BOOK 35. THE ART OF PAINTING
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BOOK 35. THE ART OF PAINTING book
As an example of the high status of the art of painting in Rome378 Fabius Pictor is cited for his work in the Temple of Salus (304 BC). In other authors of antiquity Fabius Pictor is uniformly spoken of unfavourably379 and so one senses that Pliny's praise is reserved for the Fabians who are designated as clarissima gens. Pictor's work was not destroyed until the temple burnt down in Claudius' time. The few other examples Pliny elicits have this in common: It is not the artistic contribution that has preserved the memory of these people. The poet Pacuvius, Ennius' nephew, was also a painter, but his brilliant efforts as a playwright (gloria scaenae) made his painting well known. After him, Pliny remarks, painting was no longer something that decent people (manus honestae) could busy themselves with,
To summarize, Pliny has with meagre results searched in Roman historical accounts for information about painters. Yet his curious tales hardly bear out his contention that Rome too knew painting from early on. He himself concedes that painting was not an occupation for decent people. Its reputation (dignatio) in Rome, he continues in § 22, did not increase until it found application as a means of illustrating martial feats.