Another branch of painting which began to attain importance in the time of Polygnotus was scene-painting for theatrical performances. It may be, as has been conjectured, that the impulse toward a style of work in which a greater degree of illusion was aimed at and secured came from this branch of the art. We read, at any rate, that one Agatharchus, a scene-painter who flourished about the middle of the fifth century, wrote a treatise which stimulated two philosophers to an investigation of the laws of perspective.
The most important technical advance, however, is attributed to Apollodorus of Athens, a painter of easel pictures. He departed from the old method of coloring in flat tints and introduced the practice of grading colors according to the play of light and shade. How successfully he managed this innovation we have no means of knowing; probably very imperfectly. But the step was of the utmost significance. It meant the abandonment of mere colored drawing and the creation of the genuine art of painting.
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