BOOK XXXV. AN ACCOUNT OF PAINTINGS AND COLOURS.
CHAP. 1. (1.)—THE HONOUR ATTACHED TO PAINTING.I HAVE now given at considerable length an account of the nature of metals, which constitute our wealth, and of the substances that are derived from them; so connecting my various subjects, as, at the same time, to describe an immense number of medicinal compositions which they furnish, the mysteries1 thrown upon them by the druggists, and the tedious minutiæ of the arts of chasing,2 and statuary,3 and of dyeing.4 It remains for me to describe the various kinds of earths and stones; a still more extensive series of subjects, each of which has been treated of, by the Greeks more particularly, in a great number of volumes. For my own part, I propose to employ a due degree of brevity, at the same time omitting nothing that is necessary or that is a product of Nature. I shall begin then with what still remains to be said with reference to painting, an art which was formerly illustrious, when it was held in esteem both by kings and peoples, and ennobling those whom it deigned to transmit to posterity. But at the present day, it is completely banished in favour of marble, and even gold. For not only are whole walls now covered with marble, but the marble itself is carved out or else marqueted so as to represent objects and animals of various kinds. No longer now are we satisfied with formal compartitions of marble, or with slabs extended like so many mountains in our chambers, but we must begin to paint the very stone itself! This art was invented in the reign of Claudius, but it was in the time of Nero that we discovered the method of inserting in marble spots that do not belong to it, and so varying its uniformity; and this, for the purpose of representing the marble of Numidia5 variegated with ovals, and that of Synnada6 veined with purple; just, in fact, as luxury might have willed that Nature should produce them. Such are our resources when the quarries fail us, and luxury ceases not to busy itself, in order that as much as possible may be lost whenever a conflagration happens.
CHAP. 2. (2.)—THE HONOUR ATTACHED TO PORTRAITS.Correct portraits of individuals were formerly transmitted to future ages by painting; but this has now completely fallen into desuetude. Brazen shields are now set up, and silver faces, with only some obscure traces of the countenance:7 the very heads, too, of statues are changed,8 a thing that has given rise before now to many a current sarcastic line; so true it is that people prefer showing off the valuable material, to having a faithful likeness. And yet, at the same time, we tapestry the walls of our galleries with old pictures, and we prize the portraits of strangers; while as to those made in honour of ourselves, we esteem them only for the value of the material, for some heir to break up and melt, and so forestall the noose and slip-knot of the thief.9 Thus it is that we possess the portraits of no living individuals, and leave behind us the pictures of our wealth, not of our persons. And yet the very same persons adorn the palæstra and the anointing-room10 with portraits of athletes, and both hang up in their chamber and carry about them a likeness of Epicurus.11 On the twentieth day of each moon they celebrate his birthday12 by a sacrifice, and keep his festival. known as the "Icas,"13 every month: and these too, people who wish to live without being known!14 So it is, most assuredly, our indolence has lost sight of the arts, and since our minds are destitute of any characteristic features, those of our bodies are neglected also. But on the contrary, in the days of our ancestors, it was these that were to be seen in their halls, and not statues made by foreign artists, or works in bronze or marble: portraits modelled in wax15 were arranged, each in its separate niche, to be always in readiness to accompany the funeral processions of the family;16 occasions on which every member of the family that had ever existed was always present. The pedigree, too, of the individual was traced in lines upon each of these coloured portraits. Their muniment-rooms,17 too, were filled with archives and memoirs, stating what each had done when holding the magistracy. On the outside, again, of their houses, and around the thresholds of their doors, were placed other statues of those mighty spirits, in the spoils of the enemy there affixed, memorials which a purchaser even was not allowed to displace; so that the very house continued to triumph even after it had changed its master. A powerful stimulus to emulation this, when the walls each day reproached an unwarlike owner for having thus intruded upon the triumphs of another! There is still extant an address by the orator Messala, full of indignation, in which he forbids that there should be inserted among the images of his family any of those of the stranger race of the Lævini.18 It was the same feeling, too, that extorted from old Messala those compilations of his "On the Families of Rome;" when, upon passing through the hall of Scipio Pomponianus,19 he observed that, in consequence of a testamentary adoption, the Salvittos20 —for that had been their surname—to the disgrace of the Africani, had surreptitiously contrived to assume the name of the Scipios. But the Messalas must pardon me if I remark, that to lay a claim, though an untruthful one, to the statues of illustrious men, shows some love for their virtues, and is much more honourable than to have such a character as to merit that no one should wish to claim them. There is a new invention too, which we must not omit to notice. Not only do we consecrate in our libraries, in gold or silver, or at all events, in bronze, those whose immortal spirits hold converse with us in those places, but we even go so far as to reproduce the ideal of features, all remembrance of which has ceased to exist; and our regrets give existence to likenesses that have not been transmitted to us, as in the case of Homer, for example.21 And indeed, it is my opinion, that nothing can be a greater proof of having achieved success in life, than a lasting desire on the part of one's fellow-men, to know what one's features were. This practice of grouping portraits was first introduced at Rome by Asinius Pollio, who was also the first to establish a public library, and so make the works of genius the property of the public. Whether the kings of Alexandria and of Pergamus, who had so energetically rivalled each other in forming libraries, had previously introduced this practice, I cannot so easily say. That a strong passion for portraits formerly existed, is attested both by Atticus, the friend of Cicero, who wrote a work on this subject,22 and by M. Varro, who conceived the very liberal idea of inserting, by some means23 or other, in his numerous volumes, the portraits of seven hundred individuals; as he could not bear the idea that all traces of their features should be lost, or that the lapse of centuries should get the better of mankind. Thus was he the inventor of a benefit to his fellow-men, that might have been envied by the gods themselves; for not only did he confer upon them immortality, but he transmitted them, too, to all parts of the earth; so that everywhere it might be possible for them to be present, and for each to occupy his niche. This service, too, Varro conferred upon persons who were no members of his own family.
CHAP. 3. (3.)—WHEN SHIELDS WERE FIRST INVENTED WITH PORTRAITS UPON THEM; AND WHEN THEY WERE FIRST ERECTED IN PUBLIC.So far as I can learn, Appius Claudius, who was consul with P. Servilius, in the year of the City, 259, was the first to dedicate shields24 in honour of his own family in a sacred or public place.25 For he placed representations of his ancestors in the Temple of Bellona, and desired that they might be erected in an elevated spot, so as to be seen, and the inscriptions reciting their honours read. A truly graceful device; more particularly when a multitude of children, represented by so many tiny figures, displays those germs, as it were, which are destined to continue the line: shields such as these, no one can look at without a feeling of pleasure and lively interest.
CHAP. 4.—WHEN THESE SHIELDS WERE FIRST PLACED IN PRIVATE HOUSES.More recently, M. Æmilius, who was consul26 with Quintus Lutatius, not only erected these shields in the Æmilian Basilica,27 but in his own house as well; in doing which he followed a truly warlike example. For, in fact, these portraits were represented on bucklers, similar to those used in the Trojan War;28 and hence it is that these shields received their present name of "clypei," and not, as the perverse subtleties of the grammarians will have it, from the word "cluo."29 It was an abundant motive for valour, when upon each shield was represented the features of him who had borne it. The Carthaginians used to make both their bucklers and their portraits of gold, and to carry them with them in the camp: at all events, Marcius, the avenger of the Scipios30 in Spain, found one of this kind on capturing the camp of Hasdrubal, and it was this same buckler that remained suspended over the gate of the Capitoline Temple until the time when it was first burnt.31 Indeed, in the days of our ancestors, so assured was the safety of these shields, that it has been a subject of remark, that in the consulship of L. Manlius and Q. Fulvius, in the year of the City, 575, M. Aufidius, who had given security for the safety of the Capitol, informed the senate that the bucklers there which for some lustra32 had been assessed as copper, were in reality made of silver.
CHAP. 5.—THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE ART OF PAINTING. MO- NOCHROME PAINTINGS. THE EARLIEST PAINTERS.We have no certain knowledge as to the commencement of the art of painting, nor does this enquiry fall under our consideration. The Egyptians assert that it was invented among themselves, six thousand years before it passed into Greece; a vain boast, it is very evident.33 As to the Greeks, some say that it was invented at Sicyon, others at Corinth; but they all agree that it originated in tracing lines round the human shadow.34 The first stage of the art, they say, was this, the second stage being the employment of single colours; a process known as "monochromaton,"35 after it had become more complicated, and which is still in use at the present day. The invention of line-drawing has been assigned to Philocles, the Egyptian, or to Cleanthes36 of Corinth. The first who practised this line-drawing were Aridices, the Corinthian, and Telephanes, the Sicyonian, artists who, without making use of any colours, shaded the interior of the outline by drawing lines;37 hence, it was the custom with them to add to the picture the name of the person represented. Ecphantus, the Corinthian, was the first to employ colours upon these pictures, made, it is said, of broken earthenware, reduced to powder. We shall show on a future38 occasion, that it was a different artist of the same name, who, according to Cornelius Nepos, came to Italy with Demaratus, the father of the Roman king, Tarquinius Priscus, on his flight from Corinth to escape the violence of the tyrant Cypselus.
