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Article

Thorsten Opper

Source of a group of Roman and Greek works of art, in particular a group of Greek bronze sculptures and statuettes. In 1900 sponge-divers discovered the remains of an ancient shipwreck in the sea off the Greek island of Antikythera. In one of the first operations of this kind, they salvaged some its cargo. A new investigation of the wreck site took place in 1976 and succeeded in recovering many further objects, as well as (still unpublished) remains of the hull. All the finds are now in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The ship, which must have foundered in the second quarter of the 1st century bc, carried a mixed cargo of ‘antique’ and contemporary bronze and marble statuary, as well as luxury products such as bronze furniture attachments, rare and expensive types of glass, gold ingots etc. It also contained the so-called Antikythera Mechanism, an elaborate type of astrolabe....

Article

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl later 4th century bc–early 3rd).

Greek painter. Born in Egypt, Antiphilos was a pupil of Ktesidemos. Although none of his works survives, he painted both large and small pictures and was famous for the facility of his technique (Quintilian: Principles of Oratory XII.x.6). Pliny (Natural History XXXV.114, 138) listed many of his pictures, which included portraits (Philip II and Alexander the Great with the Goddess Athena, in Rome in Pliny’s day; Alexander the Great as a Boy, also taken to Rome; and Ptolemy I of Egypt Hunting) and mythological subjects (Hesione; Dionysos; Hippolytos Terrified of the Bull; and Cadmus and Europa), all of which were in Rome in Pliny’s day. He also painted genre pictures: A Boy Blowing a Fire, a painting much admired for the reflections cast about the room and on the boy’s face, and Women Spinning Wool. The Egyptian city of Alexandria was an artistic centre famous for the depiction of comic figures and grotesques in several media. In that context, Antiphilos contributed a picture of a man called ...

Article

Apelles  

Susan B. Matheson

(b Kolophon, Ionia; fl late 4th century bc–early 3rd century bc; d? Kos).

Greek painter. Ancient sources stating that he was born at Kos (Pliny XXXV.xxxvi.79) or Ephesos (Strabo: Geography XIV.i.25) apparently confused his correct place of birth (Suidas: ‘Apelles’) with cities where he was later active. According to Pliny, Apelles flourished in the 112th Olympiad (”332 bc), and his association with Philip II of Macedon implies that his career began before 336 bc. His work for Ptolemy I of Egypt suggests that it lasted until after 304 bc, when Ptolemy declared himself king. No painting by Apelles survives, however, and his works are known only from literary sources.

Apelles studied painting first under Ephoros of Ephesos, then under Pamphilos of Sikyon (Suidas). According to Plutarch (Aratos xiii), however, he was already much admired before he went to Sikyon and enrolled at the school simply to share in its reputation. This is borne out by his probable collaboration with ...

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

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl later 4th century bc–early 3rd).

Greek painter from Maroneia in Thrace, none of whose work survives. The only account of Athenion is given by Pliny (Natural History XXXV.134), who said he was a pupil of Glaukion of Corinth. Some thought his work more pleasing than that of Nikias, who was thus probably a contemporary. Yet Athenion used a more severe colour scheme, an austerity that reflected the intellectual principles by which he painted. His work included Odysseus Discovering Achilles Disguised as a Girl, an Assembly of Relatives (at Athens) and, his most famous painting, a Groom with a Horse. He also painted a portrait of the cavalry commander Phylarchus for the temple at Eleusis, which seems to link him to the period of Athens’ wars against Kassander, King of Macedon (reg 310–297 bc; cf. Pausanias: Guide to Greece I.xxvi.3). Athenion died young.

K. Jex-Blake and E. Sellers: The Elder Pliny’s Chapters on the History of Art...

Article

Gordon Campbell

In 55 bc Julius Caesar landed in Britain, and the following year returned with a substantial army. He did not attempt to conquer territory, but on his second expedition he installed a client king, and so inaugurated the process whereby Britain established ever closer political and commercial relations with Rome. Caligula attempted an invasion in ad 39 or 40, but it was aborted before his army left Gaul. In ad 43 the army of Claudius invaded successfully, and gradually large tracts of Britain were conquered and incorporated into the Empire. The Roman province was known as Britannia. The northern limit of Roman expansion was achieved in ad 84, when Agricola defeated the Caledonians at the Battle of Mons Graupius, the location of which is unknown. Thereafter the Romans retreated to the narrow expanse of land between the Clyde and the Forth (later to be fortified with the Antonine Wall). Some 30 years later the Romans retreated south to another isthmus, this time between the Solway and the Tyne. When ...

Article

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl mid-2nd century bc).

