HISTORY OF ART
BEGINNERS AND STUDENTS
COMPLETE INDEXES AND NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS
CLARA ERSKINE CLEMENT
AUTHOR OF "HANDBOOK OF LEGENDARY AND MYTHOLOGICAL ART," "PAINTERS, SCULPTORS, ENGRAVERS, ARCHITECTS AND THEIR WORKS," "ARTISTS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY," ETC.
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY MDCCCXCI
BY FREDERICK A. STOKES,
SUCCESSOR TO WHITE, STOKES, & ALLEN.
CHAPTER I. PAGE
GREEK SCULPTURE, 18
ANCIENT ITALIAN SCULPTURE, 82
MEDIAEVAL SCULPTURE, FROM THE FIFTH TO THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY, 105
ITALIAN SCULPTURE IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY, 136
SCULPTURE IN GERMANY, FRANCE, ENGLAND, AND SPAIN, FROM 1450 TO 1550, 160
ITALIAN SCULPTURE IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY—CELLINI, MICHAEL ANGELO, AND OTHERS, 181
EUROPEAN SCULPTURE FROM MICHAEL ANGELO TO CANOVA, 213
CANOVA, THORWALDSEN, AND OTHER RECENT SCULPTORS, 235
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Venus of Milo, Frontispiece
Statue of Cephren in the Museum at Cairo, 3
Various Kinds of Dogs, 5
The Great Sphinx, 7
The Colossi at Thebes, 9
Polishing a Colossal Statue, 10
Mode of Transporting a Colossus from the Quarries (from a lithographic Drawing), 11
Statue of Sardanapalus I. (from Nimrud), 12
Lion-Hunt (from Nimrud), 13
Wounded Lion Biting a Chariot-wheel, 15
Arm-chair or Throne (Khorsabad), 16
Mode of Drawing the Bow (Koyunjik), 17
Lion Devouring Deer, 22
Heracles, Triton, and Nereids, 23
Heracles and the Cecrops, 23
Actaeon and his Dogs, 24
From the Harpy Monument, London, 25
Figures from the Pediment of the Temple of Minerva, at AEgina, 27
Archaistic Artemis at Naples, 28
The Discobolus (Myron), 30
Athenian Coins with the Minerva Promachos, 34
Coin of Elis with the Olympian Zeus, 36
Bust of Jupiter found at Otricoli, 37
Torso of a Statue of Theseus (?), 38
From the Frieze of the Parthenon, 43
The Five Central Figures, 44
Youths Preparing to join the Cavalcade, 45
Horsemen Starting, 46
Procession of Cavalry, 46
Procession of Chariots, 47
Train of Musicians and Youths, 47
Cows for Sacrifice, 48
Train of Noble Maidens, 48
Head of Asclepius (in the British Museum), 50
A Wounded Amazon (Cresilas), 52
Statue of Pericles (Cresilas), 52
Eirene and the Young Plutus (Cephisodotus), 56
Portrait of Mausolus, 57
From the Frieze of the Mausoleum, 58
The Eros of Centocelle, 60
Niobe and her Youngest Daughter, 62
Brother and Sister, 63
The Eldest Daughter, 64
A Niobid, 65
Ganymede (after Leochares), 66
Monument of Lysicrates (Athens), 67
Bacchus and Lion (from the Lysicrates Monument), 68
The Apoxyomenos of Lysippus, 69
The Laocoon Group, 75
The Farnese Bull, 77
Gallic Warrior (Venice), 78
The Dying Gaul, 79
Boy and Goose, 80
Venus de' Medici, 86
The Farnesian Hercules, 89
The Apollo Belvedere, 90
Head of Apollo Belvedere, 91
The Steinhaeuser Head, 91
The Stroganoff Apollo, 92
Diane a la Biche, 95
Athena of the Capitol, 96
Triumphal Procession from Arch of Titus, 97
From the Reliefs of Trajan's Column, 99
Portrait of Sophocles, 101
Statue of Augustus, 102
Agrippina the Elder, 103
Statue of St. Peter, 106
From the Cathedra of Maximianus, 109
Diptych (Zurich), 110
From the Facade of Chartres Cathedral, 113
From the North Transept of Rheims Cathedral, 118
From the West Facade of Strasburg Cathedral, 120
Duke Robert of Normandy, 121
Ivory Relief (Hunting Scene), 124
Relief by Nicola Pisano (Lucca), 128
Relief from the Pulpit at Pisa (Nicola Pisano), 129
Campo Santo of Pisa (Giovanni Pisano), 132
Relief by Jacopo della Quercia (Bologna), 138
From the Eastern Gates (showing compartments 6, 8, and 10), 141
The Annunciation (Donatello), 143
Statue of St. George (Donatello), 144
Dancing Boys (Luca della Robbia), 147
Boy with Dolphin (Verocchio), 149
Statue of Colleoni (Verocchio), 150
Terra-cottas from the Ospedale Grande (Milan), 156
Count Eberhard von Grumbach (Rimpar), 169
The Three Wise Virgins, 170
Tomb of St. Sebald (Nuremberg), 172
Peter Vischer's Statue, 173
St. Sebald and the Burning Icicles (Vischer), 174
Peter (Vischer), 175
John (Vischer), 175
Man and Geese (Labenwolf), 176
Pharisee, Levite (Rustici), 183
Bacchus (Jacopo Sansovino), 185
Perseus (Benvenuto Cellini), 191
Michael Angelo's Angel (Bologna), 197
Pieta (Michael Angelo), 199
Michael Angelo's David, 201
Giuliano de' Medici (Michael Angelo), 205
Statue of Moses (Michael Angelo), 207
Mercury (Giovanni da Bologna), 215
Relief by Berruguete (Valladolid), 217
Rape of Proserpine (Bernini), 225
Caryatide (Quellinus), 231
Heads of Dying Warriors (Schlueter), 232
The Great Elector (Schlueter), 233
The Three Graces (Canova), 241
Hebe (Canova), 246
Ariadne and the Panther (Dannecker), 249
Jason (Thorwaldsen), 256
Ganymede and the Eagle (Thorwaldsen), 260
The Three Graces (Thorwaldsen), 261
Statue of Queen Louise (Rauch), 270
Nymph (by Bosio), 273
No one can speak with exactness as to the time when sculpture was first practised by the Egyptians; we only know that it was a very long time ago. But we do know that in the time of the twelfth dynasty, which dates from 2466 B.C., sculpture had reached a stage of excellence such as could only have resulted from the experience of many years of training and practice in this art.
