Zeuxis and ParrhasiusZeuxis and Parrhasius
in the 5th century BC
, are reported in the Naturalis Historia
of Pliny the Elder
to have staged a contest to determine which of the two was the greater artist. When Zeuxis unveiled his painting of grapes, they appeared so luscious and inviting that birds flew down from the sky to peck at them. Zeuxis than asked Parrhasius to pull aside the curtain from his painting. When it was discovered that the curtain itself was Parrhasius' painting, Zeuxis was forced to conede defeat, for while his work had managed to fool the eyes of birds, Parrhasius had deceived the eyes of an artist.
See also still life, trompe l'oeil