Greek painter. He was the son of Seleukos and, although he was from Alexandria, worked in Rome; none of his work survives. He illustrates the shift of artistic patronage from the great Hellenistic cities to Rome in the 2nd century bc. Demetrios is the earliest recorded landscape painter (topographos: Diodorus Siculus: History XXXI.xviii.2). Alexandrian artists began to depict Nilotic scenes in mosaics and paintings from the 2nd century bc, and Demetrios stands at the head of that genre (see Alexandria §2, (v)). A story is told that he gave shelter at Rome to Ptolemy VI Philometor (reg c. 181–145 bc) when that king was driven from Egypt by his younger brother in 164 bc.

J. Overbeck: Die antiken Schriftquellen zur Geschichte der bildenden Künste bei den Griechen (Leipzig, 1868/R Hildesheim, 1959), nos 2141–2

Alexandria, §2(v): Hellenistic and Roman painting

Athens, §ii, 1(ii)(b): Acropolis: Non-architectural sculpture...

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

Greek city situated at the foothills of Mt Olympus in northern Greece (district of Pieria), 14 km south of modern city of Katerini. It was an important Macedonian political and cultural centre from the Classical to the Roman periods (6th century bc–4th century ad). By the 6th century bc it seems that the Macedonians were gathering at Dion in order to honour the Olympian gods, chiefly Zeus; according to myth, Deukalion, the only man to survive the flood at the beginning of time, built an altar to Zeus as a sign of his salvation. His sons, Macedon and Magnes, lived in Pieria, near Olympus, and became the mythical ancestors of the Macedonians. The altar allegedly erected by Deukalion remained the centre of the cult life at Dion throughout its history.

King Archelaos of Macedon (c. 413–399 bc) organized athletic and dramatic contests in the framework of the religious celebrations, following the practice of the Greeks in the south, such as at the great sanctuaries of Olympia and Delphi. Philip II (...

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

[Satra]

Greek city situated on the island of Crete, by the north-west foothills of mount Psiloritis (anc. Ida), 30 km south-east of the present-day city of Rethymnon. It was a centre for Aegean and Greek culture from the Prehistoric to the Byzantine periods (4th millennium bc–7th century bc).

Ancient Eleutherna is a typical example of a Cretan polis (city) inhabited continuously from at least from the 9th century bc (the so-called ‘Dark Age’ of Greek history) to the late Roman and Byzantine period (6th–7th century bc). Even before that, archaeological finds suggest the existence of a continuous presence on the site from the late Neolithic (4th millennium bc) through to a flourishing Minoan site of the 3rd to 2nd millennia bc. Although later construction all but eliminated traces of prehistoric architecture, there is still significant evidence to confirm unbroken habitation. In historical times (9th century...

Article

Roderick Whitfield

[Ku K’ai-chih; zi Changkang, hao Hutou]

(b Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, ad 344; d 407).

Chinese painter. According to his official biography in the Jin shu (‘History of the Jin dynasty’; compiled Tang period (ad 618–907)), he held office at the Eastern Jin (ad 317–420) court at Jiangkang (Nanjing). The biography also records the opinion of his contemporary Xie An that he was an artist unexcelled in all time. In the history of Chinese painting his name remains a byword as one of the foremost figure painters, whose style was influential throughout the centuries. Some extremely well-known themes are associated with him, while literary records, particularly Zhang Yanyuan’s Lidai minghua ji (‘Record of famous painters of all periods’; ad 847), preserve Gu’s own writings as well as many references to his paintings. By the late Tang period, paintings by Gu Kaizhi were among those that Zhang Yanyuan’s grandfather had to surrender to the throne. Emperor Xianzong (reg 805–20) himself acknowledged them, professing to honour and treasure them. Zhang Yanyuan’s judgement on Gu Kaizhi’s brushwork is one of the cornerstones of Gu’s reputation:...

Article

Dai Kui  

Weihe Chen

[Tai K’uei; zi Andao]

(b Qiaojinzhi [now Suxian], Anhui Province, c. ad 326; d c. 396).

Chinese sculptor, painter and philosopher. At an early age he studied with the famous Confucian scholar Fan Xuan, however, despite being influenced by Confucianism, he never took up an official position, instead he adopted a policy of withdrawing from society, admiring nature and advocating a simple way of life. He was a prolific author and developed the Confucian monastic tradition of xing and shen. A nine-volume work entitled The Collected Works of Dai Kui was published but is now lost.

