POLYGNOTTJS, a distinguished Greek painter of antiquity, was b. toward the begin ning of the 5th c. B.C. He was a native of the isle of Thasos, and belonged to a family of painters, who came to Athens to practice their profession, probably after the subjuga tion of Thasos by Cimou. Pulygnotus and his brother, Aristophon, were instructed in the principles of art by their father, Aglaophoii. We know almost nothing of their lives, except that Polygnotus was a friend of the Athenian general above mentioned, and is said to have been attached to his sister, Elpiniee. He died about 426 B.C. Polvg not us was a contemporary of the great sculptor Phidias (q.v.), and flourished during the supremacy both of Cimon and Pericles; but we bear little or nothing of him under the latter ruler; and although the first painter of his day, It does not appear that he was engaged in the decoration of any of those splendid buildings with which that, statesman adorned Athens. It is not at all unlikely that Pericles was aveyse to patron izing a friend of Cimon, and, at all events, Polygnotus was absent from Athens for 14 years (449-435 n.c.) of Pericles's rule, painting at Delphi and elsewhere. His principal works (following a ch•ouological arrangement as far as it can be ascertained) were: 1. Paintings in the temple of Theseus at Athens. 2. In the shin poccile (or painted por tico) at Athens, representing the Greek princes after the taking of Troy, assembled to judge of the violation of Cassandra by Ajax. 3. In the anakeion, or temple of the
Dioscuri, a painting of the marriage of the daughters of Leucippos. 4. In the temple of Athena Areia at Mama, a picture of Ulysses after having slain the suitors of Penel ope. 5. In the lesch6 (or " conversazione saloon"), a famous quadrangular court, or peristyle, surrounded by colonnades, built at Delphi by the Cnidians. The walls of this edifice were covered by Polygnotus with a series of paintings representing the wars of Troy, and the return of the Greek chiefs, and considered masterpiece. 6. In the chamber adjoining the propylaea of the acropolis. From -the criticism of the ancients, it seems quite clear that Polygnotus was a great advance on any of his prede cessors. Ile was the first who gave life, character, expression to painting. According to Pliny, he opened the mouth and showed the teeth of his figures; he was the first to paint women with transparent drapery, and with rich head-dresses. Lucian also speaks of his exquisite skill in painting eyebrows and the blush on the cheek; while Aristotle extols the ethical or ideal beauty of his conceptions, saying that Polygnotus "represented men as better than they were," and finding a parallel for his style in the epic poetry of Homer.