Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier

Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 19:00 to 20:00
Event Description: 

Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut), “Wall Paintings in Archaic Greek Temples: Kalapodi and Isthmia”

In his seminal book Necrocorinthia (1931), H. Payne argued for the existence of wall-painting in Archaic Greece. According to him, the decoration of the well-known Chigi Vase (ca. 650–640 BC) had followed prototypes in free painting. Evidence for this was the fact that the figures were coated with different mat colors like red, white, and shades of brown. This results in an entirely new feeling for composition in the battle scene on the Chigi Vase which abandons the paratactic principle inherited from the Geometric period and implies the third dimension by the rows of overlapping soldiers.

Payne had prophetic abilities. After he had written Necrocorinthia, evidence for wall-painting has come to light in three Archaic Greek sanctuaries. A block of the first Heraion of Samos (ca. 675–670 BC) bears an incised sketch of a wall-painting representing a procession of men with spears. The Archaic temple of Poseidon at Isthmia had wall-paintings (ca. 650 BC), one of which featured a procession with horses. The most recent find of Archaic wall-paintings are the fragments of a battle scene (ca. 650 BC) similar to that of the Chigi Vase from South Temple VII at the oracle sanctuary of Apollo at Abai (Kalapodi) in present-day Phthiotis.

In this webinar, Professor Niemeier will discuss the relationships of these wall-paintings to contemporary vase-painting, the evidence provided by Pliny concerning Egyptian influence, the importance of Corinth for Archaic wall-painting, and their function in the context of the sanctuaries in which they were found.