Greece Minor Arts Part 5

From the heroic head of Alexander the Great, provided with ram’s horns in the snaking locks of hair, on the coins of Lysimachus, king of Thrace (306-281), through the effigies of the Ptolemies, the Attalids, the Seleucids, the kings of Bactria and del Pontus, we arrive at the agitated, almost trembling profile from the fleeting front of Mithridates VI Eupator, the enemy of Rome, and we arrive at the eastern profile of Tigrane, king of Armenia and Syria. In all these princely faces there is a further documentation of the very great valor of the Hellenistic portrait; some, like the aforementioned face of Alexander, are masterpieces in the idealistic sense, others, like the face of the eunuch Phileter on coins of Eumenes I, king of Pergamum, of the wrinkled Midridate III of Pontus with a pronounced nose and receding chin, of Antimachus of Bactriana with a shrewd physiognomy with a very raised eyebrow arch, are masterpieces of a realistic sense. Nor are feminine faces missing: likeable, frank, with large eyes and a smiling mouth, it is the face of Philistis, wife of Gerone II of Syracuse.

The transformation, according to the artistic guidelines of Hellenism, of the types of sculpture of the century. IV can be evident in the tetradramma of Cnidus of 300 BC. Approximately, where Aphrodite’s head is a pale reflection of the head of the Praxitelean masterpiece in that city.

According to VAULTEDWATCHES, the art of glyptic, which seems to originate in Mesopotamia, where there are documents from the fourth millennium BC. C., reached a high degree of finesse and expression in Cretan art; but from the fresh naturalism of this one descends to the schematization of the last Mycenaean times, from which the transition to the geometric shapes of the so-called Hellenic Middle Ages is gradual. The technique also decays: the working of semiprecious stones with the wheel is interrupted, and we return to the handwork of soft stones. Forms of conical and rectangular stones are introduced from Egypt, while scarabs and scarabs appear, also of Egyptian derivation.

Not very numerous are the gems of the orientalizing period. Mycenaean traditions revive, such as, p. for example, in the stones of the island of Milo, while the semiprecious stones and the use of the wheel return. As for forms, in addition to the Egyptian scarab and the Mycenaean lenticular shapes, there are cylinders and cones. The figurative repertoire is zoomorphic and teratomorphic, with heraldic or antithetical groups. But the vigorous impulse of Greek art from the century. Vl a. C. is also reflected in the glyptic. The human figure is represented with freshness and spontaneity of expression, by now excelling over all other forms. The major center of the glyptic is Ionia. This increase is due to the very large use that was made of the seal, which was given exclusively by an engraved gem.

In this regard, the seal of Polycrates, tyrant of Samo, the work of the sculptor Samio Theodore, remained famous. It actually seems that in the century. VI Samo was one of the major centers of gem processing, because for that century there is mention of another gem engraver, also Samio, Mnesarco, father of the philosopher Pythagoras. The main form is that of the scarab and then that, derived, of the scarab.

Favorite figure of this archaic glyptic is that of Heracles, and common are the figures of Silenus, the Siren, the Sphinx; but generic and animal figures are far from rare. Near the end of the century. There is a notable progress in the performance of the human figure. A perspicuous example is the chalcedony with the signature of Epimene, now from the century. V is related to the sculptural art of Athens and Aegina, and in which there is the daring group of a young man holding a horse that is getting stiff by the reins: the foreshortening of the ephebic figure is beautiful. Other names of gem engravers are preserved: Semone, with a gem showing a woman at the fountain; Sirie, with the figure of a lyrist on a steatite; the name of Aristoteiche, which appears on a gem, perhaps designates its owner, not the author.

The Greek glyptic naturally reaches the highest degree of perfection during the fifth century, and mainly in the second half of it, when the same ideal conception of serene beauty, which is admired in great art, is fully manifested also in small gems.

Unfortunately, the harvest of glyptic products of this century is scarce, while the use of gems as seals is proved by passages by Sophocles (Trachinie, 614; Electra, 1222), by Euripides (Iphigenia in Aulis, 156; Hippolytus, 862), by Aristophanes (Nuvole, 331 ff.; Tesmoforiazuse, 413 ff.) And by the mention of numerous rings with seals in the inventories of Greek temples, for example the Parthenon. Ionia was succeeded by Athens, and with Athens by Magna Graecia and Sicily. The preferred form is no longer the scarab, but the large and large scarab, and the most frequently used stone is chalcedony; sometimes the glass paste is substituted for the stone. There are three stone engravers of the fifth century that we know from their signatures: Athenia and Pergamum, each on a single gem, and Dessameno di Chios, whose name occurs in four works, and whose activity can be placed as parallel to that of Phidias, and fix essentially in Athens. The two very fine heron figures on a chalcedony and a Crimean jasper, the graceful scene of a lady with the young slave girl on the Cambridge chalcedony, the portrait, all other than idealized, on the jasper of Kara (Attica) they are proof of the artistic power of Dessameno, who proves to be a multifaceted artist. We see that in this glyptic production one descends from the heroic heights of myth to generic figures and the animal world; but in the glyptic of the century. IV a. C. the figures of Aphrodite, Eros and Níkē appear treated in a singular way; this fully corresponds to the spirit of the century of Praxiteles, while, even in accordance with this spirit, when it comes to representations of everyday life, it is the feminine environment that is portrayed with greater predilection. There is in this century. IV a close relationship between the products of coinage and those of the glyptic, and perhaps the artists themselves minted coins and engraved gems; such are the cases known to us of Frigillo and Olimpio. The name of a third gem engraver, possibly to be identified with Onata, is indicated with hardly legible letters in the beautiful chalcedony of the British Museum with a Níkē raising a trophy. Then famous in the second half of the century. IV was Pirgotle, the court engraver of Alexander the Great. Manifestation of the glyptic derived from the Greek is that of the Greek-Persian gems of the second half of the century. V and the first half of the IV century a. C.; there are mixed Greek and Persian elements. They are works due to Greek engravers, who adjusted their artistic formulas to Persian subjects and types, with scenes from the daily life of Persian nobles and with valuable representations of animals. The art is open, lively, in a word it has the spirit of Ionia. with scenes from the daily life of Persian nobles and with valuable representations of animals. The art is open, lively, in a word it has the spirit of Ionia. with scenes from the daily life of Persian nobles and with valuable representations of animals. The art is open, lively, in a word it has the spirit of Ionia.

Greece Minor Arts 5