The Origin of Painting ('The Maid of Corinth')

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The Origin of Painting ('The Maid of Corinth') Dated 1775 (on the back)

On Display Scottish National Gallery

  • Scottish Art
This was painted in Rome at a time when the discovery of lost, ancient Graeco-Roman sculptures and mural paintings was exciting great interest in the artistic world. Greek or Roman subject matter was adopted by many artists. Here, Allan has chosen to illustrate a charming anecdote by the ancient Roman author Pliny, claiming that the art of painting had first been invented by a Corinthian girl who traced the outline of her lover's shadow on the wall before he went into battle.

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An artwork or design attached or applied directly to a wall.



  • Acc. No. NG 612
  • Medium Oil on panel
  • Size 38.70 x 31.00 cm (oval); framed: 51.50 x 44.10 x 5.70 cm
  • Credit Presented by Mrs Byres of Tonley 1875