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					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   • White ground tried
                 at the end of the
 lekythoi        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.

				
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