1. Of Athens, the son of Phanochus, was a very distinguished painter and statuary, contemporary with Polygnotus, about B. C. 460.
He is mentioned, with Polygnotus, as the first who used for a colour the light Attic ochre (sil
), and the black made from burnt vine twigs. (Plin. Nat. 33.13. s. 56
, 35.6. s. 25.) Varro mentions him as one of those ancient painters, by departing from whose conventional forms, the later artists, such as Apelles and Protogenes, attained to their great excellence. (L. L.
8.12, ed. Müller.)
The following pictures by him are mentioned:--(1.)
In the Poecile,
at Athens,--where, Pliny informs us (35.9. s. 35), Polygnotus painted gratuitously, but Micon for pay,--he painted the battle of Theseus and the Athenians with the Amazons. (Schol. ad Aristoph. Lysist.
879; Paus. 1.15.2
According to some writers, Micon had a hand in the great picture of the battle of Marathon, in the Poecile
[comp. PANAENUS and POLYGNOTUS
], and was fined thirty minae for having made the barbarians larger than the Greeks. (Sopater, in Ald. Rhet. Graec.
p. 340; Harpocr. s. v.
) The celebrated figure, in that picture, of a dog which had followed its master to the battle, was attributed by some to Micon, by others to Polygnotus. (Aelian, Ael. NA 7.38
He painted three of the walls of the temple of Theseus. On the one wall was the battle of the Athenians and the Amazons: on another the fight between the Centaurs and the Lapithae, where Theseus had already killed a centaur (no doubt in the centre of the composition), while between the other combatants the conflict was still equal: the story represented on the third side, Pausanias was unable to make out. (Paus. 1.17.2
.) Micon seems to have been assisted by Polygnotus in these works. (See Siebelis, ad loc.
The temple of the Dioscuri was adorned with paintings by Polygnotus and Micon: the former painted the rape of the daughters of Leucippus; the latter, the departure (or, as Bittiger supposes, the return) of Jason and the Argonauts. (Paus. 1.18.1
Micon was particularly skilful in painting horses (Aelian, Ael. NA 4.50
); for instance, in his picture of the Argonauts, the part on which he bestowed the greatest care was Acastus and his horses. (Paus. l.c.
) The accurate knowledge, however, of Simon, who was both an artist and a writer on horsemanship, detected an error in Micon's horses; he had painted lashes on the lower eye-lids (Pollux, 2.71): another version of the story attributes the error to Apelles. (Aelian, l.c.
There is a tale that in one of his pictures Micon painted a certain Butes crushed beneath a rock, so that only his head was visible, and hence arose the proverb, applied to things quickly accomplished, Βούτην Μίκων ἔδραφεν
, or Θᾶττον ἢ Βούτης
. (Zenob. Proverb.
1.11, p. 87, Append. e Vatie.
1.12, p. 260.)
He was a statuary as well as a painter, and lie made the statue of the Olympic victor Callias, who conquered in the pancratium in the 77th Olympiad. (Paus. 6.6.1
; comp. 5.9.3.)
The date exactly agrees with the time of Micon, and Pausanias expressly says, Μίκων ἐποίηοεν ὁ ζωδράφνς
. Böttiger, in the course of a valuable section on Micon, ascribes this statue to Micon of Syracuse (No. 3), to whom consequently he assigns the wrong date. (Böttiger, Arch. d. Malerei,
vol. i. pp. 254-260.)