of Samos, is mentioned by Quintilian (12.10.6) as one of those painters who flourished from the time of Philip to that of the successors of Alexander
, the age of Pamphilus and Melanthius, Apelles and Protogenes.
The peculiar merit of Theon was his prolific fancy (concipiendis visionibus, quas φαντασίας vocant
), a characteristic denoting that excessive refinement in which the decline of art was already commencing, and which is still more strongly exhibited in the description given by Aelian (Ael. VH 2.44
) of Theon's picture of a soldier rushing to the battle. If we may believe Aelian, Theon even transgressed the limits of his own art in his attempt to produce a striking effect ; for he never exhibited the picture without first causing a charge to be sounded on trumpets, and when the excitement produced by the music was at its highest, he drew up the curtain, and showed the warrior as if he had suddenly started into the presence of the spectators. Pliny places Theon among the painters who were primis proximi,
and mentions two of his works, namely, Orestis insania,
and Thamyrus citharoedus (H. N.
35.11. s. 40.40).
The former picture is also mentioned in the treatise of the Pseudo-Plutarch, de Audiendis Poctis,
p. 18, from which we learn, what might be inferred from Pliny's words, that it represented (Orestes slaying his mother. (See further, respecting this picture, R. Rochette, Monum. Ined.