Polygnotus


Polygnotus
/pol'ig noh"teuhs/, n.
fl. c450 B.C., Greek painter.

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or Polygnotos

born с 500, Thasos, Thrace
died с 440 BC, Athens, Greece

Greek painter.

None of his works are extant, but accounts exist of monumental wall paintings in a severely Classical style at the hall of the Cnidians at Delphi: Sack of Troy and Ulysses Visiting Hades. His compositions were noted for the expression of emotion on faces and for the distribution of figures throughout the composition rather than on a single base line, as was the convention of the day.

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▪ Greek artist
born c. 500 BC, Thasos, Thrace
died c. 440 BC, Athens

      painter famed for his large monumental wall paintings in a severely classical style, none of which is extant. He lived in Athens and eventually acquired citizenship.

      The Greek traveler Pausanias left an account of two paintings in the hall of the Cnidian at Delphi: the “Iliupersis” (“Sack of Troy”) and the “Nekyia” (“Ulysses Visiting Hades”). Idealized figures approximately life size were freely distributed within the composition: in Greek painting of the first half of the 5th century BC this method represents an innovation, though precedents existed elsewhere, notably in Assyrian art. It constitutes a break with the ancient Greek principle of arranging figures on a single base line; Polygnotus replaced the horizontal base lines by irregular mounting or descending terrain lines. Comparable representations can be found in contemporary vase paintings, perhaps under his influence. There was no unifying perspective in the modern sense; the individual figure remained the focus of interest even when several figures were grouped together. Stateliness was paired with subtlety of detail: delicate headdresses of women, transparent garments, mouths with parted lips uncovering the teeth. Polygnotus employed sharp foreshortening and four basic colours: black, white, red, and ochre. The “ethos,” which later critics, including Aristotle (Poetics, ch. 6), valued so highly in his work, indicates a concept of character as an innate disposition, governing the actions and manifest in a person's outward bearing.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • POLYGNOTUS — patriâ Thasius, floruit Olymp. 93. pictor antiquissimus. Quintil. l. 12. c. 10. et Plin. l. 33. c. 13. et l. 34. c. 8. et l. 35. c. 6. 9. et 11. Videndi quoque sunt Plutarch. in Cimone, Pausan. l. 10. et Aelian. l. 4. Var. Hist. c. 3. Item… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Polygnotus — [päl΄ig nōt′əs] 5th cent. B.C.; Gr. painter …   English World dictionary

  • Polygnotus — biographical name circa 500 circa 440 B.C. Greek painter …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • POLYGNOTUS —    an early Greek painter, born in Thasos, and settled in Athens 463 B.C.; is considered the founder of historical painting, and is praised especially by Aristotle, who pays a high tribute to him; was the first to attempt portrait painting and… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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