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Article

Gordon Campbell

[Gr.: ‘high stone’]

Ancient Greek statue with a wooden body and the head and limbs made of stone (usually marble, sometimes limestone). This technique seems to have come into use in Greece at the end of the 6th century bc or the beginning of the 5th, and was predominantly, but not exclusively, employed for cult statues. The wooden bodies of acrolithic statues were covered in sheets of precious metal or draped with textiles regularly renewed in cult ceremonies. In ancient Greece the term acrolith (usually agalma akrolithos or xoanon akrolithos) was used relatively rarely, and is first attested in temple inventories of the 2nd century bc; Vitruvius uses it in Latin as a synonym for colossal statues. It was then reintroduced as a technical term by 18th-century antiquarians.

While the wooden bodies of ancient acroliths are not preserved, their stone extremities have occasionally survived and can be identified through specific characteristics of their technical manufacture (acrolithic heads, for example, have flat undersides, whereas heads fashioned for insertion into stone bodies were made with convex tenons). In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the extent of stone elements can increase, so that for example the head and naked parts of the chest are made of one marble segment. The appearance of acroliths could be similar to chryselephantine (gold-ivory) statues, to which they may have offered a more cost-effective alternative, although it seems that other considerations, such as their role within the cult ritual, may have been of greater significance. Examples of surviving stone fragments from acroliths are a colossal head in the Ludovisi collection in Rome and an ...

Article

Thorsten Opper

Elaborate monument erected by Octavian (later Augustus) in 29–27 bc on the Preveza Peninsula in Western Greece, north of the present-day town of Preveza, overlooking Cape Actium, to commemorate his naval victory over Mark Antony at Actium in 31 bc. The nearby city of Nikopolis (Gr.: ‘city of victory’) was founded for the same purpose at about the same time.

According to the historian Dio Cassius (Roman History LI.i.3), after his victory Octavian laid a foundation of square stones on the spot where he had pitched his tent, which he then adorned with the captured ships’ rams. On this foundation, according to Dio, Octavian established an open-air shrine dedicated to Apollo. Suetonius (Augustus xviii.2) and Strabo (Geography VII.vii.6) corroborate this evidence, although the trophy itself (with the ships’ rams) was, according to Suetonius, dedicated to Poseidon and Mars, presumably for their help during the battle. The hill itself was, according to Strabo, sacred to Apollo, and therefore the shrine was dedicated to him....

Article

Charles M. Edwards

[Hageladas]

(fl c. 520–c. 450 bc).

Greek sculptor. Said to be the teacher of Polykleitos, Myron and Pheidias, he was a bronze sculptor from Argos, active in the Late Archaic and Early Classical periods. His early works were statues at Olympia for victors of 520 bc, 516 bc and 507 bc. His monument at Delphi depicting captive Massapian women and horses may belong to the second quarter of the 5th century bc. The Zeus Ithomatas for the Messenians at Naupaktos was probably made in the 450s bc. A problem is posed by the date of his Herakles Alexikakos in Athens, said to be a dedication after the plague in the 420s bc. That has led to speculation on the existence of a second Ageladas. The dates of his Zeus Pais and Youthful Herakles at Aigion are unknown. The statues for the Messenians and at Aigion seem to have been under life-size since they were easily transportable. A sense of their appearance is given by coins that show statues with stances like that of the ...

Article

A. Delivorrias

(b Paros, fl c. 450–c. 420 bc).

Greek sculptor. He was a prominent member of the group of artists led by Pheidias that executed the Periclean building programme on the Athenian Acropolis. Ancient literary sources provide little information on his career, and even this takes the form of later anecdotes, such as the story of his rivalry with Alkamenes in a competition to produce a statue of Aphrodite (Pliny: Natural History, XXXVI.iv.17), or has been distorted by the legends surrounding Pheidias, to whom two of his works were wrongly attributed: his statue of the Enthroned Mother of the Gods in the metroon in the Athenian Agora (Pausanias: Guide to Greece, I.iii.5) and his cult statue of Nemesis (c. 420 bc; Pausanias: I.xxxiii.3) for the temple at Rhamnous. The Nemesis was allegedly carved out of a colossal block of Parian marble brought to Marathon in 490 bc by the Persians, who intended to use it for a trophy after defeating the Athenians (Pausanias: I.xxxiii.2). Agorakritos was also credited with bronze statues of ...