In the Egyptian collection of the Louvre, at Paris, there is the memorial stone of an old Egyptian sculptor which has an inscription that reads as if he had written it himself; this was the way by which Egyptians made these inscriptions sound as if the dead themselves spoke to those who were still alive. This sculptor's name was Martisen, and he lived about forty-four centuries ago. Brugsch-Bey, a very learned writer on Egypt, says: "He calls himself 'a master among those who understand art, and a plastic artist,' who 'was a wise artist in his art.' He relates in succession his knowledge in the making of statues, in every position, according to prescribed use and measure; and brings forward, as his particular invention, an etching with colors, if I have rightly understood the expression, 'which can neither be injured by fire nor washed off by water; 'and, as a further explanation of this, states that 'no man has arisen who has been able to do this except himself alone and the eldest son of his race, whom God's will has created. He has arisen able to do this, and the exercise of his hand has been admired in masterly works in all sorts of precious stones, from gold and silver to ivory and ebony.'"
There is no doubt but that Martisen and his son, who was named Usurtasen, were sculptors at the time when Egyptian art reached its highest point.
The earliest works of Egyptian sculpture are the bas-reliefs found in the chambers of the tombs; the walls are almost covered with them, and they are painted with colors which are still bright and fresh, though more than four thousand years have passed since they were put on. The subjects of these reliefs are taken from the life of the persons buried in the tombs, and even their possessions and occupations are thus represented. These sculptures were made by tracing the designs on the stone and then cutting it away between the figures. The mode of arrangement in these reliefs does not satisfy our ideas of what it should be. It seems as if the artists had no plan of their work in their minds—no aim as to what the effect should be when finished. On the contrary, the reliefs impress us as if the sculptors made one figure, and then added another and another in such a way as to represent the fact they wished to tell without any attention to the beauty of the whole; and so it does not seem as if there was any unity in them, but as if the large bas-reliefs were made up of disjointed parts which in one sense really have no relation to each other.
The same is true of the Egyptian statues. It appears as if the different parts might have been made separately or even by different sculptors, and then joined together. All this is because the Egyptians seemed to think of an object in parts and not as a whole. Then, too, the position of the early statues was so unnatural and awkward. The arms were placed close to the sides of the body, and there was no separation between the legs; and though in some of their articles of furniture, their pottery, and in the details of their architecture, the Egyptians made a great advance, they did not equally improve in their sculpture.
One great hindrance to the progress of Egyptian sculpture was the fact that figures were never represented in action. They were not figures moving and living in stone; they were like figures petrified and fixed: they were statues, and no one can forget this for a moment while looking at them. I can learn of but one Egyptian figure sculptured as if in action; this is a quoit-thrower in the Tombs of the Kings. A sitting statue, whether of a man or a woman, had the hands rested on the knees or held across the breast (Fig. 1).
There were very few groups in Egyptian sculpture, and these seldom had more than two figures. It was customary to represent a husband and wife sitting on the same chair holding each other's hands, or having their arms around one another's waists or shoulders. Sometimes the principal figure is of large size, and the inferior persons are made much smaller and placed at the sides of the larger figure. In short, very few attitudes are represented in Egyptian sculpture, and it almost seems as if there must have been fixed rules for a certain limited number of positions after which all sculptured figures were made.
In spite of this sameness and stiffness, Egyptian sculpture is remarkable, and it is probable that if they had not been fettered by prejudices and rules the Egyptians would have excelled both in sculpture and painting.
The sides of obelisks and, more especially, the walls of temples were covered with sculptures which gave the history of kings—of their wars and conquests, and of their great works in their kingdoms. The sculptures upon the temple walls could be estimated by square rods, or even acres, better than by lesser measures. Their amount and the labor it required to make them are simply marvellous.
I will describe the subjects depicted upon one inner wall in the palace-temple of Medemet Haboo, and will quote from Wilkinson's "Egypt and Thebes." On the west wall "the Egyptian princes and generals conduct the 'captive chiefs' into the presence of the king. He is seated at the back of his car, and the spirited horses are held by his attendants on foot. Large heaps of hands are placed before him, which an officer counts, one by one, as the other notes down their number on a scroll; each heap containing three thousand, and the total indicating the returns of the enemy's slain. The number of captives, reckoned one thousand in each line, is also mentioned in the hieroglyphics above, where the name of the Rebo points out the nation against whom this war was carried on. Their flowing dresses, striped horizontally with blue or green bands on a white ground, and their long hair and aquiline noses give them the character of an Eastern nation in the vicinity of Assyria and Persia, as their name reminds us of the Rhibii of Ptolemy, whom he places near the Caspian." ...
