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Agatharchus, painter

Painter of Samos. He was the first to make a skēnē, for Aeschylus (probably for a revival at the time of the Peloponnesian War), and wrote a book on ‘skēnē-painting’, which inspired Anaxagoras and Democritus to write on perspective (Vitr. De arch. 7 pref. 11). He was the first painter to use perspective on a large scale (isolated instances occur on vases from the mid 6th cent. bce), probably in architectural backgrounds for plays. His quick work is contrasted with Zeuxis (1)'s slowness (Plut. Per. 13. 3). Plutarch (Alc. 16. 4), Demosthenes (21. 147), and Andocides (4. 17) say he was compelled by Alcibiades (c.430 bce?) to paint his house (with perspective scenes?). The story is of interest not least for suggesting that private houses were usually not painted. See painting, greek.

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