Artist, Paint My Girlfriend. Then My Boyfriend Too.

Anacreonta 16

“Come on, best of the painters,
Paint! Best of the Painters,
Expert in the Rhoadian art,
Paint my girlfriend who is away
Just as I tell you to.

First, paint her hair
Soft and black as it is.
As much as the wax can handle,
Make it smell of perfume.
Then make her whole cheek
Beneath her dark hair
Her ivory forehead.

Don’t separate her eyebrows
Or let them touch
Leave them as they are
Touching almost without notice,
The dark circles of her lashes.

Make her glance true
Bright like fire, flashing
Like Athena’s gaze,
But wet like Cythera’s
Color her nose and cheeks,
Mixing milk together with rose.

Dye her lips like Persuasion’s,
Just begging for kisses.
Have all the Graces fly
Beneath her chin
Around her marble smooth neck.

Dress the rest of her
In purple robes
But leave a little skin to see
Proof of her body below.

Stop! I am looking at her.
Wax–you’ll be chatting me up soon!”

ἄγε, ζωγράφων ἄριστε,
γράφε, ζωγράφων ἄριστε,
Ῥοδίης κοίρανε τέχνης,
ἀπεοῦσαν, ὡς ἂν εἴπω,
γράφε τὴν ἐμὴν ἑταίρην.

γράφε μοι τρίχας τὸ πρῶτον
ἁπαλάς τε καὶ μελαίνας·
ὁ δὲ κηρὸς ἂν δύνηται,
γράφε καὶ μύρου πνεούσας.

γράφε δ᾿ ἐξ ὅλης παρειῆς
ὑπὸ πορφυραῖσι χαίταις
ἐλεφάντινον μέτωπον.
τὸ μεσόφρυον δὲ μή μοι
διάκοπτε μήτε μίσγε,

ἐχέτω δ᾿, ὅπως ἐκείνη,
τὸ λεληθότως σύνοφρυ,
βλεφάρων ἴτυν κελαινήν.

τὸ δὲ βλέμμα νῦν ἀληθῶς
ἀπὸ τοῦ πυρὸς ποίησον,
ἅμα γλαυκόν, ὡς Ἀθήνης,
ἅμα δ᾿ ὑγρόν, ὡς Κυθήρης.
γράφε ῥῖνα καὶ παρειὰς
ῥόδα τῷ γάλακτι μίξας·

γράφε χεῖλος, οἷα Πειθοῦς,
προκαλούμενον φίλημα.
τρυφεροῦ δ᾿ ἔσω γενείου
περὶ λυγδίνῳ τραχήλῳ
Χάριτες πέτοιντο πᾶσαι.
στόλισον τὸ λοιπὸν αὐτὴν
ὑποπορφύροισι πέπλοις,
διαφαινέτω δὲ σαρκῶν
ὀλίγον, τὸ σῶμ᾿ ἐλέγχον.
ἀπέχει· βλέπω γὰρ αὐτήν·
τάχα, κηρέ, καὶ λαλήσεις.

Anacreonta 17

“Paint my dear Bathullos,
My boyfriend, as I instruct.
Make his hair bright–
Dark underneath,
But sun-brightened on top.
Add his curls free
Of the rest, set in a mess
As they wish.

Make his forehead crowned
With eyebrows, darker than serpents.
Leave his eyes black, fierce
Mixed with peace.
Their ferocity is from Ares
Their peace is from Cythera–
He uses them to frighten at times
And to dangle hope in others.

Give his tender cheek
And apple’s red glow–
And, if you can manage,
Add Modesty’s light blush.

I don’t know how you can make his lips
Gentle yet still compelling.
So let the wax itself
Hold it all, chatting in silence.

Below his face give him a neck
Nicer ivory than Adonis had.
Provide him with Hermes’ chest
And his two hands.
Grant him Polydeuces’ thighs
and Dionysus’ belly.
Above his tender thighs,
Thighs holding roiling fire,
Give him a sufficient penis,
Already longing for the Paphian.

Unfortunately, your art begrudges:
It is incapable of showing his
Back. That would have been nicer.

Why do I need to tell you about his feet?
Take my money, however much you say.
Record this Apollo and
Make me a Bathullos.

And if you ever visit Samos,
Paint an Apollo after my Bathyllos.”

γράφε μοι Βάθυλλον οὕτω,
τὸν ἑταῖρον, ὡς διδάσκω·
λιπαρὰς κόμας ποίησον,
τὰ μὲν ἔνδοθεν μελαίνας,
τὰ δ᾿ ἐς ἄκρον ἡλιώσας·
ἕλικας δ᾿ ἐλευθέρους μοι
πλοκάμων ἄτακτα συνθεὶς
ἄφες, ὡς θέλωσι, κεῖσθαι.

ἁπαλὸν δὲ καὶ δροσῶδες
στεφέτω μέτωπον ὀφρὺς
κυανωτέρη δρακόντων.
μέλαν ὄμμα γοργὸν ἔστω
κεκερασμένον γαλήνῃ,
τὸ μὲν ἐξ Ἄρηος ἕλκον,
τὸ δὲ τῆς καλῆς Κυθήρης,
ἵνα τις τὸ μὲν φοβῆται,
τὸ δ᾿ ἀπ᾿ ἐλπίδος κρεμᾶται.

ῥοδέην δ᾿ ὁποῖα μῆλον
χνοΐην ποίει παρειήν·
ἐρύθημα δ᾿ ὡς ἂν Αἰδοῦς,
δύνασ᾿ εἰ βαλεῖν, ποίησον.
τὸ δὲ χεῖλος οὐκέτ᾿ οἶδα
τίνι μοι τρόπῳ ποιήσεις
ἁπαλὸν γέμον τε πειθοῦς·

τὸ δὲ πᾶν ὁ κηρὸς αὐτὸς
ἐχέτω λαλῶν σιωπῇ.
μετὰ δὲ πρόσωπον ἔστω
τὸν Ἀδώνιδος παρελθὼν
ἐλεφάντινος τράχηλος.

μεταμάζιον δὲ ποίει
διδύμας τε χεῖρας Ἑρμοῦ,
Πολυδεύκεος δὲ μηρούς,
Διονυσίην δὲ νηδύν·
ἁπαλῶν δ᾿ ὕπερθε μηρῶν,

μαλερὸν τὸ πῦρ ἐχόντων,
ἀφελῆ ποίησον αἰδῶ
Παφίην θέλουσαν ἤδη.
φθονερὴν ἔχεις δὲ τέχνην,
ὅτι μὴ τὰ νῶτα δεῖξαι

δύνασαι· τὰ δ᾿ ἦν ἀμείνω.
τί με δεῖ πόδας διδάσκειν;
λάβε μισθόν, ὅσσον εἴπῃς.
τὸν Ἀπόλλωνα δὲ τοῦτον
καθελὼν ποίει Βάθυλλον·

ἢν δ᾿ ἐς Σάμον ποτ᾿ ἔλθῃς,
γράφε Φοῖβον ἐκ Βαθύλλου.

17th century poretait of an artist looking at viewer while painting a woman. Everyone is clothed.

Self Portrait of the Artist Painting his Wife, Giulio Quaglio I 1628

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