The suite of this historical subject continues on the south wall. The king, returning victorious to Egypt, proceeds slowly in his car, conducting in triumph the prisoners he has made, who walk beside and before it, three others being bound to the axle. Two of his sons attend as fan-bearers, and the several regiments of Egyptian infantry, with a corps of their allies, under the command of these princes, marching in regular step and in the close array of disciplined troops, accompany their king. He arrives at Thebes, and presents his captives to Amen-Ra and Mut, the deities of the city, who compliment him, as usual, on the victory he has gained, and the overthrow of the enemy he has "trampled beneath his feet."
This description of these bas-reliefs, which are usually painted, will give an idea of the great works of Egyptian sculptors.
The representation of the animals in these sculptures is as successful as any part of them. There being no intellectual expression required, they are more pleasing than the human beings, with their set, unchanging features and expression. The Egyptians had several breeds of dogs, and the picture here (Fig. 2) is made up from the dogs found in the sculptures—No. 1, hound; 2, mastiff; 3, turnspit; 4, 5, fox-dogs; 6, 7, greyhounds.
One of the figures often repeated by the sculptors of Egypt was the Sphinx. The colossal and most famous one (Fig. 5) is not far from the great pyramid, and has the form of a recumbent lion with a human head. It is one hundred and seventy-two feet long, and is the Sphinx of the world; but there were great numbers of these strange figures in Egypt—in some cases there were avenues leading to the temples bordered by them on each side. The form of the Sphinx was intended to express some spiritual thought to the Egyptians, and the stories about it are very interesting. Its form certainly denotes the union of physical and mental power. The form of which we have spoken as being that of the great Sphinx is called the androsphinx (Fig. 3). Another has the body of the lion with the head of the ram, and is called the kriosphinx (Fig. 4); still another has the same body and the head of a hawk; this is called the hieracosphinx (Fig. 6). They all typified the king, without doubt, and it is probable that the various heads were so given to show respect for the different gods who were represented with the heads of these creatures. Sometimes the androsphinx has human hands in place of the lion's paws. The winged Sphinx has been found in Egypt, but it is rare.
The colossal statues of Egypt are very wonderful on account of their vast weight and size. The most famous are two which stand on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes (Fig. 7). Each of these colossi is made from a single block of stone such as is not found within several days' journey of the place where they stand. They are forty-seven feet high, and contain eleven thousand five hundred cubic feet each. But a third is still larger; it represents the King Rameses II., and, when whole, was of a single stone, and weighed eight hundred and eighty-seven tons. It was brought from Assouan to Thebes, a distance of one hundred and thirty-eight miles. It is wonderful to think of moving such a vast weight over such a distance, and one would naturally wish to know also how the sculptors could work on such a statue. The plate here given (Fig. 8) shows the process of polishing a statue, and the following one (Fig. 9) illustrates the mode of moving one when finished. These representations are found in tombs and grottoes, and tell us plainly just what we wish to know about these things.
I have now pointed out the marked peculiarities of Egyptian sculpture, and before leaving the subject will call your attention to the fact that in most cases it was used in connection with and almost as a part of Egyptian architecture. In the tombs the bas-reliefs are for the decoration of the walls and to finish the work of the architect, while at the same time they are an interesting feature of the art of the nation and period. In the temple palaces this is also true—though the reliefs serve the purpose of telling the history of the kings; they are, as it were, framed into and make a part of the architectural effect. The obelisks, colossal figures and Sphinxes were placed before the grand buildings, and made a part of them architecturally. In general terms we may say that sculpture never became an independent art in Egypt, but was essentially wedded to architecture; and this fact largely accounts for that other truth that sculpture never reached the perfection in Egypt that it promised, or the excellence that would have seemed to be the natural result of its earliest attainments.
The works of sculpture in Assyria consisted of statues, bas-reliefs, statuettes in clay, carvings in ivory, metal castings, and some smaller works, such as articles for jewelry, made in minute imitation of larger works in sculpture.
[Illustration: FIG. 9.—MODE OF TRANSPORTING A COLOSSUS FROM THE QUARRIES. From a Lithographic Drawing.
In a Grotto at Dayr E'Shake, near El Bersheh.
1. The statue bound upon a sledge with ropes. It is of a private individual, not of a king, or a deity.
2. Man probably beating time with his hands, and giving out the verse of a song, to which the men responded; though 3 appears as if about to throw something which 2 is preparing to catch, or striking crotala.
4. Pouring a liquid, perhaps grease, from a vase.
5. Egyptian soldiers, carrying boughs.
6, 7, 8, 9. Men, probably captives and convicts, dragging the statue.
10. Men carrying water, or grease.
11. Some implements.
13, 14, 15, 16. Reliefs of men.]
The statues found in Assyria are by no means beautiful, according to our idea of beauty. They are as set and stiff in design as the Egyptian works of this sort, and they have suffered so much injury from the weather and from violence that we cannot judge of the manner in which they were originally finished.
