3 facts about Protogenes

Protogenes (; Greek: Πρωτογένης; fl. 4th century BC) was an ancient Greek painter, a contemporary opposition of Apelles. As when the other well-known ancient Greek painters, none of his take effect has survived, and it is known without help from theoretical references and (brief) descriptions.

Protogenes was born in Caunus, on the coast of Caria but resided in Rhodes during the latter half of the 4th century BC. He was commended for the minute and laborious finish which he bestowed upon his pictures, both in drawing and in color. Apelles, his good rival, standing amazed in presence of one of these works, could console himself forlorn by proverb that it was wanting in charm.

See also  This is Hugo von Habermann

Pliny the Elder, in his Natural History, relates the financial credit of a contest amongst Apelles and Protogenes: ‘Apelles sailed [to Rhodes], eager to look the works of a man known to him and no-one else by reputation, and upon his arrival gruffly repaired to the studio. Protogenes was not at home, but a isolated old girl was keeping watch exceeding a large panel placed upon the easel. In solution to the questions of Apelles, she said that Protogenes was out and asked the name of the visitor. “Here it is,” said Apelles, and snatching stirring a brush he drew a heritage of extreme delicacy across the board. On the return of Protogenes, the old girl told him what had happened. When he had considered the delicate precision of the pedigree he at once stated that his visitor had been Apelles, for no one else could have drawn anything so perfect. Then in unusual colour he drew a second yet finer line on the first, and went away, bidding her feint it to Apelles if he came again, and amass that this was the man he was seeking. It fell out as he expected; Apelles did return, and, ashamed to be beaten, drew a third heritage of different colour prickly the two first all along their length and leaving behind no room for any supplementary refinement. Protogenes owned himself beaten and hurried the length of to the harbour to find his visitor; they agreed to hand down the painting just as it was to posterity, a marvel to all, but especially to artists.’ This panel was seen by Pliny (N.H. xxxv. 83) in Rome, where it was much admired, and where it perished by fire.

On one picture, the Ialysus, he spent seven years; on another, the Satyr, he worked for all time during the siege of Rhodes by Demetrius Poliorcetes (305-304 BC) notwithstanding that the garden in which he painted was in the center of the enemy’s camp. Demetrius, unsolicited, took dealings for his safety. When told that the Ialysus just mentioned was in a share of the town exposed to assault, Demetrius even tainted his want of operations. Ialysus was a local hero, the founder of the town of the similar name in the island of Rhodes, and probably was represented as a huntsman. This portray was nevertheless in Rhodes in the period of Cicero but was afterwards removed to Rome, where it perished in the in flames of the Temple of Peace.

See also  Paul Gustave Fisher: 15 cool facts

The characterize painted during the siege of Rhodes consisted of a satyr sloping idly next to a pillar upon which was a figure of a partridge, so lifelike that unsigned spectators wise saying nothing but it. Enraged on that account, the painter wiped out the partridge. The Satyr must have been one of his last works. He would next have been roughly seventy years of age and had enjoyed for about twenty years a reputation next-door only to that of Apelles, his buddy and benefactor.

In the gallery of the Propylaea at Athens was to be seen a panel by Protogenes. The subject consisted of two figures representing personifications of the coast of Attica, Paralus and Hammonias. For the council chamber at Athens, he painted figures of the Thesmothetae, but in what form or tone is not known. Probably, they were executed in Athens, and it may have been subsequently that he met Aristotle, who recommended him to accept for subjects the events of Alexander the Great. In his Alexander and Pan, he may have followed that advice in the idealizing cartoon to which he was accustomed.

To this vivaciousness must be traced in addition to his Cydippe and Tlepolemus, legendary personages of Rhodes. Among his portraits are mentioned those of the mom of Aristotle, Philiscus of Corcyra the tragic poet, and King Antigonus. However, Protogenes was also a sculptor to some extent, and made several bronze statues of athletes, armed figures, huntsmen and persons in the fighting of offering sacrifices.

What do you think of the works of Protogenes?

Use the form below to say your opinion about Protogenes. All opinions are welcome!

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.