Ποικίλη στοὰ Ἀθήνησιν οὕτω λεγομένη διὰ τὴν ἐνοῦσαν γραφήν. Ἔνθα πεποίηκεν ὁ Μίκων τῶν Ἁμαζόνων τὴν μαχήν · ἦν δὲ Φανομάχου υἱὸς, Ἀθηναῖος.

The Stoa Poikile in Athens, so called after the paintings which are found inside. Here, Mikon painted the battle against the Amazons; he was an Athenian, the son of Phanomachos. (Trans. S. Loumakis)

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Created by Valérie Toillon

La Stoa Poikile d'Athènes, celle que l'on appelle ainsi à cause des peintures qui s'y trouvent. C'est là que Mikon a peint le combat des Amazones; il était le fils de Phanomachos, et Athénien. (Trad. Reinach un peu modifié).

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Created by Valérie Toillon

Commentary

Schol. Aristophanes, Lysistrata 679.

  1. On the Stoa Poikile and the paintings see texts 113, 114, 115 and 116.

  2. We do not know a lot about Mikon (Ehrardt in Vollkommer & Vollkommer-Glökler 2001-2004, pp. 82-84). He was an Athenian painter and sculptor, son of Phanomachos (see text 159b), who most probably worked during the first half/mid fifth century B.C. Mikon and Phanomachos were very popular names in ancient Athens, so there is no doubt that Mikon was an Athenian citizen (Reinach et al. 1921, p. 154; Traill 1994, 653430-653515, esp. 653460). Mikon worked with Polygnotos and Panainos (text 163) at the Stoa Poikile (text 116). He also worked with Polygnotos at the Anakeion, the shrine of the Dioskouroi (text 118), and at the Theseion (text 117). We know very little about his art, which was certainly close to the art of Polygnotos in many ways, such as in terms of colors, composition, anatomical precision and facial expressions. But as far as we know, Mikon was more interested on action than emotions (Stansbury-O’Donnell 2014, pp. 151-152). He painted large-scale battle scenes, certainly very dense, with many figures as Amazonomachies and centauromachies, close to those depicted on contemporary vase-painting. For example a calyx-crater in New-York by the painter of the Woolly Satyrs on which are depicted an Amazonomachy and a centauromachy (texts 116 and 117; Stansbury-O’Donnell 2014, ibid.). Mikon painted the Amazons on horseback (text 136). Maybe he took part in the painting of the Marathon battle (text 116). He also painted the Argonauts at the Anakeion (text 118). Maybe the subject of this painting was the funeral games for Pelias in which Mikon has painted Pelias' daughters (text 156). Mikon was also known as a sculptor specializing in statues of athletes (texts 157 and 158). But for Pliny, "Mikon the painter" was not the same as "Mikon the sculptor" (see commentaries on text 157). However, two statue bases of athletes signed "Mikon Athenaios", one of the even identifying him as "son of Phanomachos", and dated ca. 475-470 BC., were found in Athens and Olympia (see texts 159a and 159b). There is little doubt that "Mikon the painter" and "Mikon the sculptor" was one and the same person.

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Bibliography

Reinach, A., Reinach, S. & Milliet, P., 1921. Textes grecs et latins relatifs à l’histoire de la peinture ancienne, Paris: Klincksieck.

Stansbury-O’Donnell, M., 2014. Reflections of Monumental Painting in Greek Vase Painting. In J. J. Pollitt, ed. The Cambridge History of Painting in the Classical World. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 143–169.

Traill, J.S., 1994. Persons of Ancient Athens, Toronto: Athenians.

Vollkommer, R. & Vollkommer-Glökler, D., 2001. Künstlerlexikon der Antike, München: Saur.

Annotation Authors and Editors
Created by Valérie Toillon