Apelles slander

John Vanderlin • Painting, 1849, 57.2×72.4 cm
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About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Style of art: Classicism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1849
Size: 57.2×72.4 cm
Artwork in selections: 3 selections

Description of the artwork «Apelles slander»

Apelles, Apell (dr. Greek Ἀπελλῆς, lat. Apelles, circa 370 - 306 BC) - an ancient Greek painter, friend of Alexander the Great.

Apelles, son of Pythia, was one of the most eminent Greek painters of antiquity who flourished at the beginning of the Hellenistic period. Ancient sources report that he came from Spit or from Ephesus, but it is believed likely that he was born in the ancient city of Ionia Colophon, north of Ephesus. Most of the information about the artist’s life and works is taken from the 35th book of natural history (Greek Φυσικής Ιστορίας, lat. Naturalis Historia), written by Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), according to which Apelles was at the peak of fame during the years of the 112th Olympiad (332-329 BC).

Apelles received his initial art education in Ephesus, in the Ionian School, which was distinguished by the softness of the drawing and the tenderness of color; later he went to Sikion, where he enrolled in Pamphilus' school, where he studied the features and pictorial techniques characteristic of Sikion painting, which strove for completeness and accuracy of the drawing. Thus, combining in his work the best traditions of two outstanding art schools - Ionian and Sikion - Apelles reached the highest level of mastery in the visual arts. A distinctive feature of the artist’s pictorial style is the grace of the depicted objects.

During the time of Philip II, he settled in the capital of Ancient Macedonia in Pella, and most likely, it is here that close friendships arise between him and Alexander the Great. There is an assumption that his teacher Pamphilus, a Macedonian by origin, supported and helped Apelles take the place of the artist in the retinue of the Macedonian king Philip, where he gained such authority that the successor of Philip Alexander the Great issued a decree forbidding anyone to paint portraits of Alexander other than Apelles . Apparently, Apelles accompanied Alexander for some time on a trip to the Persians. In the era of diadochi, the artist paints portraits of the newly-born kings.

His peculiar genius was especially brilliantly manifested in the images of Aphrodite, Harit and other goddesses of youth and beauty. His most famous works are Aphrodite Anadiome, which depicts a goddess emerging from seawater and squeezing wet hair, and an image of Artemis surrounded by a hunting retinue. However, Apelles achieved the same perfection in the images of heroes. Especially often he portrayed Alexander the Great and his glorious commanders. One of the paintings of this kind was stored in the temple of Diana in Ephesus - it depicted Alexander the Great with a lightning in his hands. The words of Alexander, who said that there are only two Alexander, relate to this picture: one is the son of Philip, the other is Apelles; the first is invincible, the second is inimitable.
Apelles died when he was recognized by contemporaries as the great and first artist of Hellas, however, according to the Encyclopedia of Brockhaus and Efron, where he died, it is impossible to reliably determine in this city (meaning Colophon) or on the island of Kos.

Antique writers brought to us fragmentary information from the life of the artist, paying attention mainly to entertaining jokes and works of Apelles. Approximate years of the artist’s life can be determined from the following facts: at the court of Philip II, Apelles appeared, apparently, after the death of Pamphilus (c. 350 BC), that is, he was to be born before 370 BC. e. to become a recognized master by then. then, the fact of his stay under Tsar Ptolemy, that is, in the region of 306 BC, is noted. e .. This period of time is considered to be the years of the artist's life.
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