Polygnotus, along with Mikon, was the most appreciated painter of classical Greece (5th c. bC). He was nicknamed ethographos, that is the one who captures the mood and character of his models.

Polygnotus and Delphi - Iliou Persis
«Iliou persis», oil on canvas, by Johann Georg Trautmann (1713–1769).

The most important of his paintings were his frescoes in the Lesche of the Knidians, at Delphi. The frescoes represented «Nekyia» (Ulysses descend to Hades) and «Iliou persis» (occupation of Troy).

It is known that these masterpieces were refreshed (i.e. partially repainted) by artists sent by Monarchs of Hellenistic era, when the original colours started faiding out. That is the reason they were still visible when Pausanias visited Delphi in 2nd c. BC. Pausanias is giving a vivid description of these paintings.


theDelphiGuide.com suggestions on greek history