, a celebrated Grecian painter, was horn at Sicyon, or, according to some writers, at Cithnus, one of the Cyclades. He flourished towards the close of Alexander the Great’s rei^n, had a fertile invention, and the art of conveying ideas to the spectators beyond what his pictures represented. All the ancients bestow the highest encomiums on that of Iphigenia prepared to be sacrificed. In this celebrated picture the princess appeared with all the charms and grace belonging to her sex, age, and rank, with the dignity of a great soul devoting itself for its country, yet with the agitation which the approach of the sacrifice must necessarily cause. She was standing before the altar, the high priest Chalcis attending, whose countenance expressed that majestic sorrow becoming his office. Menelaus, Iphigenia’s uncle, Ulysses, Ajax, and the other Grecian princes were present at the sad spectacle, and the painter seemed to have so entirely exhausted every different species of grief, that he had no way left to describe that of the father, Agamemnon; but, by a stroke equally ingenious and touching, he covered the face of this prince with a veil, thus leaving the pitying spectator’s imagination to paint the dreadful situation of the unhappy parent. His idea has been several times adopted with success, and it has been the theme of unlimited praise from the orators and historians of antiquity, but the justice of this praise has been questioned by modern criticism, by sir Joshua Reynolds, in his “Eighth Discourse,” and by Mr. Fuseli, in his “First Lecture,” in which last the question is examined elaborately and scrupulously. 2


Pliny, Reynolds’s Works. Fuseli’s Lectures, 1801, 4to.