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Painting



Pitsa Panels
Vase

Kraton
Telephanes
Eupompos
Pamphilos
Apelles
Melanthios
Pausias
Xenokrates
Xenokrates
Nealkes
Leontiskos
Arkesilaos




The Pitsa-panels

It was the general opinion of the ancients that painting had been founded at Sikyon and line-drawing had been accomplished there. The Pitsa panels dating from 540 BC, in someway confirm this. These miniature unique specimens of painting were found in a cave at the near-by village of Pitsa, in the district of Sikyon. Though time has taken a lot of them, they are excellent pieces of painting exquisitely drawn on wooden panels with a wide range of colors. The pictures below are two of the four similar tablets found
(National Archaelogical Museum, Athens).


[Pitsa Panels]
The first panel depicts a sacrificial scene and procession of votaries

 

Pitsa panels
The second panel shows women socializing.

 




Sikyonian Vase

An illustration from a vase (jug) of the 7th century BC, made at Sikyon or possibly Corinth. It represents two armies of oplites advancing on each other. A flute player plays military tunes to keep the step. The warriors are heavy armed. (Villa Giulia, Rome).



Kraton
(before 6th BC)

Kraton of Sikyon is mentioned as the inventor of modern drawing and painting. He was the first man who painted the shadows of a man and a woman on a white board.



Telephanes
(before 6th BC)

Telephanes of Sikyon brought to perfection the drawing of sketches.



Eupompos
400? BC

Painter born in Sikyon. Flourished about 400 BC. He was the founder of the Sikyonian school of painting which lasted for many generations. He laid great emphasis on professional knowledge and severe accuracy.



Pamphilos
375? BC

Painter, pupil of Eupompos, the founder of the Sikyonian school of painting. Born in Amphipolis of Macedonia, he lived at Sikyon and after Eupompos became head of the painting school. He charged extraordinary fees for his pupils (one talent). Apelles gave it and became the greatest painter of Greece.
Pamphilos is the originator of the scientific teaching of the art. He believed that painting could never be brought to perfection without geometry and arithmetic. Through his insistence, instructions in drawing was introduced to primary schools of Sikyon. Despite the huge fees, he had numerous and successful pupils.



Apelles
(flourished 352-308 BC)

Pupil of Pamphilos, born at Colophon or the island of Cos. He studied at Sikyon. He was the greatest painter of antiquity. Alexander the Great refused to be painted by any other than him. His famous work Alexander in the temple of Artemis at Ephesos, pictured Alexander with lighting in his hand, his fingers appearing to stand out of the picture keeping the thunderbolt. Apelles brought to perfection both coloring and drawing. When his Aphrodite Anadyomene at Rome (brought up from the temple of Asclepius at Cos) was damaged at the lower part, none dared to restore it.



Melanthios
(flourished 352-320? BC)

Another pupil of Pamphilos who excelled in his art was the Sikyonian Melanthios. Pliny tells us that he was even superior in composition than Apelles, as himself acknowledged that. Certainly the greatest painter in the history of Sikyon. Quintilian judged him together with his teacher Pamfillos as excelling in ratio from all other painters. Vitrouvios had a very high opinion of him.
Melanthios also wrote a treatise on painting, which did not survive, though Pliny had access to it. His paintings were highly valued during his life and at later times.
When Aratos came to power, a hundred years later, one of his paintings showing the tyrant Aristratos was at the art gallery of Sikyon.  Aratos who had ordered to destroy every statue and picture depicting tyrants, he wanted to burn it, but thanks to Nealkes, a friend of his and a painter, was persuaded to replace the tyrant (who was driven by Nike in a chariot) with a palm tree.
It was Melanthios who said "that works of art as well as the character of a person is better, when there is a drop of insolence and hardness". From his statement and from surviving sources we can understand that his paintings were based on powerful synthesis and ratio, plainness, and mathematical drawing without using much of visual appeal.



Pausias
360? BC

Pausias of Sikyon was the first painter to use extensively the encaustic technique in painting which is more favorable for illusion and picturesque than tempera. He was also the inventor of foreshortening and vaulted ceilings. He painted mainly children and flowers. His most famous picture was the flower girl representing Glyęera holding a wreath (the girl with whom was in love in his youth) known as the "Garland-weaver". A replica of his own or copy of this painting was sold for two talents three hundred years later.
He painted small and very large pictures. Being criticized for the use of the encaustic method that it takes a lot of time, he painted one small picture in a day (hemerisios). One of his famous large pictures was the "sacrifice of oxen" in which he used the technique of foreshortening making the bull to stand out of the picture though his color was all black. This picture was later taken to Rome where Pliny saw it and copies of it were made in paintings and mosaics.
Another famous picture, which was copied many times, was his Methe (from metho=become drunk). Pausanias saw the painting at the Tholos of Epidauros, which Pausias (this first Michelangelo) had painted. Methe was drinking from a glass bowl and her face could be seen through.
At the same place Pausias had painted an Eros who had abandoned his bow and arrows and was playing with a lyre.
His son Aristolaos was also a painter of high caliber. 



Aristolaos
(350? BC)

Painter, son and pupil of Pausias.
From his works we know the Sacrifice of Oxen, a work of his father which he tried to improve.  We also know that he painted Theseus, Perikles, Epameinondas, Medeia, Attic Demos, etc.
Aristolaos was a very austere painter, as Pliny tell us.



Xenoκrates
3rd century BC

Painter and sculptor born in Sikyon. He wrote books on both subjects. He laid great emphasis in the detail of drawing. 
"The line of contour should be closed, continuous and should end so as to promise more forms beyond itself and also to make evident the parts which it hides or implies." Xenoκrates.



Nealkes
250 BC

Painter born in Sikyon and close friend of Aratos. We know about his paintings from various descriptions.
To mention a few, a naval battle between Persians and Egyptians at the Nile, an Aphrodite and a race horse held by a groom, for which the following story is known.
Being unable to paint the foam at the horse's mouth, after many unsuccessful attempts, he threw the sponge on the painting and by lucky chance fell on the horse's mouth, succeeding to produce the desirable effect.
His daughter Anaxandra, became also a painter, as well his color grinder Erigonos.   



Leontiskos
230? BC

Sikyonian painter, very possibly a pupil of Nealkes.
From his works we know that he painted Aratos as a victor with trophy and a woman playing a guitar.



Arkesilaos
230? BC

Sikyonian painter, son of the sculptor Teisikrates.
We know that he was working in Athens, where he made a picture of Leosthenes and his sons, and which Pausanias saw in the temple of Zeus and Athena in Piraeus.
(Leosthenes was the military commander that led Athens in the Lamian war).



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