Special Issue "Ancient Mediterranean Painting (vol. 1)"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "Visual Arts".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 February 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Annette Giesecke
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Elias Ahuja Professor of Classics, Chair of Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
Interests: Greek art; Roman art; Egyptian art; Near Eastern art; vase painting; fresco; mosaic; iconography; gardens; garden painting; cultural history of plants; Roman villas
Dr. Mark Stansbury O’Donnell
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Professor of Art History, Associate Dean of College of Arts and Sciences, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN 55105, USA
Interests: Greek art; figured pottery; narrative; context; artist-consumer interaction; Lucanian pottery; Attic pottery

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

From the Bronze Age Aegean, Egypt, and Mesopotamia to the late Roman Empire, painted images mediated the experiences and interactions of the individuals whose cultures produced them. They influenced and even shaped the rituals of home life, work, religion, and other social experiences in myriad, complex ways. For example, iconography, patterns or other embedded references could function as cues related to social status/relationships, pathways or belief systems. At the same time, images specific to a particular culture could "travel", whether as paintings on portable objects like ceramics and panels or as a cultural import in the form of new subjects and motifs decorating architecture. Across a long timeline shaped by inter-cultural traffic and exchange, painted imagery could also "travel" diachronically, fluidly picking up and shedding meaning(s) through changing audiences, different patrons, and new viewing contexts.

In consideration of both of these ideas, the creation of distinctive cultural products and an ongoing mutable "life" through circulation and receptions, these two volumes focus on new insights into the interaction(s) between viewer and the painted surface. Proposed subjects include the relation between patrons, makers, and context; the relevancy of distinctions between fine art and craft for understanding contemporary value and viewer reception; the exchange of ideas and motifs between cultural groups; the influence of various representational media on each other; kinaesthetic address and the effect of painted imagery as experienced through time, movement, and body position; or technical studies that bring the meaning or visual impact of two-dimensional renderings into sharper relief.

Volume 1 will be dedicated to painted works issuing from Greece, the Near East, Egypt, Italy, and Sicily in the years roughly between 3000–100 BCE. Anticipated areas of discussion include, but are not limited to, wall painting in private houses, tombs, palaces, temples; the painted decoration of ceramic vessels; and mosaic as a representational medium closely aligned with evolving trends and techniques in painting.

Dr. Annette Giesecke
Dr. Mark Stansbury O’Donnell
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ancient painting
  • vase painting
  • ceramics
  • ornament
  • wall painting
  • fresco
  • secco
  • mural
  • decoration
  • pigment
  • Greek
  • Roman
  • Egyptian
  • Near Eastern
  • domestic
  • civic
  • surface
  • iconography

