Myths and legends have long defined the origins of the arts. These beginnings have been perplexing throughout the history of the Western tradition, as even today the first motives and means of artistic production amongst prehistoric peoples elude scholars. It is no wonder then that charting the invention of creative actions in the visual arts, for instance, has been a considerably intriguing task for historians and theorists of the arts since antiquity. In a blend of fact and fiction, the ancients attempted to account for such origins. Amongst others, tales of Greek painters Apelles (c. fourth century bce) and Zeuxis (c. fifth century bce) claimed the heights of achievement for heroes who would come to be upheld as archetypes of artistic production. The Roman poet Ovid (b.43 bce), in his Metamorphoses, and Renaissance theorists, such as Leon Battista Alberti (1404–72) and Giorgio Vasari (1511–74), even proposed supernatural foundations for the invention of the visual arts, borne out in the tribulations of narratives involving Orpheus, Pygmalion, Narcissus, and Perseus, whose fables allegorized the births of painting and sculpture. Although revived in the Renaissance, these stories, whether of supposedly real or merely fictional heroes, were exceptionally popular in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France.