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Biographies (4)


Euphranor, 4th cent. BC

Euphranor. A distinguished statuary and painter. He was a native of Corinth, but practised his art at Athens about B.C. 336. Of one of his works, a beautiful sitting Paris, we have probably a copy in the Museo Pio-Clementino. His best paintings were preserved in a porch in the Ceramicus.

Euphanor, the Isthmian, is mentioned as a pupil of Aristeides of Thebes (probably about B.C. 360), and, like others of his predecessors, worked both in sculpture and painting; according to Pliny (xxxv. ยง 128), he was docilis ac laboriosus ante omnis, and in both branches of art excelled all his contemporaries. Of his pictures we hear specially of three great compositions for a stoa in the Ceramicus, representing the charge of the Athenians against the Thebans before the battle of Mantineia, pictures of the twelve gods, and a Theseus. Of this last, Pliny says in quo dixit that the Theseus of Parrhasius looked as though fed on roses, while that of Euphranor seemed fed on beef. The dixit is usually taken as alluding to Euphranor Klein suggests that it was a remark more appropriate to Parrhasius; the same confusion of Pliny comes out in his attribution of a madness of Odysseus to Euphranor in the same passage. After describing the three works in the Stoa, he adds, nobilis eius tabula Ephesi est, Ulixes . . . Now we know from Plutarch that Parrhasius painted a picture of this subject, and it seems absurd to suppose that Euphranor would have painted the same idea for the home of Parrhasius, Ephesus. The eius should properly refer to Parrhasius, who alone painted this subject, and the whole passage has been inserted here by Pliny in error. Of Euphranor's style we cannot judge; we only know that he devoted his attention to the canon of proportions, and is said to have written on this subject; but it remains uncertain whether or no he is to be considered as the predecessor of Lysippus in this study.

This extract is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

  Euphranor the sculptor-painter became a true all-rounder in both technique and subject matter
  Euphranor is variously reported as being an 'Isthmian' and an Athenian; yet whether an immigrant or not his major paintings were certainly done for Athens. His chronology is also confused, for though Pliny twice dates him to 364-36 (N.H. 35.128), he places him after the flower-painter Pausias, who taught Apelles (floruit 332-329: N.H. 35.79). Indeed, in N.H. 35.111 he lowers the chronology still further, by apprenticing him to Apelles' contemporary the Theban painter Aristeides (cf. N.H. 35.98). Something has to give, and since (1) his own floruit coincides with the Battle of Mantinea (362), the occasion for his acknowledged masterpiece, and (2) also gives his son Sostratos a floruit in 328-325, the most likely explanation is that Pliny has made one Aristeides out of two: the earlier, active ca. 400 (N.H. 35.75) and grandfather of the later (N.H. 35.108-10), would then be Euphranor's master. Euphranor's work on the Apollo Patroos and for the Macedonian kings extends his career at least to ca. 330.

His known works of sculpture are as follows:
• Divinities and personifications

Apollo Patroos in marble, in his temple in the Agora

Athena in bronze, later in Rome

Dionysos, later in Rome

Hephaistos, later in Rome


Leto with Apollo and Artemis in bronze, later in Rome

Agathos Daimon, in bronze

Arete and Hellas (colossal), in bronze

• Mythological figures, portraits, etc.
Paris in bronze

Alexander and Philip in their chariots, in bronze

Key-bearer (`kleidouchos') in bronze -- a priest or priestess

Woman praying, in bronze

Two- and four-horse chariots in bronze

Typoi (reliefs or models) in clay

His paintings included the Battle of Mantinea, a Theseus with Demokrateia and Demos, and the Twelve Gods, all in the Stoa of Zeus at Athens; and the feigned madness of Odysseus, at Ephesos.