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Early Visual Communication: Introducing the 6000-Year-Old Buon Frescoes from Teleilat Ghassul, Jordan
Arts 2019, 8(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030079 - 02 Jul 2019
Abstract
The collection of 5th Millennium BCE frescoes from the Chalcolithic (4700–3700 BC) township of Teleilat Ghassul, Jordan, are vital signposts for our understanding of early visual communication systems and the role of art in preliterate societies. The collection of polychrome wall murals includes [...] Read more.
The collection of 5th Millennium BCE frescoes from the Chalcolithic (4700–3700 BC) township of Teleilat Ghassul, Jordan, are vital signposts for our understanding of early visual communication systems and the role of art in preliterate societies. The collection of polychrome wall murals includes intricate geometric designs, scenes illustrative of a stratified and complex society, and possibly early examples of landscape vistas. These artworks were produced by specialists using the buon fresco technique, and provide a visual archive documenting a fascinating, and largely unknown culture. This paper will consider the place these pictorial artefacts hold in the prehistory of art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Mediterranean Painting (vol. 1))
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Open AccessArticle
Tenacious Tendrils: Replicating Nature in South Italian Vase Painting
Arts 2019, 8(2), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8020071 - 06 Jun 2019
Abstract
Elaborate floral tendrils are one of the most distinctive iconographic features of South Italian vase painting, the red-figure wares produced by Greek settlers in Magna Graecia and Sicily between ca. 440–300 B.C. They were a particular specialty of Apulian artisans and were later [...] Read more.
Elaborate floral tendrils are one of the most distinctive iconographic features of South Italian vase painting, the red-figure wares produced by Greek settlers in Magna Graecia and Sicily between ca. 440–300 B.C. They were a particular specialty of Apulian artisans and were later adopted by painters living in Paestum and Etruria. This lush vegetation is a stark contrast to the relatively meager interest of Archaic and Classical Athenian vase painters in mimetically depicting elements of the natural world. First appearing in the work of the Iliupersis Painter around 370 B.C., similar flowering vines appear in other contemporary media ranging from gold jewelry to pebble mosaics, perhaps influenced by the career of Pausias of Sicyon, who is credited in ancient sources with developing the art of flower painting. Through analysis of the types of flora depicted and the figures that inhabit these lush vegetal designs, this paper explores the blossoming tendrils on South Italian vases as an evocation of nature’s regenerative powers in the eschatological beliefs of peoples, Greek and Italic alike, occupying southern Italy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Mediterranean Painting (vol. 1))
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Open AccessArticle
Bringing Back the (Ancient) Bodies: The Potters’ Sensory Experiences and the Firing of Red, Black and Purple Greek Vases
Arts 2019, 8(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8020070 - 04 Jun 2019
Abstract
The study of Athenian black-figure and red-figure ceramics is haunted by nearly a thousand “hands” of the artisans thought to be responsible for their painted images. But what of the bodies attached to those hands? Who were they? Given the limited archaeological and [...] Read more.
The study of Athenian black-figure and red-figure ceramics is haunted by nearly a thousand “hands” of the artisans thought to be responsible for their painted images. But what of the bodies attached to those hands? Who were they? Given the limited archaeological and epigraphic evidence for these ancient makers, this study attempts to recover their physical bodies through the ceramics production process—specifically the firing of vessels—as a communal activity potentially including a large cast of participants including craftsmen and craftswomen, metics, freed people and slaves. Using an experimental archaeology approach, I argue that we can begin to approach the sensory experiences of ancient potters and painters as they produced all the colored surfaces (and not only images) that endure on Greek vases. I propose a four-stage sensory firing in combination with the three-stage chemical firing process known for the production of Athenian ceramics, suggesting that each stage—and the colors produced at each stage—had their own “sensory signatures.” Examining extant vases with this awareness of the bodily experience of their ancient makers has the potential to bring back these ancient bodies, moving us beyond the limiting narrative of a single hand wielding a paint brush. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Mediterranean Painting (vol. 1))
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Open AccessArticle
Ptolemaic Cavalrymen on Painted Alexandrian Funerary Monuments
Arts 2019, 8(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8020058 - 28 Apr 2019
Abstract
The multiethnic environment of Ptolemaic Alexandria resulted in cross-cultural transmission of funerary practices and associated material culture that introduced many traditions to Egypt from the Mediterranean world. Along with an influx of mercenaries serving in the Ptolemaic army came cultural and artistic knowledge [...] Read more.
The multiethnic environment of Ptolemaic Alexandria resulted in cross-cultural transmission of funerary practices and associated material culture that introduced many traditions to Egypt from the Mediterranean world. Along with an influx of mercenaries serving in the Ptolemaic army came cultural and artistic knowledge from their places of origin, which they (or their families) incorporated into their burials. One motif, which appears on late 4th–3rd-century painted funerary monuments from Alexandria, is that of a soldier on horseback, alluding to images of the heroic hunter or warrior on horseback found in tombs in the regions of northern Greece. These Alexandrian monuments commemorated members of the Ptolemaic cavalry, some of whom are identified as Macedonian or Thessalian by accompanying Greek inscriptions. The image of a soldier astride his rearing horse not only emphasized the deceased’s military status, but also established a link with Macedonian and Ptolemaic royal iconography. This type of self-representation served a number of purposes: to signal the deceased’s cultural and geographic origins, demonstrate his elite role in Ptolemaic society and imply connections to the Ptolemaic court, all of which were important to the immigrant inhabitants of early Alexandria as they sought to express their identity in a new geographical, cultural, and political setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Mediterranean Painting (vol. 1))
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Open AccessArticle
Targeted Advertising for Women in Athenian Vase-Painting of the Fifth Century BCE
Arts 2019, 8(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8020052 - 11 Apr 2019
Abstract
This paper analyzes the trends in depictions of women in Athenian vase-painting during the 5th century BCE through an examination of approximately 88,000 vases in the Beazley Archive Pottery Database. It found a 15% increase in depictions of women during the 5th century [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the trends in depictions of women in Athenian vase-painting during the 5th century BCE through an examination of approximately 88,000 vases in the Beazley Archive Pottery Database. It found a 15% increase in depictions of women during the 5th century BCE and a diversification in subject matter in which women appear. By considering these trends within the historical context of the hegemonic position of Athens in the Delian League and its wars, this paper proposes that the changes in representations and subject matter denote an expanded marketability of vases to female viewers. As targeted imagery, the images give perceptible recognition to an increased valuation of women’s work and lives at a time when their roles in Athenian society were essential for the continued success of the city-state. This paper suggests that these changes also point to the fact that a greater share of the market was influenced by women, either directly or indirectly, and successful artists carefully crafted targeted advertisements on their wares to attract that group. This paper provides new insights into the relationships between vases and their intended audiences within the context of the cultural changes occurring in Athens itself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Mediterranean Painting (vol. 1))
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Open AccessArticle
The Pederastic Gaze in Attic Vase-Painting
Arts 2019, 8(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8020047 - 02 Apr 2019
Abstract
An image on an Attic red-figure kylix attributed to the Antiphon Painter, showing a single youth wrapped tightly in a mantle, represents a type of figure often found in pederastic courting scenes and scenes set in the gymnasium, where male bodies were on [...] Read more.
An image on an Attic red-figure kylix attributed to the Antiphon Painter, showing a single youth wrapped tightly in a mantle, represents a type of figure often found in pederastic courting scenes and scenes set in the gymnasium, where male bodies were on display. Subject to the gaze of older men, these youths hide their bodies in their cloaks and exhibit the modesty expected of a boy being courted. While many courting scenes show an erastês approaching a tightly-wrapped erômenos, in this scene, the boy stands alone with no source of modesty-inducing gaze within the image. Combined with the intimate manner in which the user of this cup would experience the image as he held it close to his face to drink, it would appear to the drinker that it is his own gaze that provokes the boy’s modesty. This vase is one of several in which we may see figures within an image reacting to the eroticizing gaze of the user of the vessel. As the drinker drains his cup and sees the boy, the image responds with resistance to the drinker’s gaze. Though seemingly unassuming, these pictures look deliberately outward and declare themselves to an anticipated viewer. The viewer’s interaction with the image is as important to its function as any element within the picture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Mediterranean Painting (vol. 1))
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