A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890


1. A Sicyonian artist, about whose age the greatest uncertainty long prevailed, as one work of his is mentioned which must have been executed before Ol. 75, and another 80 years later, which seems to be, and indeed is, impossible. The fact is, that there were two artists of the name of Canachus, both of Sicyon, and probably grandfather and grandson. This was first suggested by Schorn (Ueb. d. Stud. d. Griech. Künstler, p. 199) and adopted by Thiersch (Epoch. Anm. pp. 38-44), K. O. Müller, and Böckh. The work which must have been finished B. C. 480, was a colossal statue of Apollo Philesius at Miletus, this statue having been carried to Ecbatana by Xerxes after his defeat in Greece, B. C. 479. Müller (Kunstblatt, 1821, N. 16) thinks, that this statue cannot have been executed before B. C. 494, at which time Miletus was destroyed and burnt by Dareius; but Thiersch (l.c.) shews that the colossus might very well have escaped the general ruin, and therefore needs not have been placed there after the destruction of the city. Finding that all indications point to the interval between O1. 60 and 68 (B. C. 540-508), he has given these 32 years as the time during which Canachus flourished. Thus the age of our artist coincides with that of Callon, whose contemporary he is called by Pausanias (7.18.6). He was likewise contemporary with Ageladas, who flourished about O1. 66 [AGELADAS]; for, together with this artist and with his own brother, Aristocles, he executed three Muses, who symbolically represented the diatonic, chromatic, and enharmonic styles of Greek music. Besides these works, we find the following mentioned: Riding (κελητίζοντες) boys (Plin. Nat. 34.8. s. 19); a statue of Aphrodite, wrought in gold and ivory (Paus. 2.10.4); one of Apollo Ismenius at Thebes, made of cedar, and so very like the Apollo Philesins of Miletus, which was of metal, that one could instantly recognize the artist. (Paus. l.c., 9.10.2.) For Cicero's judgment of Canachus's performances, see CALAMIS.