Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 394: 314-315

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Pliny: Natural History

anhelare sentiatur. laudantur et Aeneas Castorque ac Pollux in eadem tabula, item Telephus, Achilles, Agamemnon, Ulixes. fecundus artifex, sed quo nemo insolentius usus sit gloria artis, namque et cognomina usurpavit habrodiaetum se appellando aliisque versibus principem artis et eam ab se consummatam, super omnia Apollinis se radice ortum et Herculem, qui est Lindi, talem a se pictum, qualem 72saepe in quiete vidisset; et cum1 magnis suffragiis superatus a Timanthe esset2 Sami in Aiace armorumque iudicio, herois nomine se moleste ferre dicebat, quod iterum ab indigno victus esset—Pinxit et minoribus tabellis libidines, eo genere petulantis ioci se reficiens.3


Nam Timanthis vel plurimum adfuit ingenii. eius enim est Iphigenia oratorum laudibus celebrata, qua stante ad aras peritura cum maestos pinxisset omnes praecipueque patruum et tristitiae omnem imaginem consumpsisset, patris ipsius voltum velavit, 74quem digne non poterat ostendere. sunt et alia ingenii eius exempla, veluti Cyclops dormiens in parvola tabella, cuius et sic magnitudinem exprimere cupiens pinxit iuxta Satyros thyrso pollicem eius



be perceived to be panting for breath. His Aeneas, Castor and Pollux (Polydeuces), all in the same picture, are also highly praised, and likewise his groupa of Telephus with Achilles, Agamemnon and Odysseus. Parrhasius was a prolific artist, but one who enjoyed the glory of his art with unparalleled arrogance, for he actually adopted certain surnames, calling himself the ‘Bon Viveur,’ and in some other verses ‘Prince of Painters,’ who had brought the art to perfection, and above all saying he was sprung from the lineage of Apollo and that his picture of Heracles at Lindos presented the hero as he had often appeared to him in his dreams. Consequently whenTimanthes. defeated by Timanthes at Samos by a large majority of votes, the subject of the pictures being Ajax and the Award of the Arms, he used to declare in the name of his hero that he was indignant at having been defeated a second time by an unworthy opponent.b He also painted some smaller pictures of an immodest nature, taking his recreation in this sort of wanton amusement.

To return to Timanthes—he had a very high degree of genius. Oratorsc have sung the praises of his Iphigenia,d who stands at the altar awaiting her doom; the artist has shown all present full of sorrow, and especially her uncle,e and has exhausted all the indications of grief, yet has veiled the countenance of her father himself.f whom he was unable adequately to portray. There are also other examples of his genius, for instance a quite small panel of a Sleeping Cyclops, whose gigantic stature he aimed at representing even on that scale by painting at his side some Satyrs measuring the size of his thumb

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938