The number of Assyrian statues that have been found is small; this one given here (Fig. 10), of Sardanapalus I., is in the best state of preservation of any of them. It is smaller than life size, being about forty-two inches high. The statuettes of the Assyrians are less artistic than the statues. They are made from a clay which turned red in baking, and are colored so as to resemble Greek pottery. They are almost always of a grotesque appearance, and usually represent gods or genii. They also combine human and animal forms in a less noble and artistic way than is done in the Egyptian representation of the Sphinx. There are also small figures of animals in terra-cotta, principally dogs and ducks. But the large and small statues of the Assyrians are their most unimportant works in sculpture. It is in their bas-reliefs that their greatest excellence is seen, and in them alone their progress in art can be traced. This sort of sculpture seems to have been used by the Assyrians just as painting was used in Italy after the Renaissance. It was their mode of expressing everything. Through it they gave expression to their religious feeling; they told the history of their nation, and glorified their kings; they represented the domestic scenes which now make the subjects of genre pictures; and even imitated vegetables and fruits, as well as to reproduce landscapes and architecture in these pictures cut from stone. In truth, it is chiefly from the bas-reliefs that we learn the history of Assyria, and in this view their sculptures are even more important than when they are considered merely from an artistic view.
The most ancient palaces at Nimrud furnish the earliest examples of bas-relief. These date at about the end of the tenth century B.C. One striking peculiarity in the design is that all the figures, both men and animals, are given in exact profile. In spite of this sameness of position they have much spirit and action. The picture of a lion-hunt given here (Fig. 11) is one of the very best of these reliefs, and you will notice that the animal forms are much superior to those of the human beings. This is true of all Assyrian art in all its stages. In these oldest bas-reliefs there are no backgrounds; but later on these are added, and mountains, hills, streams, trees, and wild animals are all introduced as details of the general design. The highest state of this art was reached about 650 B.C. At this period the various forms seem to be more varied and less arranged according to some rule. The human faces and figures are more delicately finished, and there is an air of freedom and a spirit in the handling of the subjects that is far better than that of any other time. The plants and trees are far more beautiful than before.
The figures of animals, too, are full of life and action in this period. I shall only give one illustration, and shall choose the head of a lion, probably the best specimen of animal drawing which is yet known in Assyrian art. It represents the head of a wounded lion, who, in his agony, rushes upon a chariot and seizes the wheel with his teeth. The drawing of this head, as a portrayal of agony and fierceness, compares favorably with anything of the same kind belonging to any age of art, either classic or modern (Fig. 12).
There is a question which has not yet been decided as to the amount of color used on the Assyrian bas-reliefs. From the traces of color remaining on those that are found in the excavations, and from what we know of the use of colors on the buildings to which the bas-reliefs belonged, we may be sure that colors were used on them; but to what extent cannot be told. It may have been applied with the freedom of the Egyptians, or it may have been sparingly used, as was the manner of the ancient Greeks. The colors that have been found in the ruins of Assyria are white, black, red and blue.
Next to the sculpture, the metal work of the Assyrians was the most important of their arts. This work was done in three ways: I. Whole figures or parts of figures cast in a solid shape. II. Castings of low bas-reliefs. III. Embossed designs made chiefly with the hammer, but finished with the graver. In the solid castings there are only animal forms, and lions are far more numerous than any other creature. Many of them have a ring fastened to the back, which indicates that they were used for weights. These castings are all small and their form good; but we have no reason to think that the Assyrians could make large metal castings.
The castings in relief were used to ornament thrones, furniture, and perhaps chariots. They were fastened in their places by means of small nails. They had no great merit. The embossed or hammered work, on the contrary, is artistic and very curious. Large numbers of embossed bowls and dishes have been found, and this work was used for the end of sword-sheaths, the sides of chairs and stools, and various other ornamental purposes. It is probable that the main part of the tables, chairs, and so on were of wood, with the ornaments in embossed metals. All this shows the Assyrians to have been an artistic people, and to have reached an interesting stage in their arts, though their works are coarse and imperfect when judged by Greek standards or by our own idea of what is beautiful. If we had the space to consider all the various designs of the bas-reliefs in detail, you would learn from them a great many interesting facts concerning the domestic life of this ancient and interesting people. From them we can learn all about the costumes worn by the king and those of lesser rank; can see how their wars were carried on, and what their chariots, weapons, and equipments were. Their games, amusements, musical instruments, agricultural pursuits, food, and, in short, everything connected with their daily life is plainly shown in these sculptures, and, as I have said before, the whole history of Assyria is better studied from them than from any other one source. For this reason their great value cannot be over-estimated (Fig. 13).
Other very ancient nations had sculptors, and a few remains of their arts still exist. This is true of the Medes, Babylonians, and Persians; but the general features of their arts resembled those of the Assyrians, though they were less advanced than that nation, and have left nothing as interesting as the Egyptian and Assyrian remains which we have considered. I shall therefore leave them and pass to the sculpture of Greece.
We have seen that the Egyptians and Assyrians were skilful in sculpture, but at the same time their works have not moved us as we wish to be moved by art; there is always something beyond them to be desired, and it remained for the Greeks to attain to that perfection in sculpture which satisfies all our nature and fills our highest conceptions of beauty and grace. In truth, in Greece alone has this perfection in plastic art existed, and since the time of its highest excellence there no other nation has equalled the examples of Greek sculpture which still exist, though we have reason to believe that its finest works have perished, and that those remaining are of the second grade.
There are many reasons for the high artistic attainments of the Greeks, and a discussion or even a simple statement of them would require an essay far too learned and lengthy for the scope of this book; but I will speak of one truth that had great influence and went far to perfect Greek art—that is, the unbounded love of beauty, which was an essential part of the Greek nature. To the Greek, in fact, beauty and good had the same meaning—beauty was good, and the good must be beautiful.
