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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

F. B. Tarbell, A History of Ancient Greek Art

Greek Painting

The Francois vase

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HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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Page 2

Our illustration shows Dionysus (Bacchus), god of wine, with a wine-jar on his shoulder and what is meant for a vine-branch above him. Behind him walk three female figures, who are the personified Seasons. Last comes a group consisting of two Muses and a four-horse chariot bearing Zeus, the chief of the gods, and Hera, his wife.

The principle of isocephaly is observed on the vase as in a frieze of relief-sculpture (page 145). The figures are almost all drawn in profile, though the body is often shown more nearly from the front, e.g., in the case of the Seasons, and the eyes are always drawn as in front view. Out of the great multitude of figures on the vase there are only four in which the artist has shown the full face. Two of these are intentionally ugly Gorgons on the handles; the two others come within the limits of our specimen illustration. If Dionysus here appears almost like a caricature, that is only because the decorator is so little accustomed to drawing the face in front view.

There are other interesting analogies between the designs on the vase and contemporary reliefs. For example, the bodies, when not disguised by garments, show an unnatural smallness at the waist, the feet of walking figures are planted flat on the ground, and there are cases in which the body and neck are so twisted that the face is turned in exactly the opposite direction to the feet. On the whole, Clitias shows rather more skill than a contemporary sculptor, probably because of the two arts that of the vase- painter had been the longer cultivated.

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