Parrhasius in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)

(Παρράσιος). A famous Greek painter of Ephesus, who with Zeuxis was the chief representative of the Ionic school. He lived about B.C. 400 at Athens, where he seems to have received the citizenship. According to the accounts of ancient writers, he first introduced into painting the theory of human proportions, gave to the face delicate shades of expression, and was a master in the careful drawing of contours (Pliny , Pliny H. N. xxxv. 67, 68). His skill in indicating varieties of psychological expression could be appreciated in the picture representing the Athenian State or Δῆμος, in which, according to ancient authors, he distinctly portrayed all the conflicting qualities of the Athenian national character. Another of his pictures represented two boys, one of whom seemed to personify the pertness, and the other the simplicity, of boyhood. His inclination to represent excited states of mind is attested by the choice of subjects like the feigned madness of Odysseus, and the anguish of Philoctetes in Lemnos. His supposed contest with Zeuxis is well known. The grapes painted by Zeuxis deceived the birds, which flew to peck at them; while the curtain painted by Parrhasius deceived Zeuxis himself (Pliny , ib. 65). See Pictura; Zeuxis.

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