CHAP. 6.—THE ANTIQUITY OF PAINTING IN ITALY.But already, in fact, had the art of painting been perfectly developed in Italy.39 At all events, there are extant in the temples at Ardea, at this day, paintings of greater antiquity than Rome itself; in which, in my opinion, nothing is more marvellous, than that they should have remained so long unprotected by a roof, and yet preserving their freshness.40 At Lanuvium, too, it is the same, where we see an Atalanta and a Helena, without drapery, close together, and painted by the same artist. They are both of the greatest beauty, the former being evidently the figure of a virgin, and they still remain uninjured, though the temple is in ruins. The Emperor Caius,41 inflamed with lustfulness, attempted to have them removed, but the nature of the plaster would not admit of it. There are in existence at Cære,42 some paintings of a still higher antiquity. Whoever carefully examines them, will be forced to admit that no art has arrived more speedily at perfection, seeing that it evidently was not in existence at the time of the Trojan War.43
CHAP. 7. (4.)—ROMAN PAINTERS.Among the Romans, too, this art very soon rose into esteem, for it was from it that the Fabii, a most illustrious family, derived their surname of "Pictor;" indeed the first of the family who bore it, himself painted the Temple of Salus,44 in the year of the City, 450; a work which lasted to our own times, but was destroyed when the temple was burnt, in the reign of Claudius. Next in celebrity were the paintings of the poet Pacuvius, in the Temple of Hercules, situate in the Cattle Market:45 he was a son of the sister of Ennius, and the fame of the art was enhanced at Rome by the success of the artist on the stage. After this period, the art was no longer practised by men of rank; unless, indeed, we would make reference to Turpilius, in our own times, a native of Venetia, and of equestrian rank, several of whose beautiful works are still in existence at Verona. He painted, too, with his left hand, a thing never known to have been done by any one before.46 Titidius Labeo, a person of prætorian rank, who had been formerly proconsul of the province of Gallia Narbonensis, and who lately died at a very advanced age, used to pride himself upon the little pictures which he executed, but it only caused him to be ridiculed and sneered at. I must not omit, too, to mention a celebrated consultation upon the subject of painting, which was held by some persons of the highest rank. Q. Pedius,47 who had been honoured with the consulship and a triumph, and who had been named by the Dictator Cæsar as co-heir with Augustus, had a grandson, who being dumb from his birth, the orator Messala, to whose family his grandmother belonged, recommended that he should be brought up as a painter, a proposal which was also approved of by the late Emperor Augustus. He died, however, in his youth, after having made great progress in the art. But the high estimation in which painting came to be held at Rome, was principally due, in my opinion, to M. Valerius Maximus Messala, who, in the year of the City, 490, was the first to exhibit a painting to the public; a picture, namely, of the battle in which he had defeated the Carthaginians and Hiero in Sicily, upon one side of the Curia Hostilia.48 The same thing was done, too, by L. Scipio,49 who placed in the Capitol a painting of the victory which he had gained in Asia; but his brother Africanus, it is said, was offended at it, and not without reason, for his son had been taken prisoner in the battle.50 Lucius Hostilius Mancinus,51 too, who had been the first to enter Carthage at the final attack, gave a very similar offence to Æmilianus,52 by exposing in the Forum a painting of that city and the attack upon it, he himself standing near the picture, and describing to the spectators the various details of the siege; a piece of complaisance which secured him the consulship at the ensuing Comitia. The stage, too, which was erected for the games celebrated by Claudius Pulcher,53 brought the art of painting into great admiration, it being observed that the ravens were so deceived by the resemblance, as to light upon the decorations which were painted in imitation of tiles.
CHAP. 8.—AT WHAT PERIOD FOREIGN PAINTINGS WERE FIRST INTRODUCED AT ROME.The high estimation in which the paintings of foreigners were held at Rome commenced with Lucius Mummius, who, from his victories, acquired the surname of "Achaicus." For upon the sale of the spoil on that occasion, King Attalus having purchased, at the price of six thousand denarii, a painting of Father Liber by Aristides,54 Mummius, feeling surprised at the price, and suspecting that there might be some merit in it of which he himself was unaware,55 in spite of the complaints of Attalus, broke off the bargain, and had the picture placed in the Temple of Ceres;56 the first instance, I conceive, of a foreign painting being publicly exhibited at Rome. After this, I find, it became a common practice to exhibit foreign pictures in the Forum; for it was to this circumstance that we are indebted for a joke of the orator Crassus. While pleading below the Old Shops,57 he was interrupted by a witness who had been summoned, with the question, "Tell me then, Crassus, what do you take me to be?" "Very much like him," answered he, pointing to the figure of a Gaul in a picture, thrusting out his tongue in a very unbecoming manner.58 It was in the Forum, too, that was placed the picture of the Old Shepherd leaning on his staff; respecting which, when the envoy of the Teutones was asked what he thought was the value of it, he made answer that he would rather not have the original even, at a gift.
CHAP. 9.—AT WHAT PERIOD PAINTING WAS FIRST HELD IN HIGH ESTEEM AT ROME, AND FROM WHAT CAUSES.But it was the Dictator Cæsar that first brought the public exhibition of pictures into such high estimation, by consecrating an Ajax and a Medea59 before the Temple of Venus Genetrix.60 After him there was M. Agrippa, a man who was naturally more attached to rustic simplicity than to refinement. Still, however, we have a magnificent oration of his, and one well worthy of the greatest of our citizens, on the advantage of exhibiting in public all pictures and statues; a practice which would have been far preferable to sending them into banishment at our country-houses. Severe as he was in his tastes, he paid the people of Cyzicus twelve hundred thousand sesterces for two paintings, an Ajax and a Venus. He also ordered small paintings to be set in marble in the very hottest part of his Warm Baths;61 where they remained until they were removed a short time since, when the building was repaired.
CHAP. 10.—WHAT PICTURES THE EMPERORS HAVE EXHIBITED IN PUBLIC.The late Emperor Augustus did more than all the others; for he placed in the most conspicuous part of his Forum, two pictures, representing War and Triumph.62 He also placed in the Temple of his father,63 Cæsar, a picture of the Castors,64 and one of Victory, in addition to those which we shall mention in our account of the works of the different artists.65 He also inserted two pictures in the wall of the Curia66 which he consecrated in the Comitium;67 one of which was a Nemea68 seated upon a lion, and bearing a palm in her hand. Close to her is an Old Man, standing with a staff, and above his head hangs the picture of a chariot with two horses. Nicias69 has written upon this picture that he "inburned"70 it, such being the word he has employed. In the second picture the thing to be chiefly admired, is the resemblance that the youth bears to the old man his father, allowing, of course, for the difference in age; above them soars an eagle, which grasps a dragon in its talons. Philochares71 attests that he is the author of this work, an instance, if we only consider it, of the mighty power wielded by the pictorial art; for here, thanks to Philochares, the senate of the Roman people, age after age, has before its eyes Glaucion and his son Aristippus, persons who would otherwise have been altogether unknown. The Emperor Tiberius, too, a prince who was by no means very gracious, has exhibited in the temple dedicated by him, in his turn, to Augustus, several pictures which we shall describe hereafter.72
CHAP. 11. (5.)—THE ART OF PAINTING.Thus much then with reference to the dignity of this now expiring art. We have already73 stated with what single colours the earlier artists painted, when speaking of these pigments under the head of metals. The new modes of painting which were afterwards discovered, and are known as "neogrammatea,"74 the names of the artists, their different inventions, and the periods at which these inventions were adopted, will all be described when we come to enumerate the painters: for the present, however, the proposed plan of this work requires, that I should enlarge upon the nature of the several colours that are employed. The art of painting at last became developed, in the inven- tion of light and shade, the alternating contrast of the colours serving to heighten the effect of each. At a later period, again, lustre75 was added, a thing altogether different from light. The gradation between lustre and light on the one hand and shade on the other, was called "tonos;" while the blending of the various tints, and their passing into one another, was known as "harmoge."76
CHAP. 12. (6.)—PIGMENTS OTHER THAN THOSE OF A METALLIC ORIGIN. ARTIFICIAL COLOURS.Colours are either77 sombre or florid, these qualities arising either from the nature of the substances or their mode of combination. The florid colours are those which the employer supplies78 to the painter at his own expense; minium,79 namely, armenium, cinnabaris,80 chrysocolla,81 indicum, and purpurissum. The others are the sombre colours. Taking both kinds together, some are native colours, and others are artificial. Sinopis, rubrica, parætonium, melinum, cretria and orpiment, are native colours. The others are artificial, more particularly those described by us when speaking of metals; in addition to which there are, among the more common colours, ochra, usta or burnt ceruse, sandarach, sandyx, syricum, and atramentum.