Euphranor excited far less attention than Praxiteles or even Skopas, and his bronzes are only listed by Pliny in his alphabetical catalogue of second-rank masters:
Pliny N.H. 34.77-8
The Alexander Paris is by Euphranor, and is praised because in it all aspects of his personality can be discerned at once: the judge of the goddesses, the lover of Helen, and yet the slayer of Achilles. His too is the Minerva at Rome called the Catuliana, dedicated below the Capitol by Q. Lutatius Catulus [consul, 78]; the Bonus Adventus holding a dish in his right hand and an ear of corn and some poppies in his left; the Leto after childbirth in the temple of Concord, holding the babes Apollo and Diana in her arms. He also made two- and four-horse chariots, and an exceptionally lovely Key-Bearer, a Virtue and Greece, both colossal, a woman wondering and worshipping, and an Alexander and Philip in four-horse chariots.

Fortunately, however, Pliny elsewhere quotes two 'professional' evaluations of his work, one culled from his own writings, the other (more critical) from the 'Xenokratic' tradition; these occur in his book on painting, for which he explicitly acknowledges treatises by Euphranor, Xenokrates, and Antigonos as sources (N.H. 1.35).
Pliny N.H. 35.128-9
After Pausias Euphranor of the Isthmus was by far the most distinguished painter, flourishing in the 104th Olympiad [364-361], whom we have also included among the sculptors. He made colossal statues, works in marble, and typoi , and was studious and industrious above all others, excelling in every field and never falling below his own standards. He seems to have been the first to express the dignity of the heroes and to have made habitual use of symmetria [in painting], though his bodies were too slight throughout, and his heads and limbs too large. He wrote treatises on symmetria and color.
  For the praise of his versatility see also Quintilian 12.10.6 and 12 (a rhetorical comparison with Cicero). The remarks concerning his dignified heroes and mastery of symmetria may well derive from Euphranor himself, though it is not clear precisely how he rendered the former -- whether by colors, by sheer size, or by strengthening their physique. This last suggestion would find support from his alleged mastery of symmetria were it not for a revealing comment that follows.
  Here, Pliny criticizes him exactly as he did Zeuxis (N.H. 35.64), and Coulson (1972, 325-26) has shown that just as symmetria in painting was perhaps derivative of symmetria in sculpture (it was only introduced around 400, by Parrhasios), so this remark should derive from a sculptor's critique of a system that sought to slim down the 'foursquare' Polykleitan canon but failed to achieve the fully gracile proportions of Xenokrates' own master, Lysippos. For one may safely assume that Euphranor applied his principles to both arts. Indeed, the sources often couple him with Polykleitos, though to identify his master Aristeides with Polykleitos' pupil of the same name is perhaps wishful thinking.

  Attributions usually begin with the colossal marble Apollo found in the Metroon in 1907, next door to the temple of Apollo Patroos:
Pausanias 1.3.4
These pictures [of the Battle of Mantinea and others, in the Royal Stoa] were painted for the Athenians by Euphranor, who also made the Apollo Patroos in the temple next door; in front of the temple is an Apollo by Leochares and another by Kalamis, called Alexikakos [Averter of Evil], so-called, they say, because by an oracle from Delphi he stayed the plague that struck during the Peloponnesian War [430-427].

