(active later 5th century bc).
Greek painter from Heraclea (probably meaning the town of that name in southern Italy, rather than the one on the Black Sea). None of his works survive, but ancient writers describe him as one of the greatest of Greek painters and he was renowned for his remarkable powers of verisimilitude, as is indicated by a famous anecdote concerning a competition with a rival (see Parrhasius). Another story tells how when called upon to paint a picture of Helen of Troy for a temple at Croton he assembled the five most beautiful maidens of the city and combined the best features of each into one figure of ideal beauty—an early example of an idea that later became commonplace in aesthetic theory. He is said to have specialized in panels rather than murals. According to legend, Zeuxis died laughing while painting a picture of a funny-looking old woman, and the story has occasionally formed the basis for later artists' self-portraits. Aert de Gelder painted himself as Zeuxis (1685,Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt) and Rembrandt's ‘Laughing’ Self-Portrait (c.1665, Wallraf-Richartz-Mus., Cologne) has similarly been interpreted in this way.