Art has been used by humans as a form of expression for hundreds of thousands of years and art itself is even older than language. Before we could speak, we expressed ourselves through art in a variety of different forms. Fast forward to 700-480 B.C. in ancient Greece, during a time which is well-known for its art, architecture, and philosophy, and you’ll discover some of the world’s most impressive artists. Here we take a look at just 5 of the most famous artists from ancient Greece.
Similar to other ancient Greek artists, Apollodorus Skiagraphos drew inspiration from the Greek gods and goddesses, as well as poetry of the time. However, even though the subject of his work was commonplace, Apollodorus became one of the most influential artists of his time as he had a masterful control of shadow and a unique painting technique. Apollodorus’s unique style became known as skiagraphia – or shadow painting – and made use of highlighted areas to provide the illusion of both shadow and volume.
Cimon of Cleonae
Cimon of Cleonae may have been one of the earliest painters in ancient Greece, but he quickly became famous for the style in which he portrayed human figures with almost real-life accuracy. Having developed a way to represent figures with their bodies focused in various directions, Cimon of Cleonae painted the joints of his human figures with far more clarity than ever before depicted, including accentuated veins, and folds and creases in their clothing. This is almost as much attention to detail as what gambling online puts into their incredible games!
Euphranor of Corinth was distinguished from the other Greek artists of his time as he was both a sculptor and a painter, and enjoyed wide success in both disciplines. Along with his contemporary Antorides, Euphranor was a student under Ariston and his painting’s resembled the sculptural style of Lysippus. With a great love of heroic subjects, Euphranor paid intense consideration to the symmetry on the body on canvas and his depiction of the contrived lunacy of Odysseus became one of his most popular pieces.
Parrhasius’s conversations on art with Socrates, as much as is talent, skyrocketed him to fame in a very short space of time. Hailed as one of the greatest painters of ancient Greece, Parrhasius’s painting of Theseus was even used as a decorative piece in the Capitol of Rome. With his particular skill of making his subjects stand out from the canvas background, Parrhasius went so far as to torture a captured slave in order to accurately depict the suffering of the enslaved Prometheus.
Most famous for the real-life accuracy, free design, and innovative themes encapsulated within his paintings, Zeuxis drew inspiration from the Greek gods and goddesses – much like other artists of his time. However, he was set apart from the rest as Zeuxis’s small-scale pieces led to the discovery of a new genre of painting and his skilful use of light and shadow created a volumetric style which had not been seen before.