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Μελάνθιος, Μέλανθος), or MELANTHUS, an eminent Greek painter of the Sicyonian school, was contemporary with Apelles (B. C. 332), with whom he studied under Pamphilus, and whom he was considered even to excel in one respect, namely, in composition or grouping (dispositio). Quinctilian praises his ratio, by which perhaps he means the same thing. (Plin. Nat. 35.10. s. 36. §§ 8, 10, adopting in the latter passage the reading of the Bamberg MS., which Brotier had previously suggested, Melanthio for Amphioni; Quinctil. 12.10.)

He was one of the best colourists of all the Greek painters: Pliny mentions him as one of the four great painters who made " immortal works " with only four colours. (H. N. 35.7. s. 32; comp. Dict. of Ant. s. v. Colores.) The only one of his pictures mentioned is the portrait of Aristratus, tyrant of Sicyon, riding in a triumphal chariot, which was painted by Melanthius and his pupils, and some parts of which were said to have been touched by the hand of Apelles; and respecting the fate of which a curious story is quoted from Polemon by Plutarch (Plut. Arat. 13); from whom also we learn the high esteem in which the pictures of Melanthius were held. (Ibid. 12; comp. Plin. Nat. 35.7. s. 32.) Melanthius wrote a work upon his art (περὶ ζωγραφικῆς), from which a passage is quoted by Diogenes (4.18), and which Pliny cites among the authorities for the 35th book of his Natural History.


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332 BC (1)
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  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 35.10
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 35.7
    • Plutarch, Aratus, 13
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