Reference Entry

Batrachus

in Benezit Dictionary of Artists

ISBN: 9780199773787
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199899913 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/benz/9780199773787.article.B00013521
Batrachus

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2nd century, male.

Born in Laconia.

Sculptor, architect (?).

Ancient Greek.

Batrachus, with his compatriot Sauras, is mentioned by Pliny in his discussions of sculptors in marble ( Natural History 36. 42) as the builder of the temples of Jupiter Stator and Juno Regina. According to Pliny, because the two artists' names did not feature in the act of consecration, they signed their work by carving 'in columnarum spiris' (on a twisted column) a frog (batrachus) and a lizard (saurus). Quite apart from the matter of their curious (but not impossible) names, the anecdote still seems unlikely to be true. Firstly, it does not appear to have been the custom in the 2nd century BC to mark the consecration of temples with an inscription. Secondly, we know from Vitruvius the name of the architect who built the temple of Jupiter Stator: the Cypriot Hermodorus of Salamis. If they ever existed, Batrachus and Sauras were probably just ordinary decorative sculptors....

Reference Entry.  263 words. 

Subjects: Architecture ; Sculpture and Carving ; Greek and Roman Art

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