helens_daughter (helens_daughter) wrote,

Reproduction: Tiryns Double-S and Papyrus Fresco

My latest painting is a reproduction of Emile Gillieron Sr.'s watercolor rendering of the Double-S and Papyrus Frond fresco found during the 1910-12 archaeological excavations at Tiryns.

P1040107 (2)
Gillieron was educated in Basel, Munich, and Paris before moving to Athens to become an archaelogical illustrator; he also designed the commemorative stamps for the 1896 Athens Olympic Games.  He worked for Heinrich Schliemann, then for Schliemann's successor, William Dorpfeld.  Eventually, he and his son came to work for Sir Arthur Evans reproducing frescoes from Knossos.

It was this work at Knossos that garnered both Gillierons an unfavorable reputation for forgery.  They may very well have contributed to the forgeries that came out of the Minoan excavations, but as they were in Sir Arthur's employment the blame for that ultimately rests with Evans himself.  Gillieron Sr. in fact had an excellent eye for piecing together delicate fresco fragments, and his work on this Tiryns fresco, large portions of which have survived, attest to his skill.  The original watercolor is a riot of spirals and fan shapes.  Originally the fresco got me to thinking of cogs and wheels, but I wasn't looking at it in a Mycenaean context.  This isn't how the Minoans rendered papyrus fans; the Mycenaeans had their definite ideas about what kind of decoration they liked in their palaces.

Frescoes like this formed the friezes the Mycenaeans preferred and used as decorative dadoes in their palaces.  You can tell the work is Mycenaean by the colored bands at the top and bottom, which you don't really see in Minoan artwork.  While you might argue that certain frescoes at Knossos bear this distinction, it's important to remember that the last great phase of the Knossos cult-administrative center was headed by Mycenaeans with Mycenaean tastes.

My version is more brightly colored, as it might have been when first painted.  And, yes, it IS straight when properly photographed and adjusted.  I'm not sure I like the result.  Mycenaean decoration seems very garish to my modern eyes.
Tags: artwork, frescoes, gillieron, heinrich schliemann, knossos, minoans, mycenaeans, sir arthur evans, tiryns
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded