Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 394: 308-309

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Book XXXV

name embroidered in gold lettering on the checked pattern of his robes. Afterwards he set about giving away his works as presents, saying that it was impossible for them to be sold at any price adequate to their value: for instance he presented his Alcmena to the city of Girgenti and his Pan to Archelaus.a He also did a Penelope in which the picture seems to portray morality, and an Athlete, in the latter case being so pleased with his own work that he wrote below it a line of verseb which has hence become famous, to the effect that it would be easier for someone to carp at him than to copy him. His Zeus seated on a throne with the gods standing by in attendance is also a magnificent work, and so is the Infant Heracles throttling two Snakes in the presence of his mother Alcmena, looking on in alarm, and of Amphitryon. Nevertheless Zeuxis is criticized for making the heads and jointsc of his figures too large in proportion, albeit he was so scrupulously careful that when he was going to produce a pictured for the city of Girgenti to dedicate at the public cost in the temple of Lacinian Hera he held an inspection of maidens of the place paraded naked and chose five, for the purpose of reproducing in the picture the most admirable points in the form of each. He also painted monochromes in white.e His contemporariesZeuxis and Parrhasius. and rivals were Timanthes, Androcydes, Eupompus and Parrhasius. This last, it is recorded, entered into a competition with Zeuxis, who produced a picture of grapes so successfully represented that birds flew up to the stage-buildingsf; whereupon Parrhasius himself produced such a realistic picture of a curtain that Zeuxis, proud of the verdict of the birds, requested that the curtain should now

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938