CHAP. 13.—SINOPIS: ELEVEN REMEDIES.Sinopis82 was discovered in Pontus; and hence its name, from the city of Sinope there. It is produced also in Egypt, the Balearic islands, and Africa; but the best is found in Lemnos and Cappadocia, being extracted from quarries there. That part is considered the best which has been found adhering to the rock. In the native mass, it has its own proper colour within, but is spotted on the exterior; the ancients made use of it for tone.83 There are three kinds of sinopis, the red, the pale red, and the intermediate. The price of the best is twelve denarii per pound; it is used both for painting with the brush, and for colouring wood. The kind which comes from Africa sells at eight asses per pound; the name given to it is "cicerculum."84 That85 which is of the deepest red is the most in use for colouring compartitions. The sinopis known as the dull86 kind, being of a very tawny complexion, sells also at the price of eight asses per pound; it is used principally for the lower87 parts of compartitions. Used medicinally, sinopis is of a soothing nature, and is employed as an ingredient in plasters and emollient poultices. It admits of being easily used, whether in the form of a dry or of a liquid composition, for the cure of ulcers situate in the humid parts of the body, the mouth and the rectum, for instance. Used as an injection, it arrests looseness of the bowels, and, taken in doses of one denarius, it acts as a check upon female discharges. Applied in a burnt state, with wine in particular, it has a desiccative effect upon granulations of the eyelids.
CHAP. 14.—RUBRICA; LEMNIAN EARTH: FOUR REMEDIES.Some persons have wished to make out that sinopis is nothing else but a kind of rubrica88 of second-rate quality, looking upon earth of Lemnos as a rubrica of the highest quality. This last approaches very nearly to minium,89 and was as highly esteemed among the ancients as the island that produces it: it was never sold except in sealed packages, a circumstance to which it was indebted for its additional name of "sphragis." It is with this material that they give the undercoating to minium, in the adulteration of which it is also extensively employed. In medicine it is very highly esteemed. Applied to the eyes in the form of a liniment, it allays defluxions and pains in those organs, and arrests the discharges from lachrymal fistulas. To persons vomiting blood, it is administered with vinegar to drink. It is taken also internally for affections of the spleen and kidneys; and by females for the purpose of arresting flooding. It is employed too, to counteract the effects of poisons, and of stings inflicted by sea or land serpents; hence it is that it is so commonly used as an ingredient in antidotes.
CHAP. 15.—EGYPTIAN EARTH.Of the other kinds of rubrica, those of Egypt and Africa are of the greatest utility to workers in wood, from the fact of their being absorbed with the greatest rapidity. They are used also for painting, and are found in a native state in iron-mines.90
CHAP. 16.—OCHRA: REMEDIES DERIVED FROM RUBRICA.It is from rubrica also, that ochra91 is prepared, the rubrica being burnt92 in new earthen pots well luted with clay. The more highly it is calcined in the furnace, the better the colour is. All kinds of rubrica are of a desiccative nature, and hence it is that they are so useful for plasters, and as an application even for erysipelas.
CHAP. 17.—LEUCOPHORON.Half a pound of Pontic sinopis, ten pounds of bright sil,93 and two pounds of Greek melinum,94 well mixed and triturated together for twelve successive days, produce "leucophoron,"95 a cement used for applying gold-leaf to wood.
CHAP. 18.—PARÆTONIUM.Parætonium96 is so called from the place97 of that name in Egypt. It is sea-foam,98 they say, solidified with slime, and hence it is that minute shells are often found in it. It is prepared also in the Isle of Crete, and at Cyrenæ. At Rome, it is adulterated with Cimolian99 earth, boiled and thickened. The price of that of the highest quality is fifty denarii per six pounds. This is the most unctuous of all the white colours, and the most tenacious as a coating for plaster, the result of its smoothness.
CHAP. 19.—MELINUM: SIX REMEDIES. CERUSE.Melinum, too, is a white colour, the best being the produce of the Isle of Melos.100 It is found also in Samos; but this last kind is never used by painters, in consequence of its being too unctuous. The persons employed in extracting it, lie at full length upon the ground, and search for the veins among the rocks. In medicine it is employed for much the same purposes as eretria;101 in addition to which, it dries the tongue, acts as a depilatory, and has a soothing effect. The price of it is one sestertius per pound. The third of the white pigments is ceruse, the nature of which we have already102 explained when speaking of the ores of lead; there was also a native ceruse, formerly found on the lands of Theodotus at Smyrna, which the ancients made use of for painting ships. At the present day, all ceruse is prepared artificially, from lead and viuegar,103 as already stated.
CHAP. 20.—USTA.Usta104 was accidentally discovered at a fire in the Piræus, some ceruse having been burnt in the jars there. Nicias, the artist above-mentioned,105 was the first to use it. At the present day, that of Asia, known also as "purpurea," is considered the best. The price of it is six denarii per pound. It is prepared also at Rome by calcining marbled sil,106 and quenching it with vinegar. Without the use of usta shadows cannot be made.107
CHAP. 21.—ERETRIA.Eretria takes its name from the territory108 which produces it. Nicomachus109 and Parrhasius made use of it. In a medicinal point of view, it is cooling and emollient. In a calcined state, it promotes the cicatrization of wounds, is very useful as a desiccative, and is particularly good for pains in the head, and for the detection of internal suppurations. If the earth, when applied110 with water, does not dry with rapidity, the presence of purulent matter is apprehended.
CHAP. 22.—SANDARACH.According to Juba, sandarach and ochra are both of them productions of the island of Topazus,111 in the Red Sea; but neither of them are imported to us from that place. The mode of preparing sandarach we have described112 already: there is a spurious kind also, prepared by calcining ceruse in the furnace. This substance, to be good, ought to be of a flame colour; the price of it is five asses per pound.
CHAP. 23.—SANDYX.Calcined with an equal proportion of rubrica, sandarach forms sandyx;113 although I perceive that Virgil, in the following line,114 has taken sandyx to be a plant—
"Sandyx itself shall clothe the feeding lambs." The price of sandyx115 is one half that of sandarach; these two colours being the heaviest of all in weight.
CHAP. 24.—SYRICUM.Among the artificial colours, too, is syricum, which is used as an under-coating for minium, as already116 stated. It is prepared from a combination of sinopis with sandyx.
CHAP. 25.—ATRAMENTUM.Atramentum,117 too, must be reckoned among the artificial colours, although it is also derived in two ways from the earth. For sometimes it is found exuding from the earth like the brine of salt-pits, while at other times an earth itself of a sulphurous colour is sought for the purpose. Painters, too, have been known to go so far as to dig up half-charred bones118 from the sepulchres for this purpose. All these plans, however, are new-fangled and troublesome; for this substance may be prepared, in numerous ways, from the soot that is yielded by the combustion of resin or pitch; so much so, indeed, that manufactories have been built on the principle of not allowing an escape for the smoke evolved by the process. The most esteemed black,119 however, that is made in this way, is prepared from the wood of the torch-pine. It is adulterated by mixing it with the ordinary soot from furnaces and baths, a substance which is also employed for the purpose of writing. Others, again, calcine dried wine-lees, and assure us that if the wine was originally of good quality from which the colour is made, it will bear comparison with that of indicum.120 Polygnotus and Micon, the most celebrated painters of Athens, made their black from grape-husks, and called it "tryginon."121 Apelles invented a method of preparing it from burnt ivory, the name given to it being "elephantinon." We have indicum also, a substance imported from India, the composition of which is at present unknown to me.122 Dyers, too, prepare an atramentum from the black inflorescence which adheres to the brazen dye-pans. It is made also from logs of torch-pine, burnt to charcoal and pounded in a mortar. The sæpia, too, has a wonderful property of secreting a black liquid;123 but from this liquid no colour is prepared. The preparation of every kind of atramentum is completed by exposure to the sun; the black, for writing, having an admixture of gum, and that for coating walls, an admixture of glue. Black pigment that has been dissolved in vinegar is not easily effaced by washing.
