Pliny the Elder, Natural History (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Plin. Nat.].
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35.43 CHAP. 43. (12.)—THE INVENTORS OF THE ART OF MODELLING.

On painting we have now said enough, and more than enough; but it will be only proper to append some accounts of the plastic art. Butades, a potter of Sicyon, was the first who invented, at Corinth, the art of modelling portraits in the earth which he used in his trade. It was through his daughter that he made the discovery; who, being deeply in love with a young man about to depart on a long journey, traced the profile of his face, as thrown upon the wall by the light of the lamp. Upon seeing this, her father filled in the outline, by compressing clay upon the surface, and so made a face in relief, which he then hardened by fire along with other articles of pottery. This model, it is said, was preserved in the Nymphæum [Note] at Corinth, until the destruction of that city by Mummius. [Note] Others, again, assert that the first inventors of the plastic art were Rhœcus [Note] and Theodorus, [Note] at Samos, a considerable period before the expulsion of the Bacchiadæ from Corinth: and that Damaratus, [Note] on taking to flight from that place and settling in Etruria, where he became father of Tarquinius, who was ultimately king of the Roman people, was accompanied thither by the modellers Euchir, [Note] Diopus, and Eugrammus, by whose agency the art was first introduced into Italy.

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Butades first invented the method of colouring plastic compositions, by adding red earth to the material, or else modelling them in red chalk: he, too, was the first to make masks on the outer edges of gutter-tiles upon the roofs of buildings; in low relief, and known as "prostypa" at first, but afterwards in high relief, or "ectypa." It was in these designs, [Note] too, that the ornaments on the pediments of temples originated; and from this invention modellers first had their name of "plastæ."



Pliny the Elder, Natural History (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Plin. Nat.].
<<Plin. Nat. 35.42 Plin. Nat. 35.43 (Latin) >>Plin. Nat. 35.44

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