Article

A. Delivorrias

(fl second half of the 5th century bc).

Greek sculptor. His date of birth and origins are uncertain; later sources mention both Athens and Lemnos as his birthplace. After the departure of Pheidias to Olympia, Alkamenes became the most eminent exponent of Athenian art. Sources that regard him as a student of Pheidias are not reliable, and the workshop in which he trained and developed his stylistic idiom is unknown. The number of his works in Athenian public buildings and the fact that Thrasybulus entrusted him with the production of a commemorative monument for his Theban allies after the fall of the Tyranny in 403 bc implies that Alkamenes was a supporter of the democratic party.

This monument, the form of which is difficult to visualize, is Alkamenes’ last attested work. His earliest work remains unknown, despite increasing acceptance of the assertion by Pausanias (V.x.8) that Alkamenes helped to execute the architectural sculptures of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Two ‘archaistic’ works for the Athenian Acropolis indicate that he must already have been active before the mid-...

Article

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

Antenor  

Kim Richardson

(fl Athens, c. 530-c. 0510 bc).

Greek sculptor. A statue base signed by Antenor, son of Eumares, and indicating a dedication by Nearchos (perhaps the potter of that name who was working in the 560s bc) has been matched almost certainly with an outstanding kore found on the Acropolis of Athens in 1886 and hence called the Antenor Kore (h. incl. plinth 2.15 m; Athens, Acropolis Mus., 681). The kore is a conservative work of c.520 bc. Both arms are held unusually far from the body, which is powerfully modelled, the strong vertical folds of its himation (cloak) giving a columnar effect. Such features as the inlaid eyes and thin ankles betray a bronze worker: Pausanias (Guide to Greece I.viii.5) recorded that Antenor produced bronze statues of the tyrannicides Harmodios and Aristogeiton, which were carried off by Xerxes in 480/479 bc and replaced by Kritios Nesiotes’ famous group. The Antenor statues remained at Persepolis until Alexander the Great or one of his successors returned them to Athens, where they were placed in the Agora alongside the second group. A Roman head (London, BM) is perhaps a copy of Antenor’s ...

Article

Steven F. Ostrow

[il Bresciano; Prospero da Brescia]

(b Brescia, 1555–65; d Rome, 1592).

Italian sculptor. According to Baglione, he went to Rome from his native Brescia as a youth. He studied anatomy and the art of ancient Rome, and he gained fame for his anatomical models and small bozzetti. His skill as a modeller resulted in several commissions from Gregory XIII, including stucco angels (1580–81) for the Pauline Chapel and the Scala Regia in the Vatican. The success of these elegant, classicizing figures led to the commission (after 1585) for the sculptural components of the tomb of Gregory XIII in St Peter’s, consisting of a seated statue of the Pope, allegorical figures of Charity, Faith, Religion and Justice, and two angels bearing the papal arms. The tomb has undergone numerous transformations and much of its sculpture has been lost; its original appearance is recorded, however, in several engravings and in a drawing by Ciro Ferri (Florence, Uffizi). The surviving stucco figures of ...

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

Thorsten Opper

(b Claudiopolis [Bithynion] c. ad 110; d Egypt, October ad 130).

Greek youth from north-western Asia Minor who became the companion and lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian (reg ad 117–138) until his mysterious death in the Nile in October ad 130. The bereaved emperor gave orders for Antinous to be deified as Antinous-Osiris and founded a new city, Antinoöpolis, close to the spot where Antinous had died. From there, his cult spread rapidly over the empire, especially the Greek-speaking areas, where festivals in his honour were established and an astounding number of images dedicated. Most remarkable (apart from preserved representations on coins, gems etc, and paintings attested in literary sources) were his sculptured portraits, frequently likened to gods of the Classical Pantheon, of which nearly 100 have survived—a number surpassed only by the portraits of the emperors Augustus and Hadrian. Their ubiquity and often high quality made them icons of ancient art, highly influential and frequently copied from the Renaissance onwards....

Article

Gail L. Hoffman

(fl c. 414–c. 369 bc).