CHAP. 26.—PURPURISSUM.Among the remaining colours which, as already stated,124 owing to their dearness are furnished by the employer, purpurissum holds the highest rank. For the purpose of preparing it, argentaria or silver chalk125 is dyed along with purple126 cloth, it imbibing the colour more speedily than the wool. The best of all is that which, being thrown the very first into the boiling cauldron, becomes saturated with the dye in its primitive state. The next best in quality is that which has been put into the same liquor, after the first has been removed. Each time that this is done, the quality becomes proportionally deteriorated, owing, of course, to the comparative thinness of the liquid. The reason that the purpurissum of Puteoli is more highly esteemed than that of Tyre, Gætulia, or Laconia, places which produce the most precious kinds of purple, is the fact that it combines more readily with hysginum,127 and that it is made to absorb the colouring liquid of madder. The worst purpurissum is that of Lanuvium.128 The price of purpurissum is from one to thirty denarii per pound. Persons who use it in painting, place a coat of sandyx beneath; a layer on which of purpurissum with glair of egg, produces all the brilliant tints of minium. If, on the other hand, it is their object to make a purple, they lay a coat of cæruleum129 beneath, and purpurissum, with egg,130 upon it.
CHAP. 27.—INDICUM.Next in esteem to this is indicum,131 a production of India, being a slime132 which adheres to the scum upon the reeds there. When powdered, it is black in appearance, but when diluted in water it yields a marvellous combination of purple and cæruleum. There is another133 kind, also, which floats upon the surface of the pans in the purple dye-houses, being the scum which rises upon the purple dye. Persons who adulterate it, stain pigeons' dung with genuine indicum, or else colour Selinusian134 earth, or anularian135 chalk with woad. The proper way of testing indicum is by laying it on hot coals, that which is genuine producing a fine purple flame, and emitting a smell like that of sea-water while it smokes: hence it is that some are of opinion that it is gathered from the rocks on the sea-shore. The price of indicum is twenty denarii per pound. Used medicinally, it alleviates cold shiverings and defluxions, and acts as a desiccative upon sores.
CHAP. 28.—ARMENIUM; ONE REMEDY.Armenia sends us the colouring substance which is known to us by its name.136 This also is a mineral, which admits of being dyed, like chrysocolla,137 and is best when it most closely resembles that substance, the colour being pretty much that of cæruleum. In former times it was sold at thirty sesterces per pound; but there has been found of late in the Spanish provinces a sand which admits of a similar preparation, and consequently armenium has come to be sold so low as at six denarii per pound. It differs from cæruleum in a certain degree of whiteness, which causes the colour it yields to be thinner in comparison. The only use made of it in medicine is for the purpose of giving nourishment to the hair, that of the eyelids in particular.
CHAP. 29.—APPIANUM.There are also two colours of very inferior quality, which have been recently discovered. One of these is the green known as "appianum,"138 a fair imitation of chrysocolla; just as though we had not had to mention sufficient of these counterfeits already. This colour, too, is prepared from a green chalk, the usual price of it being one sesterce per pound.
CHAP. 30.—ANULARIAN WHITE.The other colour is that known as "anularian139 white;" being used for giving a brilliant whiteness to the figures of females.140 This, too, is prepared from a kind of chalk, combined with the glassy paste which the lower classes wear in their rings:141 hence it is, that it has the name "anulare."
CHAP. 31. (7.)—WHICH COLOURS DO NOT ADMIT OF BEING LAID ON A WET COATING.Those among the colours which require a dry, cretaceous, coating,142 and refuse to adhere to a wet surface, are purpurissum, indicum, cæruleum,143 melinum, orpiment, appianum, and ceruse. Wax, too, is stained with all these colouring substances for encaustic painting;144 a process which does not admit of being applied to walls, but is in common use145 by way of ornament for ships of war, and, indeed, merchant-ships at the present day. As we go so far as to paint these vehicles of danger, no one can be surprised if we paint our funeral piles as well, or if we have our gladiators conveyed in handsome carriages to the scene of death, or, at all events, of carnage. When we only contemplate this extensive variety of colours, we cannot but admire the ingenuity displayed by the men of former days.
CHAP. 32.—WHAT COLOURS WERE USED BY THE ANCIENTS IN PAINTING.It was with four colours only,146 that Apelles,147 Echion, Melanthius, and Nicomachus, those most illustrous painters, executed their immortal works; melinum148 for the white, Attic sil149 for the yellow, Pontic sinopis for the red, and atramentum for the black;150 and yet a single picture of theirs has sold before now for the treasures of whole cities. But at the present day, when purple is employed for colouring walls even, and when India sends to us the slime151 of her rivers, and the corrupt blood of her dragons152 and her elephants, there is no such thing as a picture of high quality produced. Everything, in fact, was superior at a time when the resources of art were so much fewer than they now are. Yes, so it is; and the reason is, as we have already stated,153 that it is the material, and not the efforts of genius, that is now the object of research.
CHAP. 33.—AT WHAT TIME COMBATS OF GLADIATORS WERE FIRST PAINTED AND PUBLICLY EXHIBITED.One folly, too, of this age of ours, in reference to painting, I must not omit. The Emperor Nero ordered a painting of himself to be executed upon canvass, of colossal proportions, one hundred and twenty feet in height; a thing till then unknown.154 This picture was just completed when it was burnt by lightning, with the greater part of the gardens of Maius, in which it was exhibited. A freedman of the same prince, on the occasion of his exhibiting a show of gladiators at Antium, had the public porticos hung, as everybody knows, with paintings, in which were represented genuine portraits of the gladiators and all the other assistants. Indeed, at this place, there has been a very prevailing taste for paintings for many ages past. C. Terentius Lucanus was the first who had combats of gladiators painted for public exhibition: in honour of his grandfather, who had adopted him, he provided thirty pairs of gladiators in the Forum, for three consecutive days, and exhibited a painting of their combats in the Grove of Diana.155
CHAP. 34. (8.)—THE AGE OF PAINTING; WITH THE NAMES OF THE MORE CELEBRATED WORKS AND ARTISTS, FOUR HUNDRED AND FIVE IN NUMBER.I shall now proceed to enumerate, as briefly as possible, the more eminent among the painters; it not being consistent with the plan of this work to go into any great lengths of detail. It must suffice therefore, in some cases, to name the artist in a cursory manner only, and with reference to the account given of others; with the exception, of course, of the more famous pro- ductions of the pictorial art, whether still in existence or now lost, all of which it will be only right to take some notice of. In this department, the ordinary exactness of the Greeks has been somewhat inconsistent, in placing the painters so many Olympiads after the statuaries and toreutic156 artists, and the very first of them so late as the ninetieth Olympiad; seeing that Phidias himself is said to have been originally a painter, and that there was a shield at Athens which had been painted by him: in addition to which, it is universally agreed that in the eighty-third Olympiad, his brother Panænus157 painted, at Elis,158 the interior of the shield of Minerva, which had been executed by Colotes,159 a disciple of Phidias and his assistant in the statue of the Olympian Jupiter.160 And then besides, is it not equally admitted that Candaules, the last Lydian king of the race of the Heraclidæ, very generally known also by the name of Myrsilus, paid its weight in gold for a picture by the painter Bularchus,161 which represented the battle fought by him with the Magnetes? so great was the estimation in which the art was already held. This circumstance must of necessity have happened about the period of our Romulus; for it was in the eighteenth Olympiad that Candaules perished, or, as some writers say, in the same year as the death of Romulus: a thing which clearly demonstrates that even at that early period the art had already become famous, and had arrived at a state of great perfection. If, then, we are bound to admit this conclusion, it must be equally evident that the commencement of the art is of much earlier date, and that those artists who painted in monochrome,162 and whose dates have not been handed down to us, must have flourished at even an anterior period; Hygiænon, namely, Dinias, Charmadas,163 Eumarus, of Athens, the first who distinguished the sexes164 in painting, and attempted to imitate every kind of figure; and Cimon165 of Cleonæ, who improved upon the inventions of Eumarus. It was this Cimon, too, who first invented foreshortenings,166 or in other words, oblique views of the figure, and who first learned to vary the features by representing them in the various attitudes of looking backwards, upwards, or downwards. It was he, too, who first marked the articulations of the limbs, indicated the veins, and gave the natural folds and sinuosities to drapery. Panænus, too, the brother of Phidias, even executed a painting167 of the battle fought by the Athenians with the Persians at Marathon: so common, indeed, had the employment of colours become, and to such a state of perfection had the art arrived, that he was able to represent, it is said, the portraits of the various generals who commanded at that battle, Miltiades, Callimachus, and Cynægirus, on the side of the Athenians, and, on that of the barbarians, Datis and Artaphernes.