As an artist he is said to have been good at figures, Buddhist portraits and landscapes. Gu Kaizhi remarked that his Picture of Seven Sages exceeded ancient paintings in likeness and charm. The critic Xie He approved his works as ‘creating a feeling of lasting appeal; stimulating interest through their ingenuity; excelling in their depiction of sages and setting models for professional painters’. His works Pictures of Nineteen Poems by Ruan Ji...

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

A distinctively Macedonian type of monumental chamber-tomb, consisting of a built chamber roofed with a barrel-vault, sometimes also preceded by an antechamber, and covered by an earth tumulus. The type emerged some time in the 4th century bc, and was widely used in Macedonia and its sphere of influence well into the Hellenistic period (323–27 bc).

Inhumations and cremations were practised contemporaneously in Macedonia, and are often found in the same tomb; it seems that the choice was a matter of personal preference or family tradition. Cremated remains were deposited inside a chest (larnax) made of stone, metal or wood, or a metal or clay hydria (water-jug). The tombs were furnished with couches, thrones, stools, chests, tables, benches etc reproducing actual interiors. The furniture presumably had a practical as well as symbolic role as it may have been used in funerary rituals. Movable offerings were also deposited to accompany the deceased in the afterlife, offering a glimpse into a world of skilful extravagance and sophisticated luxury....

Article

Thorsten Opper

Often highly individualistic portraits painted on wood or canvas that were positioned over the head of a mummy. They came into use in Egypt during the Roman Imperial period and partly replaced the more traditional, idealized masks. Some 900 to 1000 examples are currently known; particularly significant collections are in the British Museum and Petrie Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, the Staatliche Museen in Berlin and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Mummy portraits were found throughout Egypt from the delta to Nubia, but were concentrated in a few cemeteries in the Nile valley, such as Akhmim and Antinoöpolis, and particularly in the Faiyum (er-Rubayat and Hawara), so that they are sometimes also known as ‘Faiyum-portraits’.

The portraits were sometimes painted using very elaborate encaustic techniques, involving layers of coloured, heated wax that produced vivid chromatic tones, but cheaper versions in tempera on white backgrounds and even watercolour also occur. The insufficient state of publication of many portraits has generally not been conducive to studies into workshop connections or the isolation of individual painters; more detailed research on these aspects exists only for examples from Antinoöpolis....

Article

Paekka  

Hong Sŏn-p’yo

Korean painter. He is thought to have lived at the time of Paekche (18 bcad 668), one of the Three Kingdoms (see Korea §I 2.), and may have gone to Japan with a group of Buddhist monks and architects from Paekche whose mission was to build temples. Paekka is believed to have completed the wall paintings at Pŏphŭng Temple, Kangwŏn Province. The architectural style of this temple was followed in contemporary Japanese temples that were named after the kingdom of Paekche. Thus, assuming that Paekka was responsible for the wall paintings, he may have had a considerable influence on contemporary painting in Japan....

Article

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl ?c. 100 bc).

Greek sculptor and ?painter. Pliny (Natural History XXXVI.iv.34–5) saw several of his marble statues in Rome: an Apollo and a group consisting of Leto, Artemis, the Nine Muses and a Nude Apollo in the Temple of Apollo near the Portico of Octavia and an Aphrodite in the Temple of Juno in the Portico of Octavia. None of his works survives, however. Nothing is known of the style of these statues, and no sure connection can be made between them and later copies of similar subjects based on lost Greek originals. A base from Thasos for a female statue, of which a fragment perhaps survives (Istanbul, Archaeol. Mus.), is signed by Philiskos, son of Polycharmos of Rhodes, in lettering of the late 2nd century bc or early 1st. However, this need not be the same sculptor.

Perhaps to be identified with Philiskos of Rhodes is a painter, none of whose works survives, who according to Pliny (XXXV.xl.143) painted an ...

Article

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl ?1st century bc).

Greek painter. He came from Byzantium, and Pliny (XXXV.136) stated that he was a contemporary of Julius Caesar (reg 49–44 bc). Many scholars follow Pliny, but some suggest a date in the Classical Greek period (480–323 bc). The most celebrated picture by Timomachos was a Medea painted in encaustic. Its fame rested in the characterization, which combined jealous wrath and sorrowful pity. Medea’s children were depicted playing, unaware that she stood near them holding a sword, intending to murder them. The picture was the last painted by Timomachos before his death. The artist also painted Ajax in his Madness. Cicero (II.iv.60.135) knew that the Ajax and the Medea were owned by the people of Kyzikos (Lat. Cyzicus). Pliny (XXXV.i.136; cf. XXXV.26) said that Julius Caesar paid 80 talents for them and hung them in the Temple of Venus Genetrix in Rome. A painting by Timomachos of ...