Lecture 17

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Classics 456 Greek and Roman Painting and Mosaics



                             Lecture 17: The Odyssey Landscapes  


A. Findspot and Location

   l. Via Cavour 1840

   2. Vatican Library-  Anna Galina

   3. Opus Reticulatum 50-40 B.C.

   4. 48 feet


B. The Story- Odysseus

   l. Ulysses, King of Ithaca

   2. Rounds southeastern Peloponnesus and driven off course

   3. Lotophagi- forgetfulness

   4. Western Sea- Polyphemos

   5. Aeolus- bag of winds, no west wind

   6. Telepylus- city of Lamus, king of Lastrygonians is Antiphates, cannibals    

   7. Circe- crew into swine, Hermes restores them, one year

   8. Seeks entry to lower world- shade of Teiresias

   9. Curse of Poseidon

  10. Passes Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis


C. Eight pictures- Lastrygonians, two attack scenes, isle of Circe, palace of Circe, two Hades scenes, new Siren frag


   l. Narrative art versus tabulae

   2. Landscape versus megalographic

   3. Tilt-up perspective

   4. Rotulus effect


D. Lastrygonians

   l. Contrast of horrid and lovely=sirens, Helen, biographies

   2. Copying- sketchy, lack of detail, Greek letters too high

   3. Paesaggio

      a. Etruscan? Greek?

      b. Hanfmann- stoic reflection of universe continuing forever and animated

           by men        

      c. Romans love space

   4. Impressionism- Antiphilos of Alexandria 4th century BC

      a. Varro- he did grotesque scenes and comic scenes

      b. Varro- popular in Rome in time of Julius Caesar

         c. Q C. Quintilian- 1st century A.D. praises facilitas

         d. Rough sketch look plus luministico

         e. Petronius- attributes compendiariae to Alexandria and hates it

              because now non alium exitum         

         f. Pliny- invented by Nichomachos, son and pupil of Aristeides,

             velocior in ea arte

            l. Pupil Philoxenos of Eretria imitated master

            2. Invented breviores compendiariae

            3. Greeks loved to do scenes of wandering of Odysseus, errantes per 


            4. Egyptian influence- Nilotic scenes, pygmies, Isis, Egypt key under

                Augustus    - Afranius Burrus



  1. Style of the Odyssey Landscapes- 2nd Style Phase 2A 40-30 B.C.
    1. Closed wall begins to dominate
    2. Use architecture to frame figures now
    3. Individual images placed in side frames
    4. Focal picture with subordinate picture at sides
    5. Reduced emphasis on depth and distance
    6. More ornamentation and fanciful architecture
    7. Slenderizing trend begins
    8. Begin to break up architectural syntax


For a copy of the PowerPoint lecture click here.