CHAP. 35. (9.)—THE FIRST CONTEST FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE PICTORIAL ART.And not only this, but, during the time that Panænus flourished, there were contests in the pictorial art instituted at Corinth and Delphi. On the first occasion, Panænus himself entered the lists, at the Pythian Games, with Timagoras of Chalcis, by whom he was defeated; a circumstance which is recorded in some ancient lines by Timagoras himself, and an undoubted proof that the chroniclers are in error as to the date of the origin of painting. After these, and yet before the ninetieth Olympiad, there were other celebrated painters, Polygnotus of Thasos,168 for instance, who was the first to paint females in transparent drapery, and to represent the head covered with a parti-coloured head-dress. He, too, was the first to contribute many other improvements to the art of painting, opening the mouth, for example, showing the teeth, and throwing expression into the countenance, in place of the ancient rigidity of the features. There is a picture by this artist in the Portico169 of Pompeius, before the Curia that was built by him; with reference to which, there is some doubt whether the man represented with a shield is in the act of ascending or descending. He also embellished the Temple170 at Delphi, and at Athens the Portico known as the Pœcile;171 at which last he worked gratuitously, in conjunction with Micon,172 who received pay for his labours. Indeed Polygnotus was held in the higher esteem of the two; for the Amphictyons,173 who form the general Council of Greece, decreed that he should have his lodging furnished him at the public expense. There was also another Micon, distinguished from the first Micon by the surname of "the younger," and whose daughter Timarete174 also practised the art of painting.
CHAP. 36.—ARTISTS WHO PAINTED WITH THE PENCIL.In the ninetieth Olympiad lived Aglaophon,175 Cephisodorus, Erillus, and Evenor, the father of Parrhasius, one of the greatest of painters, and of whom we shall have to speak when we come to the period at which he flourished. All these were artists of note, but not sufficiently so to detain us by any further details, in our haste to arrive at the luminaries of the art; first among whom shone Apollodorus of Athens, in the ninety-third Olympiad. He was the first to paint objects as they really appeared; the first too, we may justly say, to confer glory176 by the aid of the pencil.177 Of this artist there is a Priest in Adoration, and an Ajax struck by Lightning, a work to be seen at Pergamus at the present day: before him, there is no painting of any artist now to be seen which has the power of rivetting the eye. The gates of art being now thrown open by Apollodorus, Zeuxis of Heraclea178 entered upon the scene, in the fourth year of the ninety-fifth Olympiad, destined to lead the pencil—for it is of the pencil that we are still speaking—a pencil for which there was nothing too arduous, to a very high pitch of glory. By some writers he is erroneously placed in the eighty-ninth Olympiad, a date that must of necessity be reserved for Demophilus of Himera and Neseus of Thasos, of one of whom, it is uncertain which, Zeuxis was the pupil. It was in reference to him that Apollodorus, above-mentioned, wrote a verse to the effect, that Zeuxis had stolen the art from others and had taken it all to himself.179 Zeuxis also acquired such a vast amount of wealth, that, in a spirit of ostentation, he went so far as to parade himself at Olympia with his name embroidered on the checked pattern of his garments in letters of gold. At a later period, he came to the determination to give away his works, there being no price high enough to pay for them, he said. Thus, for instance, he gave an Alcmena to the people of Agrigentum, and a Pan to Archelaüs.180 He also painted a Penelope, in which the peculiar character of that matron appears to be delineated to the very life; and a figure of an athlete, with which he was so highly pleased, that he wrote beneath it the line which has since become so famous, to the effect that it would be easier to find fault with him than to imitate him.181 His Jupiter seated on the throne, with the other Deities standing around him, is a magnificent production: the same, too, with his Infant Hercules strangling the Dragons, in presence of Amphitryon and his mother Alcmena, who is struck with horror. Still, however, Zeuxis is generally censured for making the heads and articulations of his figures out of proportion. And yet, so scrupulously careful was he, that on one occasion, when he was about to execute a painting for the people of Agrigentum,182 to be consecrated in the Temple of the Lacinian Juno there, he had the young maidens of the place stripped for examination, and selected five of them, in order to adopt in his picture the most commendable points in the form of each. He also painted some monochromes in white.183 The contemporaries and rivals of Zeuxis were Timanthes, Androcydes, Eupompus, and Parrhasius. (10.) This last, it is said, entered into a pictorial contest with Zeuxis, who represented some grapes, painted so naturally that the birds flew towards the spot where the picture was exhibited. Parrhasius, on the other hand, exhibited a curtain, drawn with such singular truthfulness, that Zeuxis, elated with the judgment which had been passed upon his work by the birds, haughtily demanded that the curtain should be drawn aside to let the picture be seen. Upon finding his mistake, with a great degree of ingenuous candour he admitted that he had been surpassed, for that whereas he himself had only deceived the birds, Parrhasius had deceived him, an artist. There is a story, too, that at a later period, Zeuxis having painted a child carrying grapes, the birds came to peck at them; upon which, with a similar degree of candour, he expressed himself vexed with his work, and exclaimed—" I have surely painted the grapes better than the child, for if I had fully succeeded in the last, the birds would have been in fear of it." Zeuxis executed some figures also in clay,184 the only works of art that were left behind at Ambracia, when Fulvius Nobilior185 transported the Muses from that city to Rome. There is at Rome a Helena by Zeuxis, in the Porticos of Philippus,186 and a Marsyas Bound, in the Temple of Concord187 there. Parrhasius of Ephesus also contributed greatly to the progress of painting, being the first to give symmetry to his figures, the first to give play and expression to the features, elegance to the hair, and gracefulness to the mouth: indeed, for contour, it is universally admitted by artists that he bore away the palm. This, in painting, is the very highest point of skill. To paint substantial bodies and the interior of objects is a great thing, no doubt, but at the same time it is a point in which many have excelled: but to make the extreme outline of the figure, to give the finishing touches to the painting in rounding off the contour, this is a point of success in the art which is but rarely attained. For the extreme outline, to be properly executed, requires to be nicely rounded, and so to terminate as to prove the existence of something more behind it, and thereby disclose that which it also serves to hide. Such is the merit conceded to Parrhasius by Antigonus188 and Xenocrates,189 who have written on the art of painting; and in this as well as in other points, not only do they admit his excellence, but enlarge upon it in terms of the highest commendation. There are many pen sketches by him still in existence, both upon panel and on parchment, from the study of which, even artists, it is said, may greatly profit. Notwithstanding these points of excellence, however, Parrhasius seems comparatively inferior to himself in giving the proper expression to the middle of the body. In his allegorical picture of the People of Athens, he has displayed singular ingenuity in the treatment of his subject; for in representing it, he had to depict it as at once fickle, choleric, unjust, and versatile; while, again, he had equally to show its attributes of implacability190 and clemency, compassionateness and pride, loftiness and humility, fierceness and timidity— and all these at once. He painted a Theseus also, which was formerly in the Capitol at Rome, a Naval Commander191 wearing a cuirass, and, in one picture, now at Rhodes, figures of Meleager, Hercules, and Perseus. This last painting, though it has been thrice struek by lightning, has escaped being effaced, a circumstance which tends to augment the admiration which it naturally excites. He painted an Archigallus192 also, a picture which the Emperor Tiberius greatly admired. According to Deculo,193 that prince had it shut up in his chamber, the price at which it was valued being six hundred thousand sesterces. Parrhasius also painted a Thracian Nurse, with an Infant in her arms, a Philiscus,194 a Father Liber195 attended by Virtue, Two Children, in which we see pourtrayed the careless simplicity of childhood, and a Priest attended by a Boy, with a censer and chaplet. There are also two most noble pictures by him; one of which represents a Runner196 contending for the prize, completely armed, so naturally depicted that he has all the appearance of sweating. In the other we see the Runner taking off his armour, and can fancy that we hear him panting aloud for breath. His Æneas, Castor, and Pollux, all represented in the same picture, are highly praised; his Telephus also, and his Achilles, Agamemnon, and Ulysses. Parrhasius was a most prolific artist, but at the same time there was no one who enjoyed the glory conferred upon him by his talent with greater insolence and arrogance. It was in this spirit, that he went so far as to assume certain surnames, and to call himself "Habrodiætus;"197 while in some other verses he declared himself to be the "prince of painters," and asserted that in him the art had arrived at perfection. But above all things, it was a boast with him that he had sprung from the lineage of Apollo, and that he had painted his Hercules, a picture now at Lindos, just as he had often seen him in his sleep. It was in this spirit, too, that upon being defeated by Timanthes, at Samos, by a great majority of votes, the subject of the picture being Ajax and the Award of the Arms,198 he declared, in the name of his hero, that he felt himself quite disgraced on thus seeing himself a second time defeated by an unworthy opponent. He painted also some smaller pictures of an immodest nature, indulging his leisure in such prurient fancies as these.199 As to Timanthes,200 he was an artist highly gifted with genius, and loud have some of the orators201 been in their commendations of his Iphigenia, represented as she stands at the altar awaiting