Sculpture deals almost exclusively with the form of man, and the other features in it have some relation to the human element of the design; and it would have been impossible for a true Greek to represent the human form otherwise than beautiful. A writer on this point says: "The chief aim of the enlightened Greek, his highest ambition and his greatest joy, was to be a man in the fullest sense of the word—man in the most complete development of his bodily strength and beauty, in the active exercise of the keenest senses, in the greatest because tempered enjoyment of sensual pleasure, in the free and joyous play of an intellect strong by nature, graced and guided by the most exquisite taste, and enlightened by the sublimest philosophy." Thus, beauty was so important to the Greek that every parent prayed that his children might have this gift, and the names of beautiful persons were engraved upon pillars set where all could read them; and at times there were competitions for the prize of beauty.
The religion of the Greek, too, taught that the body was the beautiful and godlike temple of his soul; and the truth that human beings have something in common with a higher power than their own gave him a great respect for humanity, and, in truth, he felt that if he could escape death he should be content and almost, if not quite, a god. For we must remember that the gods of the Greek were not all-wise, all-powerful, and all-good, as we believe our God to be. If you read their mythology you will find that with the power of the god much imperfection and weakness were mingled. They did not believe that Zeus had been the greatest god from the beginning, but that there was a time when he had no power. He was not omniscient nor omnipresent, and was himself subject to the decrees of Fate, as when he could not save his loved Sarpedon from death. Not knowing all things, even the gods are sometimes represented as depending upon mortals for information, and all these religious views tended to make the human form far more noble to the Greek than it can be to the Christian, with his different views of the relations of God and man.
Greek sculpture existed in very early days, and we have vague accounts of a person called DAEDALUS, who seems to have been a wood-carver. Many cities claimed to have been his birthplace, and no one can give any clear account of this ancient artist. He is called the inventor of the axe, saw, gimlet, plummet-line, and a kind of fish-glue or isinglass. He is also said to have been the first sculptor who separated the arms from the bodies of his statues, or made the feet to step out; he also opened their eyes, and there is a legend that the statues of Daedalus were so full of life that they were chained lest they should run away.
We call the time to which Daedalus belonged the prehistoric period, and his works and those of other artists of his day have all perished. Two very ancient specimens of sculpture remain—the Lion Gate of Mycenae and the Niobe of Mount Sipylus; but as their origin is not known, and they may not be the work of Greek artists, it is best for us to pass on to about 700 B.C., when the records of individual artists begin.
Among the earliest of these was DIBUTADES, of whom Pliny said that he was the first who made likenesses in clay. This author also adds that Dibutades first mixed red earth with clay, and made the masks which were fastened to the end of the lowest hollow tiles on the roofs of temples. Pliny relates the following story of the making of the first portrait in bas-relief.
Dibutades lived in Sicyon, and had a daughter called sometimes Kora, and again Callirhoe. She could not aid her father very much in his work as a sculptor, but she went each day to the flower-market and brought home flowers, which gave a very gay and cheerful air to her father's little shop. Kora was very beautiful, and many young Greeks visited her father for the sake of seeing the daughter. At length one of these youths asked Dibutades to take him as an apprentice; and when this request was granted the young man made one of the family of the sculptor. Their life was one of simple content. The young man could play upon the reed, and his education fitted him to be the instructor of Kora. After a time, for some reason that Pliny does not mention, it was best for the youth to go away from the artist's home, and he then asked Kora if she would be his wife. She consented, and vows of betrothal were exchanged, while they were sad at the thought of parting.
The last evening of his stay, as they sat together, Kora seized a coal from the brazier, and traced upon the wall the outline of the face that was so dear to her; and she did this so correctly that when her father saw it he knew instantly from what face it had been drawn. Then he wished to do his part, for he also loved the young man. So he brought his clay and filled in the outline which Kora had drawn, and so went on to model the first portrait in bas-relief that was ever made. Thus did this great art grow out of the love of this beautiful maiden of Sicyon, about twenty-five hundred years ago.
After this beginning Dibutades went on to perfect his art. He made medallions and busts, and decorated the beautiful Grecian structures with his work, and work in bas-relief became the most beautiful ornamentation of the splendid temples and theatres of Greece. He also founded a school for modelling at Sicyon, and became so famous an artist that several Greek cities claim the honor of having been his birthplace.
The bas-relief made from Kora's outline was preserved in the Nymphaeum at Corinth for almost two hundred years, but was then destroyed by fire. She married her lover, and he became a famous artist at Corinth.
We have said that accounts of individual artists exist from about 700 B.C.; but these accounts are of so general a character and so wanting in detail that I shall pass on about two hundred years, after saying a few words of the advance made in the arts of sculpture, and mentioning a few of the examples which remain from that early time, which is called the Archaic period. This expression not only means an ancient period of art, but carries also the idea of an obsolete art—of something that is not only ancient, but something that is no longer practised in the same manner or by the same people as existed in this ancient or archaic time. During this archaic period a beginning was made in many branches of plastic art. There were statues in metal and marble, bas-reliefs in various kinds of stone and marble, as well as some chryselephantine statues. This kind of work is often said to have been invented by Phidias, but the truth seems to be that he was not its inventor, but carried it to great perfection. These chryselephantine statues were made of wood and then covered with ivory and gold; the ivory was used for the flesh parts of the statue, and gold for the drapery and ornaments of the figure, and the finished work was very brilliant in its effect.
The principal subjects represented in the sculpture of the archaic period were connected with the religion of the Greeks, which is known to us as mythology. Most statues were of the gods, but portrait statues were not unknown, and the custom of setting up statues of the victors in the Greek games dates back to this very early time. This was a custom which afforded a large field for sculptors to work in, and must have had a great influence to give life and progress to their art.
Of the remains of this art very interesting things have been written, but I shall speak only of a few such objects of which pictures can be given to aid you in understanding about them. Among the earliest reliefs that have been preserved are those now in the Museum of the Louvre, at Paris, which were found in the ruins of a Doric temple at Assos (Fig. 15).
