Active Circa Late Second-early First Centuries B.C.E.
Portraits of Women. Iaia was a painter from Cyzicus, a Greek city on the coast of Asia Minor. Although little is known about her, she rates mention not only for the praise that Pliny bestows on her—including the fact that she was a virgin all her life—but as one of the very few female artists of antiquity whose name is actually known. In fact, she seems to have enjoyed considerable success in her lifetime. She is said to have specialized in portraits of women, including a self-portrait, and worked on ivory and other surfaces with brush and spatula in the encaustic technique. She won fame for the high quality of her work in Naples and elsewhere and was said to have had a quicker hand than any other painter. She commanded higher prices than many celebrated artists of the same period, such as Dionysius and Sopolis.
Jacob Isager, Pliny on Art and Society (London: Routledge, 1991).
K. Jex-Blake and Eugenie S. Sellers, eds., The Elder Pliny’s Chapters on the History of Art (Chicago: Argonaut, 1968).
Jerome J. Pollitt, The Art of Rome c.753 B.C.-337 A.D. Sources and Documents (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966).