Greek sculptor of the Argive school, student of Periklytos (who was himself a pupil of Polykleitos), teacher of Kleon of Sikyon, and thus in the circle of the elder Polykleitos (Pausanias: V.xvii.3). With no preserved sculpture, knowledge of Antiphanes derives entirely from Pausanias’ description (X.ix) of three Delphic monuments and three signatures: first, a bronze Trojan Horse dedicated by the Argives for a battle over Thyrea, probably the battle of 414 bc referred to by Thucydides (VI.xcv); also a Dioskouroi dedicated by Sparta as spoils from the battle of Aigospotamoi (405 bc; Dittenberger, no. 115); and finally, statues of Elatos, Apheidas and Erasos, which Pausanias claimed were part of the Tegean spoils from a battle with Sparta. A 4th-century bc inscription on a black limestone base may indicate that the dedicants were Arcadians, not just Tegeans, and thus that the battle was the devastation of Lakonia in 369 bc...

Article

Luca Leoncini

This statue of the Greek sun-god Apollo (h. 2.24 m) in the Octagonal Courtyard of the Belvedere of the Museo Pio-Clementino, the Vatican, may be a marble copy made in the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian (reg ad 117–38) of a bronze original by the Greek sculptor Leochares; it is now regarded as a Roman creation of the early 2nd century AD. The statue represents the god stepping forwards lightly on his right foot and looking to his left, his left arm outstretched and supporting his cloak (see fig.). When it was found the figure probably lacked most of the left forearm and part of the right hand. These and other parts were restored by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli between 1532 and 1533, although the restored portions have now been removed. It is likely that in his left hand Apollo was holding the arrows that were the usual attributes of the sun-god. There is also a tradition identifying the statue with the Apollo Venator, the god of the hunt; perhaps for this reason he is often shown beside the huntress Diana. The date and place of the statue’s discovery are uncertain, although Pirro Ligorio advanced the theory that the ...

Article

Giovanna Tedeschi Grisanti

(Rome)

A three-vaulted structure, dedicated in AD 315, which stands between the Caelian and Palatine hills, on the triumphal way from the Circus Maximus to the Arch of Titus (see fig.). Inscriptions on both north and south faces of the arch (on the part of the attic storey above the central span and on the entablatures over the side openings) record that it was erected by the Roman people after the victory of Constantine over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge (28 Oct AD 312) in gratitude for his first decade as emperor and as a votive offering for his second. Contemporary literary sources, however, make no mention of the arch, and the first extant reference to it is in the anonymous Carolingian Itinerary of Einsiedeln (Einsiedeln Abbey).

The Arch of Constantine faces north and south, and both of these longer sides are articulated by four Corinthian columns in yellow Numidian marble, with four pilasters and statues fronting the flat-topped attic storey. It is the largest triumphal arch to survive intact (h. 20 m, w. 25 m), with a central opening measuring 11.45×6.50 m and openings either side of 7.40×3.35 m. Its elevation is entirely of marble, except for the brick fill of the attic storey. Part of the material for its construction was, however, obtained from Flavian buildings. Even the sculptures vary in date. Among those of Constantine’s own period are the reliefs on the eight tall plinths for the columns. Those of the south façade depict Victories with trophies and barbarian prisoners, as do the two outer plinths of the north façade. The inner plinths flanking the central opening (north) depict Victories writing on shields, and further Victories bearing trophies appear with Genii of the Seasons in the spandrels of the central arch, while river gods occupy those of the side openings. The historical frieze running round most of the arch just above the side openings is also of Constantinian date. On the west side, six panels illustrate the ...

Article

Jeffrey M. Hurwit

(fl 550 bc or later).

Greek sculptor. The son of Mikkiades and father of the sculptors Bupalos and Athenis, Archermos was credited with creating the first winged figure of Nike (Victory) in Greek art; his works were apparently to be seen on Delos and Lesbos. A column signed by Archermos, that may have supported a Nike, was dedicated on the Athenian Acropolis in the late 6th century bc, and a badly damaged statue base from Delos has a much-restored inscription (written in the script of the island of Paros) suggesting that Mikkiades and his son Archermos dedicated the statue to Artemis after they had left their homeland of Chios. A statue found in the same general area as the base, and like it datable to c. 550 bc, is the so-called (and originally winged) Nike of Delos (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus.. It is, however, not absolutely certain that the Nike belongs to the base, or, if it does, that it stood there alone. Assuming the ...

