Harpocration, Valerius, Lexicon in decem oratores Atticos, Parrasios

ΠΑΡΡΑΣΙΟΣ Ἰσοκράτης ἐν τῷ περὶ τῆς ἀντιδόσεως. ὅτι μὲν ζωγράφος Παρράσιος παντὶ δῆλον: Ἰόβας δὲ ἐν η περὶ ζωγράφων διεξέρχεται τὰ περὶ τὸν ἄνδρα, φησὶ δ̓ αὐτὸν εἶναι υἱὸν καὶ μαθητὴν Εὐήνορος, Ἐφέσιον δὲ τὸ γένος.

Parrhasios : in Isocrates Antidotis. Parrhasios was a painter, everyone knows that. Juba in the eighth book of his "On painters" give the details concerning the man. He says he was the son and pupil of Euenor, from Ephesus.

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Created by Valérie Toillon
Contributors:
  • Spyridon Loumakis

Parrhasios : dans l'Antidotis d'Isocrate. Parrhasios était un peintre, tout le monde le sait. Juba dans le huitième livre de son ouvrage "Sur les peintres" donne les détails qui le concernent et dit qu'il était le fils et apprenti d'Euénor, Éphésien d'origine.

Annotation Authors and Editors
Created by Valérie Toillon
Contributors:
  • Spyridon Loumakis

Commentary

  1. The text is a scholion from Isocrates' Antidosis 2 (text 206). Juba, king of Mauritania (50 B.C.-23 A.D.) was a prolific author. He wrote on natural history, linguistics, drama and theater, geography, history, and on “painting and painters” –“peri graphikês kai zoographôn” (FrGrH 275 F20J; Pollitt 1974; Tanner 2006, p. 215; see text 100).

  2. Euenor should not be confused with the Athenian sculptor who made the "Athena Angelitos"- ca. 480 BCE - (LIMC II s.v. Athena 144; Muller-Dufeu 2002, p. 209). This Euenor was a painter, active during the nineteenth Olympiad, ca. 420 BCE (see texts 91, 193) . He was Parrhasios' father and instructor (texts 91, 263, 288).

  3. According to Pliny (text 259) and Strabo (text 258), Parrhasios (ca. 440-390/380) was born in Ephesus (text 263) and later was granted the Athenian citizenship : Seneca Pater (text 272) and Acron (text 295) call him "Atheniensis" (Athenian). Pliny places Parrhasios' peak ("floruit") about 400-396 B.C. (Reinach et al. 1921, pp. 220-221; Bianchi Bandinelli 1950, pp. 59-61; Rumpf 1951; Vollkommer & Vollkommer-Glökler 2001, pp. 186-188; Croisille in Pline l’ancien 2003, p. 185).

  4. Parrhasios was a prolific painter. About twenty-four paintings are attributed to him in ancient sources, but there were certainly more than that (Reinach et al. 1921, pp. 227-243). Parrhasios was renowned for his talent in drawing (text 290) especially in his mastery in tracing the "boundaries of the body" (text 292). For that reason, Quintilian says that other painters called him the "legistator" -legum latorem- (text 293). Indeed, according to Athenaeus and Pausanias, Parrhasios made preparatory drawings for the chiseller Mys, maybe during his apprenticeship (see on this specific point the discussion on texts 288 and 289). Besides his talent in drawing, Parrhasios was notorious for depicting emotion and "ethos" (personality-character; see texts 130, 131 and 133), inner emotional struggle, especially in the subtle rendering of facial expressions and body postures (see texts 261 and 292; Moreno & Poma 1987, pp. 92-94). Ancient testimonies concerning Parrhasios are numerous. In fact, some authors point out his character, that he was proud of himself and his art, while advocating virtue (texts 260, 262, 263, 264). Furthermore, it was said that he was joyful and had a taste for luxury. Thus, according to Athenaeus, Parrhasios called himself "friend of pleasure" -"abrodiaitos anêr"-(texts 262, 263, 264). Despite all that, Parrhasios was perceived as a melancholic artist, especially considering the subject of his paintings: Philoctetes suffering (texts 270-271), Ajax (texts 260, 263, 265), Ulysses simulating madness (text 269), Prometheus' torture (text 272), pornographic paintings (texts 286-287), etc (Rouveret 1996, pp. 34-35; Rouveret 2003).

Annotation Authors and Editors
Created by Valérie Toillon
Contributors:
  • Spyridon Loumakis

Bibliography

Bianchi Bandinelli, R., 1950. La Storitcità dell’arte classica, Firenze: Electra editrice.

Moreno, P. & Poma, M.C., 1987. Pittura greca: da Polignoto ad Apelle, A. Mondadori.

Muller-Dufeu, M., 2002. La sculpture grecque: sources littéraires et épigraphiques, Paris: École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts.

Pline l’ancien, 2003. Histoire Naturelle, livre XXXV. Les Belles Lettres., Paris.

Pollitt, J.J., 1974. The Ancient View of Greek Art. Criticism, History, and Terminology., New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Reinach, A., Reinach, S. & Milliet, P., 1921. Textes grecs et latins relatifs à l’histoire de la peinture ancienne, Paris: Klincksieck.

Rouveret, A., 1996. De l’artisan à l’artiste : quelques “topoi” des biographies antiques. In Les “Vies” d’artistes. Actes du colloque international organisé par le Service culturel du musée du Louvre les 1er et 2 octobre 1993. Beaux-Arts Histoire. Paris, pp. 27–40.

Rouveret, A., 2003. Parrhasios ou le peintre assassin. In C. Lévy, B. Besnier, & A. Gigandet, eds. Ars et Ratio. Sciences, art et métiers dans la philosphie hellénistique et romaine. Actes du Colloque international organisé à Créteil, Fontenay et Paris du 16 au 18 octobre 1997. Bruxelles, pp. 184–193.

Rumpf, A., 1951. Parrhasios. American Journal of Archaeology, 55(1), pp.1–12.

Tanner, J., 2006. The Invention of Art History in Ancient Greece: Religion, Society and Artistic Rationalisation, Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Annotation Authors and Editors
Created by Valérie Toillon
Contributors:
  • Spyridon Loumakis