Ancient Greek Art and Its 10 Famous Artists That Shaped History
Antiquity - the art of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome from 9 BC to 4 AD - had the greatest influence on the culture of subsequent generations. The cradle of ancient culture was Ancient Greece, a land in the Mediterranean. Here the "Greek miracle" was born and flourished, a gigantic spiritual culture that has retained its influence and charm for millennia.
A special place in Greek painting belongs to the paintings on vases. The most common types of vases are an amphora and a krater.
In the oldest vases, silhouettes of people and animals were painted with black varnish on the burnt red clay surface. The outlines of details were scratched on them with a needle, and therefore they appeared in the form of thin red lines. Such items were called black-figure vases.
Later Greeks began to leave the figures in red, and the gaps between them were painted over with black. In that way, it was more convenient to draw the details because they were made on a red background with black lines. Such vases were called red-figure vases.
Plots for vases were drawn from numerous myths about gods and heroes, festivities and sports were depicted on vases. Thanks to these paintings, we learn about the life of the ancient Greeks, their appearance, household items, customs.
Unfortunately, Hellenistic painting has not come down to the present. Everyone knows Greek sculpture, but neither paintings nor portraits of Greek artists have been preserved. All we know about this art is the descriptions of historians and Roman copies of individual works.
Among the most famous classical Greek painters of the 5th century were:
1. Apollodorus. He received the nickname "skiograph", that is, "shadow painter", as he was the first to transfer shadows and use halftones and became the forerunner of illusionism in art);
2. Zeuxis of Heraclea, Apollodorus’s well-known disciple. He was famous for painting on easels, not on walls);
3. Agatharchos was the first Greek painter who created graphic perspective in paintings);
4. Parrhasius was best known for his drawings. He also depicted Theseus in the Roman Capitol);
5. Timarete was one of the greatest Greek female artists who preferred art to housework and traditional family life. She created a famous panel depicting the goddess Diana in Ephesus).
The Late Classic period became the apogee of ancient Greek painting. At that time, the Macedonian Empire flourished under the ruling of Alexander the Great, and Athens kept its status of the dominant cultural center of the Ancient World.
6. Apelles of Kos was the official artist of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. He is considered to be the most talented and influential artist of that period. Apelles was the only artist who the two emperors allowed to create their portraits. He got the fame for using coloring techniques, shading and highlighting in a new way.
Other outstanding artists of Ancient Greece were:
7. Antifil was capable of rendering light and shadow, too. He specialized in painting caricatures, which was also very remarkable.
8. Protogenes was an artist known for his incredible attention to details;
9. Euphranor of Corinth was the only classical Creek artist who created successful artworks both in painting and in sculpture;
10. Androkid of Cyzicus was a painter depicting historical scenes, and in particular, the Battle of Plataea).
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