bronze original derived from the Aphrodite of Knidos. On the base is an inscription attributing it to Kleomenes the Athenian. The inscription is certainly spurious but, as Ennio Quirino Visconti noted, it may have been copied from an original signature. The statue, which was in the Villa Medici in Rome perhaps from the end of the 16th century, is documented there with certainty in 1638 by the three plates that François Perrier devoted to it in his survey of the most beautiful statues of Rome (Segmenta nobilium signorum et statuarum). In 1677 Pope Innocent XI approved its transfer to Florence, where the following year it was exhibited in the Tribune of the Uffizi. In ...

Article

( fl Athens, c. 280 bc). Greek sculptor and writer. Though none of his work has survived, three statue bases signed by a Xenokrates and dating from the early 3rd century bc are extant. According to Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.lvxxxiii) he was a pupil either of Euthykrates, the son of Lysippos, or of Teisikrates, the pupil of Euthykrates (thus closely associated with the Sikyonian school of sculpture headed by Lysippos; see Greece, ancient §IV 2., (iv) ), and he ‘surpassed them both in the number of his statues, and wrote volumes about his art’. In the only other mention of Xenokrates in the text of the Natural History (he is also cited in the index to book XXXIV as having written a treatise on the working of sculpture in metal) Pliny named him, along with Antigonos of Karystos, as the source for the observation that the painter Parrhasios was a master draughtsman (XXXV.lxviii). In fact, Pliny’s whole discussion of the history of sculpture and painting is generally regarded as having been heavily influenced by Xenokrates. In this system, both arts gradually evolved towards perfection as each succeeding artist added something new, such as proportion or the rendering of certain details. In both cases the sequence culminated in a great master of the Sikyonian school, Lysippos in sculpture and Apelles in painting. Perhaps because he was a practising sculptor himself, Xenokrates seems to have used formal and technical criteria, rather than a work’s subject-matter or moral effect, to evaluate artistic achievement. Numerous references to the history of painting and sculpture in writers other than Pliny are thought to derive from Xenokrates’ accounts: he was the art critic best known to the Romans of the late Republic, whose taste he greatly influenced....

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 ...