Article

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl Rome, mid-1st century bc).

Greek sculptor. He was one of the greatest masters of his time, though referred to only by Pliny. A contemporary of Pasiteles, like him he worked in a variety of media (marble statuary, marble and/or metal vessels) and believed in the value of preliminary models, which were themselves sold at high prices. Arkesilaos was commissioned by L. Lucullus or his son to make a statue of Felicitas (Pliny: XXXV.clv–clvi), which was never completed. His most famous work was the cult statue for Caesar’s Temple of Venus Genetrix (ded. 46 bc). Hadrianic coin representations of this deity show a figure close to the late 5th century bc Fréjus Aphrodite type. If these represent Arkesilaos’ cult statue, then it must have been classicizing in style. The Temple of Venus, however, was extensively rebuilt in Trajanic times, so the statue depicted may have been a 2nd-century ad replacement. Only two other works are mentioned: a group of ...

Article

Luca Leoncini

revised by Thorsten Opper

Group of three ancient Greek bronze figures, now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. The various fragments were recovered in 1926, 1928 and 1937 from the sea-bed site of an ancient shipwreck off Cape Artemision at the northernmost point of Euboia, Greece, together with scant remains of a wreck whose cargo they seem to have formed. The most famous is the bronze statue identified as Zeus or Poseidon (h. 2.09 m), datable to the second quarter of the 5th century bc (see fig.). It is attributed to an Attic artist, perhaps Kalamis, who made the Omphalos Apollo. The figure represents a bearded man with long hair tied up at the back of his neck, striding forward with his arms extended. He is poised to throw either a thunderbolt or a trident, depending on which of the two gods he portrays. Ample iconographic parallels exist for both (coins of Poseidonia show Poseidon hurling his trident in this manner, while Zeus is represented in a similar pose in numerous bronze statuettes). The position of the fingers of the right hand suggests that the statue originally held a trident rather than a bolt of lightning, though Zeus is represented in a similar pose in numerous bronze statuettes (see Stewart, ii, pls 287–9). The hypothesis that this was the pose of an earlier cult statue in the Temple of Zeus at Olympia before Pheidias created his colossal chryselephantine ...

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

Thorsten Opper

In 1954 a large number of fragments of ancient plaster casts came to light in the Roman city of Baiae on the gulf of Naples. Of a total of 430 fragments, 293 were in a condition that allowed further analysis. This revealed that they originally belonged to a group of 24–35 full-length statues that formed a representative collection of plaster copies of Greek bronze originals (gods, heroes, mythological figures) mainly of the 5th and 4th centuries bc. Twelve of these statues could be identified through comparison with Roman marble copies (e.g. Tyrant Slayers, Ephesian Amazons, Athena Velletri, Westmacott Ephebe, Hera Borghese, Eirene and Ploutos). For others likely identifications have been suggested, but cannot be proven (e.g. Doryphoros). The Baiae plaster statues were technically highly accomplished (hollow-cast figures with internal armatures, probably the first casts produced from high-quality moulds), and are likely to have been imported, perhaps from a place such as Athens, where at least three of the originals were located....

Article

Balbus  

Thorsten Opper

(Marcus Nonius)

(fl 1st century bc).

Roman patron and statesman. A wealthy Roman benefactor, supporter of Octavian (the later emperor Augustus) and patron of the city of Herculaneum [now Ercolano; formerly Resina], Balbus was a native of Nuceria Alfaterna in Campania, and embarked on a successful senatorial career, serving as Tribune of the People (32 bc), and Praetor and Proconsul of the double province of Crete and Cyrenaica. He chose to live in Herculaneum and lavished benefactions on the town, financing a complete rebuilding of the basilica, town gates and walls. In return, Balbus was appointed the patron (official representative) of the town and received countless honours, among them numerous portrait statues (ten are currently attested in the epigraphic record; five statues have survived). Through their range of media and statuary types, and with their associated base inscriptions, these provide an exemplary insight into the Roman system of portrait honours. Two marble equestrian statues, dedicated by the People of Nuceria and Herculaneum respectively (Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., inv. 6211 and 6104), were discovered in ...

Article

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....