This extract is from: Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works. Cited Oct 2003 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains extracts from the ancient literature, bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Euphranor. One of the greatest masters of the most flourishing period of Grecian art, and equally distinguished as a statuary and a painter. (Quintil. xii. 10.6.) He was a native of the Corinthian isthmus, but he practised his art at Athens, and is reckoned by Plutarch as an Athenian. (De Glor. Ath. 2.) He is placed by Pliny (xxxiv. 8. s. 19) at Ol. 104, no doubt because he painted the battle of Mantineia, which was fought in Ol. 104, 3 (B. C. 362/1), but the list of his works shews, almost certainly, that he flourished till after the accession of Alexander. (B. C. 336.) As a statuary, he wrought both in bronze and marble, and made figures of all sizes, from colossal statues to little drinking-cups. (Plin. xxxv. 8, s. 40.25.) His most celebrated works were, a Paris, which expressed alike the judge of the goddesses, the lover of Helen, and the slayer of Achilles ; the very beautiful sitting figure of Paris, in marble, in the Museo Pio-Clementino is, no doubt, a copy of this work : a Minerva, at Rome, called the Catulian, from its having been set up by Q. Lutatius Catulus, beneath the Capitol : an Agathodaemon (simulacrum Boni Eventus), holding a patera in the right hand, and an ear of corn and a poppy in the left : a Latona puerpera, carrying the infants, Apollo and Diana, in the temple of Concord ; there is at Florence a very beautiful relief representing the same subject : a Key-bearer (Cliduchus), remarkable for its beauty of form : colossal statues of Valour and of Greece, forming no doubt a group, perhaps Greece crowned by Valour. (Muller, Archaol. d. Kunst) : a woman wrapt in wonder and adoration (admirantem et adorantem) : Alexander and Philip riding in fourhorsed chariots, and other quadrigae and bigae. (Plin. xxxiv. 8. s. 19.16.) The statue of Apollo Patroiis, in his temple in the Cerameicus at Athens, and a disciple of Iamblichus. (Eunap. Vit. Soph. p. was by Euphranor. (Paus. i. 3.3.) Lastly, his statue of Hephaestus, in which the god was not lame, is mentioned by Dion Chrysostom. (Orat.) As a painter, Euphranor executed many great works, the chief of which were seen, in the time of Pausanias, in a porch in the Cerameicus. On the one side were the twelve gods; and on the opposite wall, Theseus, with Democracy and Demos (Demokratia te kai Demos), in which picture Theseus was represented as the founder of the equal polity of Athens. In the same place was his picture of the battle between the Athenian and Boeotian cavalry at Mantineia, containing portraits of Epaminondas and of Gryllus the son of Xenophon. (Paus. i. 3.2, 3.) There were also some celebrated pictures by him at Ephesus, namely, Ulysses, in his feigned madness, yoking an ox with a horse (it is difficult to understand the next words of Pliny, "et palliati cogitantes"); and a commander sheathing his sword. (Plin. xxxv. 11. s. 40.25.) Euphranor also wrote works on proportion and on colours (de Symmetria et Coloribus, Plin. l. c.), the two points in which his own excellence seems chiefly to have consisted. Pliny says that he was the first who properly expressed the dignity of heroes, by the proportions he gave to their statues ; and Hirt observes that this statement is confirmed by the existing copy of his Paris. (Gesch. d. Bild. Kunst) He made the bodies somewhat more slender, and the heads and limbs larger. His system of proportion was adopted, with some variation, by his great contemporary, Lysippus : in painting, Zeuxis had already practised it. It was, no doubt, with reference to proportion, as coloring, that he used to say that the Theseus of Parrhasius had been fed on roses, but his on flesh. (Plin. l. c.; Plut. de Glor. Ath. 2.) In his great picture of the twelve gods, the coloring of the hair of Hera was particularly admired. (Lucian, Imag. 7.) Of the same picture Valerius Maximus relates that Euphranor invested Poseidon with such surpassing majesty, that he was unable to give, as he had intended, a nobler expression to Zeus. (viii. 11, ext. 5.) It is said that the idea of his Zeus was at length suggested by his hearing a scholar recite the description in Homer :--Ambrosiai d' ara chaitai, &c. (Eustath. ad Il. i. 529.) Muller believed that Euphranor merely copied the Zeus of Phidias. (Arch. d. Kunst) Plutarch (l. c.), amidst much praise of the picture of the battle of Mantineia, says that Euphranor painted it under a divine inspiration (ouk anenthousiastos). Philostratus, in his rhetorical style, ascribes to Euphranor to eskion (light and shade) kai to eupnoun (expression) kai to eisechon te kai exechon (perspective and foreshortening). (Vit. Apollon. ii. 9.) Pliny (l. c.) says that Euphranor was, above all men, diligent and willing to learn, and always equal to himself. His disciples were, Antidotus (Plin. l. c.), Carmanides , and Leonidas of Anthedon. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Anthedon.) He was himself a disciple of Ariston, the son of Aristeides of Thebes.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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