The various designs upon these marbles seem to have no connection with each other, and are executed in a rude manner. The most interesting one represents Heracles, or Hercules, struggling with a Triton (Fig. 16).
The female figures represent Nereids, who are terrified by seeing Heracles in contest with the sea-monster. There are many proofs that these reliefs belong to a very ancient day.
An interesting relief from the temple of Selinus represents Heracles striding off with a pole across his shoulders, to which are hung two Cecrops who had robbed and tormented him (Fig. 17).
A very fine work is also from Selinus, and represents Actaeon torn by his dogs. The mythological story was that Zeus, or Jupiter, was angry with Actaeon because he wished to marry Semele, and the great god commanded Artemis, or Diana, to throw a stag's skin over Actaeon, so that his own dogs would tear him. In the relief Artemis stands at the left (Fig. 18).
There is in the British Museum a monument which was discovered at Xanthos in 1838. It is thought to have been made about 500 B.C., and is called "The Harpy Monument," It is a tower, round the four sides of which runs a frieze at a height of about twenty-one feet from the ground. The frieze is of white marble, and is let into the frieze which is of sandstone. The Lycians, in whose country it was found, were accustomed to bury their dead at the top of such towers.
There is very great difference of opinion among scholars and critics concerning the meaning of the various scenes in these sculptures; and as all their writing is speculation, and no one knows the truth about it, I shall only say that it is a very interesting object in the history of art, and shall speak of the four corner figures on the shortest parts of the frieze, from which the whole work takes its name. The Harpies are very curious; they had wings, and arms like human arms, with claws for hands, and feathered tails. Their bodies are egg-shaped, which is a very strange feature in their formation. We cannot explain all these different things, but there is little doubt that, with the little forms which they have in their arms, they represent the messengers of death bearing away the souls of the deceased. In the Odyssey, Homer represents the Harpies as carrying off the daughters of King Pandareus and giving them to the cruel Erinnyes for servants. For this reason the Harpies were considered as robbers, and whenever a person suddenly disappeared it was said that they had been carried off by Harpies (Fig. 19).
Before leaving this subject of existing sculptures from the fifth century B.C., I will speak of the two groups which belonged to the temple of Minerva in AEgina, and are now in the Glyptothek at Munich. The city of AEgina was the principal city of the island of AEgina, which was in the gulf of the same name, near the south-west coast of Greece. This city was at the height of its prosperity about 475 B.C., at which time a beautiful temple was built, of which many columns are still standing, though much of it has fallen down. In 1811 some English and German architects visited this place, and the marbles they obtained are the most remarkable works which still exist from so early a period. Thorwaldsen, the Danish sculptor, restored these reliefs, and the King of Bavaria bought them.
Upon the western pediment there were eleven figures which represented an episode in the Trojan war; it was the struggle of Ajax, Ulysses, and other Greek warriors to obtain the dead body of Achilles, which was held by the Trojans. The story is that the goddess Thetis had dipped her son Achilles in the river Styx for the purpose of making him invulnerable, or safe from wounds by weapons. But as she held him by the ankles they were not wetted, and so he could be wounded in them. During the siege of Troy Apollo guided the arrow of Paris to this spot, and the great leader of the Greeks was killed. It is believed that the warrior in this picture who is about to send his arrow is Paris. In the central or highest part of the pediment the goddess Minerva stands and tries to cover the fallen body of Achilles with her shield. These figures are on the side where the space grows narrower. You can judge of what the action and spirit of the whole must be when these smaller figures have so much. We are sure that the arrow will shoot out with such force as must carry death to its victim, and the second warrior, who braces himself on his feet and knee, will thrust his lance with equal power (Fig. 20).
There are traces of color and of metal ornaments upon these AEginetan statues; the weapons, helmets, shields, and quivers were red or blue; the eyes, hair, and lips were painted, and there are marks upon the garments of the goddess that show that she must have had bronze ornaments. There was a famous sculptor of AEgina named Callon, who lived about the time that this temple was built; and though it is not known to be so, yet many critics and scholars believe that he may have been the sculptor of these works, because they resemble the written descriptions of his statues and reliefs.
There was a period which we call archaistic, and by this we indicate a time when it was the fashion for the sculptors to imitate as nearly as possible the works of the true archaic period. It has constantly happened in the history of society that fashion has ordained this same thing, though the objects of imitation have varied with the different ages and nations. This archaistic "craze" to imitate old sculptures was at its height in the times of the Roman emperors Augustus and Hadrian; but here in America we have seen the same passion manifested in the desire to have such furniture as Queen Anne and her people admired, or such as "came over in the Mayflower;" and when the true original articles were no longer to be found in garrets and out-of-the-way places, then manufacturers began to imitate the old in the new, and one can now buy all sorts of ancient-looking furniture that is only just from the workmen's hands.
But among the Greeks there was a second motive for reproducing the works of the earlier artists, which was the fact that the images of the gods and such articles as belonged to religious services were sacred in their earliest forms, and were venerated by the people. Thus it followed that the advance and change in the taste of the people and the skill of the artists was more suited to other subjects, while the religious images were made as nearly as possible like the older ones. If it happened that a rude ancient image of a god was placed side by side with a modern and more beautiful statue of the same deity, the pious Greek would prefer the ugly one, while he could well admire the most lovely. You should remember that these temple images were really objects of actual worship.
Many of these archaistic works are in various museums of art.
