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3. Of Colophon, a painter, contemporary with Polygnotus of Thasos, whose works he imitated in their accuracy, expression (πάθος), manner (ἦθος), in the treatment of the form, in the delicacy of the drapery, and in every other respect except in grandeur. (Ael. VH 4.3.) Plutarch (Plut. Tim. 36) speaks of his works as having strength and tone, but as forced and laboured. Aristotle (Aristot. Poet. 2) says that Polygnotus painted the likenesses of men better than the originals, Pauson made them worse, and Dionysius just like them (ὁμοίους). It seems from this that the pictures of Dionysius were deficient in the ideal. It was no doubt for this reason that Dionysius was called Anthropographus, like DEMETRIUS. It is true that Pliny, from whom we learn the fact, gives a different reason, namely, that Dionysius was so called because he painted only men, and not landscapes (35.10. s. 37); but this is only one case out of many in which Pliny's ignorance of art has caused him to give a false interpretation of a true fact. Sillig applies this passage to the later Dionysius (No. 4), but without any good reason.

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  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Aristotle, Poetics, 1448a
    • Plutarch, Timoleon, 36
    • Aelian, Varia Historia, 4.3
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