Discobolus

4, November 2013 § 2 Comments

encaustic-ancient-greek

by Jane Morris Pack

Euphrosyne Doxiades is a painter and an expert on encaustic, the wax based painting method of the Ancient Greeks. She has been asked to contribute her knowledge of the technique to a conference in Athens which is examining the use of paint on marble surfaces, both architectural and sculptural.  She asked my help to recreate a figure which is on a marble disk thought to be from the mid fifth century.  The piece is in the museum in Paros and was found in the cemetery excavation near the sea.  It was the lid of an urn which may have held the ashes of an athlete who had won a competition for discus throwing.

What remains of the paint is vermillion pigment and there were traces of gold on the head and on the discus which are now missing.  We painted vermillion mixed with hot bees wax and mastic directly into the surface of the marble and added gold leaf to the hair and the circle of the discus.  The paint was “burned in” using a hot tool and then scraped and polished to a soft shine.  Euphrosyne had made previous tests which insured that the paint adheres to the surface even out of doors in full sun.

We had a joyful time recreating this beautiful remnant of ancient culture and perhaps it will contribute to the scholarship as well.

discobolus

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