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One folly, too, of this age of ours, in reference to painting, I must not omit. The Emperor Nero ordered a painting of himself to be executed upon canvass, of colossal proportions, one hundred and twenty feet in height; a thing till then unknown.1 This picture was just completed when it was burnt by lightning, with the greater part of the gardens of Maius, in which it was exhibited.

A freedman of the same prince, on the occasion of his exhibiting a show of gladiators at Antium, had the public porticos hung, as everybody knows, with paintings, in which were represented genuine portraits of the gladiators and all the other assistants. Indeed, at this place, there has been a very prevailing taste for paintings for many ages past. C. Terentius Lucanus was the first who had combats of gladiators painted for public exhibition: in honour of his grandfather, who had adopted him, he provided thirty pairs of gladiators in the Forum, for three consecutive days, and exhibited a painting of their combats in the Grove of Diana.2

1 From the construction of the passage, it is difficult to say whether he means to say that such colossal figures were till then unknown in painting, or whether that the use of canvass in painting was till then unknown. If the latter is the meaning, it is not exactly correct, though it is probable that the introduction of canvass for this purpose was comparatively late; there being no mention of its being employed by the Greek painters of the best periods.

2 See B. iii. c. 9, B. xiv. c. 3, and B. xvi. c. 91.

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