By Jeffrey M. Hurwit
The Greeks inscribed their artworks and craft with labels deciding upon mythological or old figures, bits of poetry, and claims of possession. yet no form of inscription is extra hotly debated or extra fascinating than the artist's signature, which increases questions about the position and standing of the artist and the murals or craft itself. during this booklet, Jeffrey M. Hurwit surveys the phenomenon of artists' signatures around the many genres of Greek artwork from the 8th to the 1st century BCE. even if the good majority of extant works lack signatures, the Greek artist still signed his items way over the other artist of antiquity. reading signatures on gem stones, cash, mosaics, wall-paintings, metalwork, vases, and sculptures, Hurwit argues that signatures aid us investigate the location of the Greek artist inside of his society in addition to his notion of his personal ability and originality.
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Additional resources for Artists and Signatures in Ancient Greece
8 So let us just stipulate that artists shape culture and culture shapes them, and move on. Although the kouros type was canonical and eminently reproducible, the genre clearly did not have the power to stifle Euthykartides’ impulse to declare, with his signature, his own identity. These little bits of sculpture [Pl. I] are not anonymous – if a signature is anything at all, it is an overt rejection of namelessness – and for Euthykartides the original dedication was very personal indeed. This is so because we can plausibly infer a few other things about the man and his dedication.
81 There is, it is true, an abundance of signatures and brand-names on the fine, red-gloss, mould-made, and mass-produced Roman pottery known as terra sigillata (its best known variety is Arretine ware, basically Augustan in date, produced at Arezzo). The names are usually stamped on the floor of the vessel but can appear in relief on the exterior as part of the decoration, and they belong to such individual artisans, freedmen, or factory owners as Auctus, Montanus, P. Cornelius, Cn. Ateius, M.
But it is about self-promotion; it is about mastery of material and form; and it is also about Euthykartides’ rivalry both with other sculptors for commissions and with other dedicants for the favor of Apollo. It may also be that Euthykartides dedicated and prominently signed this work precisely “because he was so proud to be a sculptor,”9 and perhaps the relatively large size of the letters is a EUTHYKARTIDES’ TOES symptom of that pride, as well as of his pride in being able to write at a time when literacy was probably not yet widespread or deep.
Artists and Signatures in Ancient Greece by Jeffrey M. Hurwit