This is a very beautiful temple image, and was discovered at Pompeii in 1760. It was found in a small temple or chapel, of which it must have been the principal deity. It is in excellent preservation; the only parts which are wanting are the fingers of the right hand and the object which it held. Like many of these statues, it is less than life-size—four feet and two inches in height. When it was first discovered there were many traces of color about it. The hair was gilded to represent the blonde hair which the poets ascribed to Artemis (Diana). There was considerable red about the garments, and some flowers were upon the border of the drapery. There is an archaic stiffness about this statue, but the flowing hair, the form of the eyes, and the free style of the nude parts all show that it belongs to the archaistic period (Fig. 21).
It would be pleasant and satisfying if we could trace step by step the progress of Greek sculpture from the rude archaic manner to that of the Periclean age, or from such art as is seen in the sculpture of AEgina to the perfections of the reliefs of the Parthenon. This we cannot do; but we know some of the causes that led to this progress, and can give accounts of a few sculptors who, while they did not equal the great Phidias, were at least the forerunners of such a type of art as his.
The chief cause of the progress of art was the greater freedom of the artist in the choice and treatment of his subjects. So long as the subjects were almost entirely religious there could be little variety in the manner of treating them. Each god or goddess had its own attributes, which must be rendered with exact care; and any new mode of portraying them was almost a sacrilege. But as time passed on and the Panhellenic games and the national Pantheon at Olympia grew into their great importance, new subjects were furnished for the artists, which allowed them to show their originality and to indulge their artistic imaginations to their fullest extent. The victors in the games were heroes, and regarded even as demi-gods, and statues were allowed to be erected to them, although this had hitherto been considered a divine honor and was accorded to the gods alone. When these heroes were represented, the artists, not being bound by any laws, could study their subjects and represent them to the life as nearly as they were able to do. This exaltation of the Olympian victors gave an opportunity for the development of sculpture such as cannot be over-estimated in its influence and results.
Another characteristic of the art of the time we are now considering was the almost universal use of bronze. This metal is excellent for displaying the minute features of the nude parts of statues, but it is not equal to marble in the representation of draperies or for giving expression to the face. PYTHAGORAS OF RHEGIUM was a famous artist who worked entirely in bronze. The only copies from his works of which we know are on two gems, one of which is in the Berlin Museum. He made exact studies of the body in action, and gave new importance to the reproduction of the veins and muscles. It is also claimed that Pythagoras was the first to lay down clearly the laws of symmetry or proportion which is governed by strict mathematical rules.
MYRON OF ELEUTHERAE flourished about 500 to 440 B.C., and was reckoned among Athenian artists because, though not born at Athens, he did most of his works there, and his most famous work, the statue of a cow, stood on the Acropolis of that city. This cow was represented as in the act of lowing, and was elevated upon a marble base. It was carried from Athens to Rome, where it stood in the Forum of Peace. Many writers mentioned this work of Myron's, and thirty-seven epigrams were written concerning it.
Though the cow was so much talked of, the artistic fame of Myron rests more upon the "Discobolus," or quoit-thrower. The original statue does not exist, but there are several copies of it. That in the Massimi Villa is a very accurate one, and was found on the Esquiline Hill at Rome in A.D. 1782; our illustration is made from this statue. Myron's great skill in representing the human figure in excited action is well shown in the quoit-thrower. To make such a figure as this requires great power in a sculptor. No model could constantly repeat this action, and if he could there is but a flash of time in which the artist sees just the position he reproduces. This figure, however, is so true to life that one feels like keeping out of the range of the quoit when it flies (Fig. 22). There are several other existing works attributed to Myron: they are a marble copy of his statue of Marsyas, in the Lateran at Rome; two torsi in the gallery at Florence; a figure called Diomed, and a bronze in the gallery at Munich.
Myron made statues of gods and heroes, but he excelled in representing athletes. His works were very numerous, and a list of those which are only known through the mention of them by various writers would be of little value here. While Myron reproduced the form and action of the body with marvellous effect, he made no advance in representing the expression of the face, nor in the treatment of the hair. He was daring in his art, for he not only imitated what he saw in life, but he also represented grotesque imaginary creatures, and in many ways proved that he had a rich creative fancy.
A third sculptor of this time was CALAMIS, who was in his prime about B.C. 450. He was not born in Athens, but he worked there. Calamis added to the exact representations of Pythagoras and Myron the element of grace beyond their powers in that direction. He made a greater variety of figures than they, for to gods and heroes he added heroines, boys and horses. His works were in bronze, gold and ivory, as well as marble. But what we know of Calamis is gathered from the writings of Greek authors rather than from works, or copies of works, by him still existing; indeed, no statue remains known to be his own, though there are some which critics fancy may be so. But we may be certain of his great excellence from the many praises sung and said of him, and Lucian, who knew all the best works of all the greatest masters of Greece, puts Calamis before them all for elegance and grace, and for the finer expression of faces; when imagining a beautiful statue of a young girl he declares that he would go to Calamis to impart to it a chaste modesty and give it a sweet and unaffected smile.
PHIDIAS is the most famous of all Greek sculptors, and as Greek sculpture is the finest sculpture of which we have any knowledge, it follows that Phidias was the first sculptor of the world. And yet, in spite of his fame, we do not know the time of his birth. We know that he was the son of Charmidas, but we know nothing of the father except that he had a brother who was a painter, and this makes it probable that the family of Phidias were artists.