her doom. Upon the countenance of all present, that of her uncle202 in particular, grief was depicted; but having already exhausted all the characteristic features of sorrow, the artist adopted the device of veiling the features of the victim's father,203 finding himself unable adequately to give expression to his feelings. There are also some other proofs of his genius, a Sleeping Cyclops, for instance, which he has painted upon a small panel; but, being desirous to convey an idea of his gigantic stature, he has painted some Satyrs near him measuring his thumb with a thyrsus. Indeed, Timanthes is the only one among the artists in whose works there is always something more implied by the pencil than is expressed, and whose execution, though of the very highest quality, is always surpassed by the inventiveness of his genius. He has also painted the figure of a Hero, a master-piece of skill, in which he has carried the art to the very highest pitch of per- fection, in the delineation of the warrior: this last-mentioned work is now at Rome, in the Temple of Peace.204 It was at this period, too, that Euxinidas had for his pupil Aristides,205 who became a most illustrious artist; and that Eupompus instructed Pamphilus, who afterwards became the instructor of Apelles. There is by Eupompus, a Victor in a gymnastic contest, holding a palm. So high was the reputation of this artist, that he established a school of painting, and so divided the art into three styles; whereas till then there had been but two, known respectively as the Helladic206 and the Asiatic. In honour of him, a native of Sicyon by birth, the Helladic school was divided into two, and from this period there were three distinct styles recognized, the Ionic, the Sicyonian, and the Attic. We have, by Pamphilus,207 a picture representing the Alliance and the Battle that was fought at Phlius;208 the Victory209 also that was gained by the Athenians, and a representation of Ulysses in his ship. He was a Macedonian by birth, but was the first painter who was also skilled in all the other sciences, arithmetic and geometry more particularly, without the aid of which he maintained that the pictorial art could not attain perfection. He gave instruction to no one for a smaller sum than one talent, at the rate of five hundred denarii per annum,210 and this fee both Apelles and Melanthius paid. It was through his influence that, first at Sicyon, and then throughout the whole of Greece, all children of free birth were taught the graphic211 art, or in other words, the art of depicting upon boxwood, before all others; in consequence of which this came to be looked upon as the first step in the liberal arts. It is the fact, however, that this art has always been held in high estimation, and cultivated by persons of free birth, and that, at a more recent period, men of rank even began to pursue it; it having always been forbidden that slaves should receive instruction in it. Hence it is, that neither in painting nor in the toreutic212 art has there been any celebrated work executed by a slave. In the hundred and seventh Olympiad, flourished Aëtion and Therimachus.213 By the former we have some fine pictures; a Father Liber,214 Tragedy and Comedy, Semiramis from the rank of a slave elevated to the throne, an Old Woman bearing torches, and a New-made Bride, remarkable for the air of modesty with which she is pourtrayed. But it was Apelles215 of Cos, in the hundred and twelfth Olympiad, who surpassed all the other painters who either preceded or succeeded him. Single-handed, he contributed more to painting than all the others together, and even went so far as to publish some treatises on the principles of the art. The great point of artistic merit with him was his singular charm of gracefulness,216 and this too, though the greatest of painters were his contemporaries. In admiring their works and bestowing high eulogiums upon them, he used to say that there was still wanting in them that ideal of beauty217 so peculiar to himself, and known to the Greeks as "Charis;"218 others, he said, had acquired all the other requisites of perfection, but in this one point he himself had no equal. He also asserted his claim to another great point of merit: admiring a picture by Protogenes, which bore evident marks of unbounded laboriousness and the most minute finish, he remarked that in every respect Protogenes was fully his equal, or perhaps his superior, except in this, that he himself knew when to take his hand off a picture—a memorable lesson, which teaches us that over-carefulness may be productive of bad results. His candour too, was equal to his talent; he acknowledged the superiority of Melanthius in his grouping, and of Asclepiodorus in the niceness of his measurements, or, in other words, the distances that ought to be left between the objects represented. A circumstance that happened to him in connection with Protogenes is worthy of notice. The latter was living at Rhodes, when Apelles disembarked there, desirous of seeing the works of a man whom he had hitherto only known by reputation. Accordingly, he repaired at once to the studio; Protogenes was not at home, but there happened to be a large panel upon the easel ready for painting, with an old woman who was left in charge. To his enquiries she made answer, that Protogenes was not at home, and then asked whom she should name as the visitor. "Here he is," was the reply of Apelles, and seizing a brush, he traced with colour upon the panel an outline of a singularly minute fineness. Upon his return, the old woman mentioned to Protogenes what had happened. The artist, it is said, upon remarking the delicacy of the touch, instantly exclaimed that Apelles must have been the visitor, for that no other person was capable of executing anything so exquisitely perfect. So saying, he traced within the same outline a still finer outline, but with another colour, and then took his departure, with instructions to the woman to show it to the stranger, if he returned, and to let him know that this was the person whom he had come to see. It happened as he anticipated; Apelles returned, and vexed at finding himself thus surpassed, he took up another colour and split219 both of the outlines, leaving no possibility of anything finer being executed. Upon seeing this, Protogenes admitted that he was defeated, and at once flew to the harbour to look for his guest. He thought proper, too, to transmit the panel to posterity, just as it was, and it always continued to be held in the highest admiration by all, artists in particular. I am told that it was burnt in the first fire which took place at Cæsar's palace on the Palatine Hill; but in former times I have often stopped to admire it. Upon its vast surface it contained nothing whatever except the three outlines, so remarkably fine as to escape the sight: among the most elaborate works of numerous other artists it had all the appearance of a blank space; and yet by that very fact it attracted the notice of every one, and was held in higher estimation than any other painting there. It was a custom with Apelles, to which he most tenaciously adhered, never to let any day pass, however busy he might be, without exercising himself by tracing some outline or other; a practice which has now passed into a proverb.220 It was also a practice with him, when he had completed a work, to exhibit it to the view of the passers-by in some exposed place;221 while he himself, concealed behind the picture, would listen to the criticisms that were passed upon it; it being his opinion that the judgment of the public was preferable to his own, as being the more discerning of the two. It was under these circumstances, they say, that he was censured by a shoemaker for having represented the shoes with one shoe-string too little. The next day, the shoemaker, quite proud at seeing the former error corrected, thanks to his advice, began to criticize the leg; upon which Apelles, full of indignation, popped his head out, and reminded him that a shoemaker should give no opinion beyond the shoes, a piece of advice which has equally passed into a proverbial saying.222 In fact, Apelles was a person of great amenity of manners, a circumstance which rendered him particularly agreeable to Alexander the Great, who would often come to his studio. He had forbidden himself, by public edict, as already stated,223 to be represented by any other artist. On one occasion, however, when the prince was in his studio, talking a great deal about painting without knowing anything about it, Apelles quietly begged that he would quit the sub- ject, telling him that he would get laughed at by the boys who were there grinding the colours: so great was the influence which he rightfully possessed over a monarch, who was otherwise of an irascible temperament. And yet, irascible as he was, Alexander conferred upon him a very signal mark of the high estimation in which he held him; for having, in his admiration of her extraordinary beauty, engaged Apelles to paint Pancaste undraped,224 the most beloved of all his concubines, the artist while so engaged, fell in love with her; upon which, Alexander, perceiving this to be the case, made him a present of her, thus showing himself, though a great king in courage, a still greater one in self-command, this action redounding no less to his honour than any of his victories. For in thus conquering himself, not only did he sacrifice his passions in favour of the artist, but even his affections as well; uninfluenced, too, by the feelings which must have possessed his favourite in thus passing at once from the arms of a monarch to those of a painter. Some persons are of opinion that Pancaste was the model of Apelles in his painting of Venus Anadyomene.225 It was Apelles too, who, courteous even to his rivals, first established the reputation of Protogenes at Rhodes. Held as he was in little estimation by his own fellow-countrymen, a thing that generally226 is the case, Apelles enquired of him what price he set upon certain finished works of his, which he had on hand. Upon Protogenes mentioning some very trifling sum or other, Apelles made him an offer of fifty talents, and then circulated a report that he was buying these works in order to sell them as his own. By this contrivance, he aroused the Rhodians to a better appreciation of the merits of their artist, and only consented to leave the pictures with them upon their offering a still larger price. He painted portraits, too, so exactly to the life, that a fact with which we are made acquainted by the writings of Apion the grammarian seems altogether incredible. One of those persons, he says, who divine events by the traits of the fea- tures, and are known as "metoposcopi,"227 was enabled, by an examination of his