PARRHASIUS


According to the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder, Zeuxis and his contemporary Parrhasius of Ancient Greece held a contest to determine who is the greater artist. When Zeuxis unveiled his painting of grapes, they appeared so real birds flew down to peck at them. When Zeuxis tried to pull back the covering of Parrhasius' painting, he realized the curtain was the painting. Zeuxis said, "I have deceived the birds, but Parrhasius has deceived Zeuxis." In a 1964 seminar, psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan observed that this myth revealed how animals are attracted to superficial appearances, humans are enticed by what is hidden. My work attempts to appeal to both our animal and human instincts.