Apelles of Kos (; ; fl. 4th century BC) was a renowned painter of ancient Greece. Pliny the Elder, to whom we owe much of our knowledge of this artist ( Naturalis Historia 35.36.79–97 and passim), rated him superior to preceding and subsequent artists. He dated Apelles to the 112th Olympiad (332–329 BC), possibly because he had produced a portrait of Alexander the Great.
Little is known about Apelles (mid-2nd century). He was a disciple of Marcion, probably at Rome, but left (or was expelled from) the Marcionite society. Tertullian tells us that this was because he had become intimate with a woman named Philumena who claimed to be possessed by an angel, who gave her 'revelations' which Apelles read out in public.
He then went to Alexandria, where he developed his doctrine, a modified Marcionism, which (according to Tertullian) admitted that Christ possessed true human flesh but continued to deny the nativity.
Apelles wrote a book entitled Syllogisms ('reasonings') though the word itself suggests that Apelles may have intended to oppose Marcion's Antitheses, which set the Old Testament and the New Testament against each other. He is last heard of in Rome in the last portion of the 2nd century.
His followers, the 'Apelliacos' or Apelleasts, are likewise unknown. Tertullian wrote a tract against them which has not survived. Ambrose of Milan in the 4th century directs some of his comments in his De paradiso (On the Garden of Eden) against this sect, but whether the sect was still active or whether Ambrose had merely copied another now lost work of Tertullian on the same subject is unknown.
Tertullian mentions a teaching of this sect that flesh was constructed for seduced souls by a certain 'fiery prince of evil'. This seems related to the sort of gnostic ideas held by Basilides or Valentinus. Later Marcionite ideas described by the Armenian Eznik (or Yeznik Koghbatsi) seem similar to this.
Apelles may signify:
- Apelles, the most famous painter of Antiquity;
- Apelles, father of Aristophanes of Byzantium.
- Apelles, one of the guardians of Philip V of Macedon.
- Apelles, perhaps a son of the preceding, was a friend of Philip V of Macedon, and accompanied his son Demetrius to Rome in 183 BCE. (Plb. 23.14, &c., 24.1.)
- Apelles of Ascalon, chief tragic poet in the time of Caligula.
- Apelles of Heraklion, one of the Seventy Disciples;
- Apelles (gnostic), the founder of a Gnostic sect in the 2nd century.
- Appelles, an important advisor of Philip V of Macedon.
- "Apelles" was also a pseudonym used by the Jesuit Christoph Scheiner in writing on sunspots.
- The gossamer-winged butterfly genus Apelles is nowadays included in Glaucopsyche.
n. (context used connotatively English) A master (l en artist).
Usage examples of "apelles".
There is that tale I often told my pupils when they asked what was great art, the old tale of the young Apelles who wanted to be reckoned the best painter in the world but knew that the reputation of Protogenes stood in his way.
Protogenes, returning, saw the line and knew who his visitor must be, but took up his brush and painted a thinner line down the middle of the first, Apelles returned with Protogenes once more away and divided that line in turn by a line so thin that it brought the contest to an immediate end.
In the Onites apelles the tarsi are so habitually lost, that the insect has been described as not having them.
They consisted usually of three young staff-officers, two famous gladiators, Apelles the actor, and Eutychus, the best charioteer in Rome, who won nearly every race in which he competed.
But I never quite knew what tender relations existed between this person and that: Agrippinilla and Lesbia seemed to have exchanged husbands at one time, and at another Apelles seemed somehow intimately connected with Lesbia and the charioteer with Agrippinilla.
Caligula fancied himself a connoisseur and was also sentimentally attached to Apelles, the Philistine tragic actor, who wrote many of the pieces in which he played.
One piece which Caligula admired particularly-because he had made suggestions which Apelles had incorporated in his part-was played over and over again until everyone hated the sight and sound of it.
Caligula took private lessons in elocution and dancing from Apelles and Mnester and after a time frequently appeared on the stage in their parts.
England is by seeing but Mitford Haven as what Apelles was by the picture of his great toe.
Parrhasius, some nude male figures by Timanthes, one of the portraits of Alexander the Great by Apelles, and a horse by Apelles so lifelike it seemed tethered to the wall when viewed from the far side of the colonnade.
Above all those beauties, I could see the shape of two globes which Apelles would have taken for the model of those of his lovely Venus, and the rapid, inequal movement of which proved to me that those ravishing hillocks were animated.