portraits, to tell the year of their death, whether past or future, of each person represented. Apelles had been on bad terms with Ptolemæus in former times, when they formed part of the suite of Alexander. After Ptolemæus had become king of Egypt, it so happened that Apolles was driven by the violence of a tempest to Alexandria. Upon this, some of his rivals fraudulently suborned a jester, who was attached to the court, to carry him an invitation to dine with the king. Accordingly, Apelles attended; upon which Ptolemæus was highly indignant, and, summoning before him his stewards228 of the household, requested that the artist would point out the one that had given him the invitation. Thus challenged, Apelles seized a piece of quenched charcoal that lay in the fire-place, and traced a likeness upon the wall, with such exactness, that the king, the moment he began it, recognized the features as those of the jester. He also painted a portrait of King Antigonus;229 and as that monarch was blind of one eye, he invented a method of concealing the defect. With this object, he painted him in profile, in order that what in reality was wanting to the person might have the semblance of being wanting to the picture rather, he making it his care to show that side of the face only which he could show without any defect. Among his works, too, there are some figures representing persons at the point of death; but it is not easy to say which of his productions are of the highest order of excellence. His Venus Rising from the Sea, known as the Venus Anadyomene,230 was consecrated by the late Emperor Augustus in the Temple231 of his father232 Cæsar; a work which has been cele- brated in certain Greek lines,233 which, though they have out- lived it, have perpetuated its fame.234 The lower part of the picture having become damaged, no one could be found to repair it; and thus did the very injury which the picture had sustained, redound to the glory of the artist. Time, however, and damp at last effaced the painting, and Nero, in his reign, had it replaced by a copy, painted by the hand of Dorotheus.235 Apelles also commenced another Venus for the people of Cos,236 which would have outshone even the former one; but death invidiously prevented its completion, nor could any one be found to complete the work in conformity with the sketches of the outline. He painted also, in the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, Alexander the Great wielding the Thunderbolts, a picture for which he received twenty talents of gold. The fingers have all the appearance of projecting from the surface, and the lightning seems to be darting from the picture. And then, too, let the reader bear in mind that all these works were executed by the aid of four237 colours only. The price paid in golden coin for this picture was ascertained by weight,238 there being no specific sum agreed upon. He also painted a Procession of the Megabyzus,239 the priest of Diana at Ephesus; and a Clitus240 on Horseback, hastening to the combat, his Armour-bearer handing him his helmet at his command. How many times he painted Alexander and Philip, it would be quite superfluous to attempt to enumerate. At Samos, there is a Habron241 by him, that is greatly admired; at Rhodes a Menander,242 king of Caria, and an Ancæus;243 at Alexandria, a Gorgosthenes, the Tragedian; and at Rome, a Castor and Pollux, with figures of Victory and Alexander the Great, and an emblematical figure of War with her hands tied behind her, and Alexander seated in a triumphal car; both of which pictures the late Emperor Augustus, with a great degree of moderation244 and good taste, consecrated in the most frequented parts of his Forum: the Emperor Claudius, however, thought it advisable to efface the head of Alexander in both pictures, and substitute likenesses of his predecessor Augustus. It is by his hand too, it is generally supposed, that the Hercules, with the face averted, now in the Temple of Anna,245 was painted; a picture in which, one of the greatest difficulties in the art, the face, though hidden, may be said to be seen rather than left to the imagination. He also painted a figure of a naked246 Hero,247 a picture in which he has challenged Nature herself. There exists too, or did exist, a Horse that was painted by him for a pictorial contest; as to the merits of which, Apelles appealed from the judgment of his fellow-men to that of the dumb quadrupeds. For, finding that by their intrigues his rivals were likely to get the better of him, he had some horses brought, and the picture of each artist successively shown to them. Accordingly, it was only at the sight of the horse painted by Apelles that they began to neigh; a thing that has always been the case since, whenever this test of his artistic skill has been employed. He also painted a Neoptolemus248 on horse-back, fighting with the Persians; an Archeläus,249 with his Wife and Daughter; and an Antigonus on foot, with a cuirass on, and his horse led by his side. Connoisseurs in the art give the preference, before all other works of his, to his paintings of King Archeläus on horseback, and of Diana in the midst of a throng of Virgins performing a sacrifice; a work in which he would appear to have surpassed the lines250 of Homer descriptive of the same subject. He also portrayed some things, which in reality do not admit of being portrayed—thunder, lightning, and thunderbolts, in pictures which are known by the respective names of Bronte, Astrape, and Ceraunobolia. His inventions, too, in the art of painting, have been highly serviceable to others; but one thing there was in which no one could imitate him. When his works were finished, he used to cover them with a black varnish, of such remarkable thinness, that while by the reflection it gave more vivacity to the colours, and preserved them from the contact of dust and dirt, its existence could only be detected by a person when close enough to touch it.251 In addition to this, there was also this other great advantage attending it: the brightness of the colours was softened thereby, and harmonized to the sight, looking as though they had been viewed from a distance, and through a medium of specular-stone;252 the contrivance, by some indescribable means, giving a sombreness to colours which would otherwise have been too florid. One of the contemporaries of Apelles was Aristides253 of Thebes; the first of all the painters to give full expression to the mind254 and passions of man, known to the Greeks us ἤθη, as well as to the mental perturbations which we experience: he was somewhat harsh, however, in his colours. There is a picture by him of a Captured City, in which is represented an infant crawling toward the breast of its wounded mother, who, though at the point of death, has all the appearance of being aware of it, and of being in dread lest the child should suck blood in place of milk from her exhausted breast: this picture Alexander the Great ordered to be transferred to Pella, his native place. Aristides also painted a Battle with the Persians, a picture which contained one hundred figures, for each of which he was paid at the rate of ten minæ by Mnason, the tyrant of Elatea.255 He also painted Chariots with four horses in full career; a Suppliant, which almost speaks, Huntsmen with game; Leontion, the mistress of Epicurus; the Anapauomenc,256 a damsel pining to death from love for her brother; a Father Liber257 also, and an Artamene, two fine pictures now to be seen in the Temple of Ceres258 at Rome; a Tragedian and a Child, in the Temple of Apollo,259 a picture which has lost its beauty, owing to the unskilfulness of the painter to whom M. Junius, the prætor, entrusted the cleaning of it, about the period of the Apollinarian Games.260 There was also to be seen, in the Temple of Faith, in the Capitol, a picture of his, representing an Aged Man giving instructions to a Child on the lyre. He executed also a painting of an Invalid, upon which endless encomiums have been lavished. Indeed, so great was the excellence of this artist, that King Attalus, it is said, purchased one picture of his at the price of one hundred talents. At the same period261 flourished Protogenes, as already stated. He was a native of Caunus,262 a place held in subjection by the Rhodians. Great poverty in his early days, and extreme application to his art, were the causes of his comparative unproductiveness. It is not known with certainty from whom he received his instruction in the art: indeed some say that he was only a ship-decorator down to his fiftieth year; a proof of which, it is asserted, is the fact, that in decorating the Propylæum263 of the Temple of Minerva, situate in one of the most celebrated spots in Athens, where he has painted the fine picture264 of Paralus and Hammonias, known by some as the Nausicaa, he has added in the side pieces of the picture, by painters called "parerga," several small ships of war;265 wishing thereby to show in what department that skill had first manifested itself which had thus reached the citadel of Athens, the scene of his glory. Of all his compositions, however, the palm has been awarded to his Ialysus,266 now at Rome, consecrated in the Temple of Peace there. So long as he was at work upon it, he lived, it is said, upon nothing but soaked lupines; by which means he at once appeased both hunger and thirst, and avoided all risk of blunting his perception by too delicate a diet. In order to protect this picture against the effects of ill-usage and old age, he painted it over four times,267 so that when an upper coat might fail, there would be an under one to succeed it. There is in this picture the figure of a dog, which was completed in a very remarkable manner, inasmuch as accident had an equal share with design in the execution of it. The painter was of opinion that he had not given the proper expression to the foam at the mouth of the animal, panting for breath, as it was represented; while, with all other parts of the picture, a thing extremely difficult with him, he was perfectly satisfied. The thing that displeased him was, the evident traces of art in the execution of it, touches which did not admit of any diminution, and yet had all the appearance of being too laboured, the effect produced being far removed from his conception of the reality: the foam, in fact, bore the marks of being painted, and not of being the natural secretion of the animal's mouth. Vexed and tormented by this dilemma, it being his wish to depict truth itself, and not something that only bore a semblance of truth, he effaced it again and again, changed his pencil for another, and yet by no possibility could satisfy himself. At last, quite out of temper with an art, which, in spite of him, would still obtrude itself, he