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Title Polychrome or Tetrachrome? Colour in Greek Painting of the 5th–4th Centuries BC
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About author Druzhinina, Ekaterina Andreevna — Ph. D., associate professor. St. Petersburg State University, Universitetskaia nab., 7/9, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
In the section Classical Antiquity and the World around Hellas DOI10.18688/aa155-1-5
Year 2015 Volume 5 Pages 6268
Type of article RAR Index UDK 75.017.4 Index BBK 85.14; 63.3(0)32

 Pliny the Elder and Cicero state that during Classical period the palette of Greek painters was limited to four basic colours: white, black, red and yellow. Indeed, some mosaics considered as copies of the lost paintings have neither blue nor green. However, art historians agree that tetrachromy was not the only method of Greek painters. There are many wall paintings and frescos, where blue and green are well attested. It was not only in fine arts that the theory of four basic colours was applied. From our point of view, of special interest is the fragment by Empedocles, where the basic elements are compared to paints of artists. Perhaps, the four colour palette, mentioned by Pliny and Cicero, is not due to Empedocles’ doctrine, but is very possible to appear in Roman tradition of “art history” under the influence of doxographic tradition ascribing to Empedocles the theory of four colours. 

Reference Ekaterina Druzhinina. Polychrome or Tetrachrome? Colour in Greek Painting of the 5th–4th Centuries BC. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 5. Eds: Svetlana V. Maltseva, Ekaterina Yu. Stanyukovich-Denisova, Anna V. Zakharova. St. Petersburg, NP-Print Publ., 2015, pp. 62–68. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language russian
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