|Artist Unknown "Thamar Painting in Her Studio" 15th Century location unknown|
Thamar (ca, 5th C B.C.) was a well-known painter in ancient Greece. Standard spellings of names translated from ancient tongues are difficult, and so the artist can also be found referred to as Tamar, Thamyris, Thamaris and Timarete. Her father was the painter, Micon the Younger, and she almost certainly learned the painting trade from him. In those times trades and professions were usually kept within families. Whether or not Thamar would have chosen to be a painter, had she lived in a time when she could have her choice, we will never know, but she was apparently extremely good at painting and her fame lives on, although there are no known extant examples of her work. Most painting at that time was done as fresco or mural, and most architectural structures of that period have been ruined by the passage of time, or demolished or subsumed by later renovation.
This is a 15th century rendition of Thamar, dressed in the garb of those days, that accompanies text by Bocaccio, from his book Of Noble Women written in the early 1400's and a runaway "best-seller" of the times. I have unfortunately not been able to trace the provenance of this particular manuscript page, my image notes, which were shorter and sketchier when I first started this project, report this as coming from from the Morgan Library, but an extensive search does not confirm that rather jaunty little notation. ;-)
At any rate, in this image by an unknown French artist we see Thamar painting what was probably her best-known work, a depiction of the goddess Diana. That masterwork was very well known in ancient times, and was held in reverence at the temple of Epheseus. Unfortunately, that temple was destroyed in 401 A.D. by a Christian mob led by St. John Chrysostom.
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