Homologies between verbal discourses and non-verbal imagines are frequent in Classical Antiquity. Among the ancients, paintings and sculptures were quite frequently displaced from their primary function of visual fruition, in order to compose homologies either with poetry or with prose.
Regarding poetry, Simonides of Ceos, via Plutarch, is a reference, and Horace turned into a canon the maxim: “ut pictura poesis”. Aristotle, in the Poetics, establishes similarities between painting and poetry and between poets and painters in order to analyze poetry, and in the Politics, he considers the relation between painting and poetry as a determining factor in children’s education.
Thus, he treats of the paintings of Pauson, Polignotus, Dionysius and Zeuxis. Quintilian, in his turn, despite the genre difference between his Institutio Oratoria and the Aristotelian doctrines, also includes the knowledge of figurative arts as a key element in the orator’s education.
This paper intends to discuss a homology elaborated by Cicero in the De Inventione, Book II, which concerns the relation between his rhetorical project and a painting by Zeuxis. This discussion seems appropriate, since any point made in respect to the issues concerning this homology sounds impressionistic or imprecise, and even problematic, as the term of comparison to Cicero’s work do not exist anymore.
Thus, I intend to interpret Cicero’s auctoritas as a preceptor, according to the homologies he proposes concerning the elaboration of his doctrines in his De Inventione, taking into consideration the type of painting produced by Zeuxis, revising the material culture of that period and observing textual references about it.
Since this work was conceived in his youth, the auctor Cicero would lack the authority necessary to confirm his arguments. In this sense, by extension, he borrows Zeuxis’ authority in order to compose his persona docta, so that, in this treatise, he becomes a painter and his painting is his project of Ars bene dicendi.
 Plu., Ath.Gl., 306F.
 Hor., Ars, 361 e ss
 Cf. Martins (2008:75)
 Arist., Po., 1448a; 1450a; 1461b
 Arist., Pol., 1340a.