dashed his sponge against the vexatious spot; when behold: the sponge replaced the colours that it had just removed, exactly in accordance with his utmost wishes, and thus did chance represent Nature in a painting. Following his example, Nealces,268 it is said, succeeded in representing the foam at a horse's mouth; for on one occasion, when engaged in painting a man holding in a pair of horses and soothing them with his voice,269 he also dashed his sponge against the picture, with the view of producing a like effect. It was on account of this Ialysus, which he was apprehensive of destroying, that King Demetrius270 forbore to set fire to the only side of the city of Rhodes by which it was capable of being taken; and thus, in his anxiety to spare a picture, did he lose his only opportunity of gaining a victory. The dwelling of Protogenes at this period was situate in a little garden in the suburbs, or in other words, in the midst of the camp of Demetrius. The combats that were taking place made no difference whatever to the artist, and in no way interrupted his proceeding with the works which he had commenced; until at last he was summoned before the king, who enquired how he could have the assurance thus to remain without the walls. "Because I know," was his answer, "that you are waging war with the Rhodians, and not with the arts." Upon this, the king, delighted at having the opportunity of protecting the hand which he had thus spared, ordered a guard to be placed at his disposal for the especial purpose of his protection. In order, too, that he might not distract the artist's attention by sending for him too often, he would often go, an enemy albeit, to pay him a visit, and, abandoning his aspirations for victory, in the midst of arms and the battering down of walls, would attentively examine the compositions of the painter. Even to this day, the story is still attached to the picture which he was then engaged upon, to the effect, that Protogenes painted it beneath the sword. It is his Satyr, known as the "Anapauomenos;"271 in whose hand, to mark the sense of security that he felt, the painter has placed a pair of pipes. Protogenes executed also, a Cydippe; a Tlepolemus; a portrait of Philiscus, the tragic poet, in an attitude of meditation; an Athlete; a portrait of King Antigonus, and one of the mother of Aristotle.272 It was this philosopher too, who advised him to paint the exploits of Alexander the Great, as being certain to be held in everlasting remembrance. The impulse, however, of his natural disposition, combined with a certain artistic caprice, led him in preference to adopt the various subjects which have just been mentioned. His last works were representations of Alexander and the god Pan. He also executed some figures in bronze, as already273 stated. At the same period also, lived Asclepiodorus,274 who was greatly admired by Apelles for his proportions. The tyrant Mnason275 paid him, for his picture of the Twelve Gods, at the rate of thirty minæ for each divinity. This same Mnason also paid Theomnestus twenty minæ for each of his Heroes. In addition to these, it is only proper to mention Nicomachus,276 the son and disciple of Aristiæus. He painted a Rape of Proserpina, a picture that was formerly in the Temple of Minerva in the Capitol, above the shrine of Juventas.277 Another picture of his was to be seen also in the Capitol, placed there by the Roman general Plancus,278 a Victory soaring aloft in a chariot: he was the first painter who represented Ulysses wearing the pileus.279 He painted also an Apollo and Diana; the Mother280 of the Gods seated on a Lion; the fine picture of the Bacchantes, with Satyrs moving stealthily towards them; and a Scylla, now at Rome in the Temple of Peace. No painter ever worked with greater rapidity than Nicomachus; indeed it is said, that on one occasion having entered into an engagement with Aristratus,281 the tyrant of Sicyon, to paint within a given time the monument which he was raising to the memory of the poet Telestis,282 the artist only arrived a few days before the expiration of the term; upon which, the tyrant was so angry that he threatened to punish him: however, in the few days that were left, Nicomachus, to the admiration of all, completed the work, with equal promptitude and success. Among his pupils, were his brother Ariston, his son Aristides, and Philoxenus of Eretria, who painted for King Cassander a picture representing one of the battles between Alexander and Darius, a work which may bear comparison with any. He also painted a picture in grotesque, representing Three Sileni at their revels. Imitating the celerity of execution displayed by his master, he introduced a more sketchy style of painting, executed in a comparatively off-hand manner.283 To these artists Nicophanes284 has also been added, an elegant and finished painter, to whom for gracefulness few can be compared, but for a severe and tragic style far inferior to Zeuxis or Apelles. Perseus also belongs to this period, a pupil of Apelles, who dedicated to him his work on painting. Aristides of Thebes had for pupils his sons Niceros and Ariston. By the latter of these artists, there is a Satyr crowned with a chaplet and holding a goblet: two of his pupils were Antorides and Euphranor, of the latter of whom we shall have to make mention again.285
CHAP. 37.—VARIOUS OTHER KINDS OF PAINTING.We must now, however, make some mention of those artists who acquired fame by the pencil in an inferior style of painting. Among these was Piræicus, inferior to few of the painters in skill. I am not sure that he did not do injustice to himself by the choice of his subjects,286 seeing that, although he adopted an humble walk, he still attained in that walk the highest reputation. His subjects were barbers' shops, cobblers' stalls, jackasses, eatables, and the like, and to these he was indebted for his epithet of "Ithyparographos."287 His paintings, however, are exquisitely pleasing, and have sold at higher prices than the very largest works of many masters. On the other hand again, as Varro tells us, a single picture by Serapio covered the whole space of the balustrades,288 beneath the Old Shops,289 where it was exhibited. This artist was very successful in painting stage-scenery, but was unable to depict the human form. Dionysius,290 on the contrary, painted nothing but men, and hence it was that he had the surname of "Anthropographos."291 Callicles292 also painted some small pictures, and Calates executed some small works in the comic style. Both of these styles were adopted by Antiphilus;293 who painted a very fine Hesione, and a Philip and Alexander with Minerva, now in the School of the Porticos294 of Octavia. In the Portico of Philippus,295 also, there is a Father Liber296 by him; an Alexander when a child; and an Hippolytus alarmed at the Bull, which is rushing upon him:297 and in the Portico of Pompeius298 we have his Cadmus and Europa. On the other hand, again, he painted a figure in a ridiculous costume, known jocosely as the Gryllus; and hence it is that pictures of this class299 are generally known as "Grylli." Antiphilus was a native of Egypt, and received instruction in the art from Ctesidemus.300 It would not be right to pass in silence the painter of the Temple at Ardea,301 the more particularly as he was honoured with the citizenship at that place, and with the following inscription in verse upon one of the paintings which he executed there:
"These paintings, worthy of this worthy place,
Temple of Juno, queen, and wife of Jove,
Plautius Marcus,302 from Alalia, made.
May Ardea now and ever praise him for his skill." These lines are written in ancient Latin characters. Ludius too, who lived in the time of the late Emperor Augustus, must not be allowed to pass without some notice; for he was the first to introduce the fashion of covering the walls of our houses with most pleasing landscapes, representing villas, porticos, ornamental gardening, woods, groves, hills, fishponds, canals,303 rivers, sea-shores, and anything else one could desire; varied with figures of persons walking, sailing, or proceeding to their villas, on asses or in carriages. Then. too, there are others to be seen fishing, fowling, or gathering in the vintage. In some of his decorations there are fine villas to be seen, and roads to them across the marshes, with women making304 bargains to be carried across on men's shoulders, who move along slipping at every step and tottering beneath their load; with numberless other subjects of a similar nature, redolent of mirth and of the most amusing ingenuity. It was this artist, too, who first decorated our uncovered305 edifices with representations of maritime cities, a subject which produces a most pleasing effect, and at a very trifling expense. But as for fame, that has been reserved solely for the artists who have painted pictures; a thing that gives us all the more reason to venerate the prudence displayed by the men of ancient times. For with them, it was not the practice to decorate the walls of houses, for the gratification of the owners only; nor did they lavish all their resources upon a dwelling which must of necessity always remain a fixture in one spot, and admits of no removal in case of conflagration. Protogenes was content with a cottage in his little garden; Apelles had no paintings on the plaster of his walls; it not being the fashion in their day to colour the party-walls of houses from top to bottom. With all those artists, art was ever watchful for the benefit of whole cities only, and in those times a painter was regarded as the common property of all. Shortly before the time of the late Emperor Augustus, Arellius was in high esteem at Rome; and with fair reason, had he not profaned the art by a disgraceful piece of profanity; for, being always in love with some woman or other, it was his practice, in painting goddesses, to give them the features of his mistresses; hence it is, that there were always some figures of prostitutes to be seen in his pictures. More recently, lived Amulius,306 a grave and serious personage, but a painter in the florid style. By this artist there was a Minerva, which had the appearance of always looking at the spectators, from whatever point it was viewed. He only painted a few hours each day, and then with the greatest gravity, for he always kept the toga on, even when in the midst of his implements. The Golden Palace307 of Nero was the prison-house of this artist's productions, and hence it is that there are so few of them to be be seen elsewhere. Next in repute to him were Cornelius Pinus and Attius Priscus, who painted the Temple of Honour and that of Virtue,308 on their restoration by the Emperor Vespasianus Augustus. Priscus approaches more closely to the ancient masters.