As nearly as can be told, Phidias was born about B.C. 500. This would have made him ten years old at the time of the battle of Marathon and twenty years old when Salamis was fought, while he came of age at the time of Plataea. He seems to have begun his artistic life as a painter, and we know nothing of him as an independent sculptor until the administration of Cimon, about B.C. 471. But his finest works belong to the time of Pericles, who was his friend as well as patron, and made him the master over all the great public works at Athens during what we speak of as the Periclean age.
It seems that the favor of Pericles was a dear privilege to Phidias, for it exposed him to bitter envy and hatred; and those who feared to attack Pericles himself avenged themselves upon Phidias, and accused him of dishonesty in obtaining the gold for the robe of the statue of Minerva which he made for the Parthenon. He proved himself innocent of this, but he was accused of other crimes, and one account says that he was thrown into prison and died there of disease or poison. Another account relates that the great sculptor went into exile at Elis, where he made his most famous statue, the Olympian Zeus, and that he was there convicted of theft and put to death. With such contradictory stories we cannot know the exact truth; but we do know that he went to Elis accompanied by distinguished artists. He was received with honor, and for a long time the studio that he occupied there was shown to strangers. The Olympians also allowed him an honor which the Athenians never extended to him—that is, to inscribe his name upon the base of the statue of Zeus, which he was not permitted to do in the case of the Minerva (or Athena) of the Parthenon.
It often happens in the case of a very great man that the events which have preceded his manhood have prepared the way for him and his work in so striking a manner that it seems as if he could not have been great at any other time, and that he could not avoid being so, when everything had been shaped to his advantage. This was true of Phidias. When he came to be a man the dreadful wars which had ravaged Greece were over, and the destruction of the older structures prepared the way for the rebuilding of Athens. Large quantities of "marble, bronze, ivory, gold, ebony and cypress wood" were there, and a great number of skilful workmen were at hand to work under his command. The Athenians were ablaze with zeal to rebuild the temples and shrines of their gods, who, as they believed, had led them to their victories, and not only the public, but the private means were used to make Athens the grandest and most beautiful city of the world.
The first great work with which the name of Phidias was connected was the building of the temple of Theseus, called also the Theseion. This was a very important temple, and was constructed in obedience to the command of an oracle in this wise: In B.C. 470 the island of Scyros had been taken by the Athenians, and upon this island Theseus had been buried. After the battle of Marathon, in which he had aided the Athenians, Theseus was much regarded by them, and in B.C. 476 they were directed to remove his bones to Athens and build over them a shrine worthy of so great a champion. Just then a gigantic skeleton was discovered at Scyros by Cimon, and was brought to Athens with great ceremony, and laid to rest with pompous respect, and the splendid temple dedicated to Theseus was begun, and Phidias was commissioned to make its plastic ornaments. The precincts of this temple later became a sanctuary where the poor man and the slave could be safe from the oppressor.
Phidias executed many works under the patronage of Cimon, the greatest of which was the colossal statue of Minerva, which stood on the Acropolis. It was called the "Minerva Promachos," and was so gigantic that "the crest of her helmet and the point of her spear could be seen by the mariner off the promontory of Sunium glittering in the sunlight as a welcome to her own chosen people, and an awful warning to her foes." The meaning of Promachos may be given as champion or guardian, and we know from existing descriptions that, with its pedestal, it must have been at least seventy feet in height. It was made from the spoils taken at Marathon; its pedestal was found, in 1840, standing between the Parthenon and the Erechtheium. It has been called the "Pallas with the golden spear," for this goddess was known as Athena, Minerva, and Pallas, and it is said that Alaric was so impressed by its awful aspect that he shrank from it in horror. The only representations of this statue now in existence are upon Athenian coins, and the position of the goddess differs in these, as you will see by the illustration (Fig. 23); there are reasons for believing that the one in which the shield rests upon the ground is correct, one of which is that some years after the death of Phidias the inside of the shield was ornamented by a relief of the battle of the Centaurs.
Though Phidias proved himself to be a great artist during the reign of Cimon, it was not until the time of Pericles that he reached the glorious height of his genius. Pericles and Phidias seem to have been two grand forces working in harmony for the political and artistic grandeur of Athens, and, indeed, of all Attica, for within a period of twenty years nearly all the great works of that country were begun and completed. Plutarch writes of these wonders in these words: "Hence we have the more reason to wonder that the structures raised by Pericles should be built in so short a time, and yet built for ages. For as each of them, as soon as it was finished, had the venerable air of antiquity, so now that they are old they have the freshness of a modern building. A bloom is diffused over them which preserves their aspect untarnished by time, as if they were animated with a spirit of perpetual youth and unfading elegance."
It is quite impossible that I should speak here of the works of Phidias in detail, and I have decided to speak only of the frieze of the Parthenon, because the Elgin marbles enable us to give illustrations from it and to know more about this than of the other works of the great masters about whom whole volumes might be written with justice. But, first, I will give a picture of a coin which shows the great Olympian Zeus, or Jupiter, which Phidias made at Elis, after he was an exile from Athens (Fig. 24). When Phidias was asked how he had found a model for this Jupiter, he quoted the lines from Homer:
"He said, and nodded with his shadowy brows, Waved on the immortal head the ambrosial locks, And all Olympus trembled at the nod."
The writings of the ancients have almost numberless references to this statue, and its praise is unending. It was colossal in size and made of ivory and gold, and one historian says that though the temple had great height, yet the Jupiter was so large that if he had risen from his throne he must have carried the roof away. It is related that when the work was completed Phidias prayed to Jupiter to give him a sign from heaven that he might know whether his work was pleasing to the great god or not. This prayer was answered, and a flash of lightning came which struck the pavement in front of the statue. This statue was reckoned among the seven wonders of the world, and it is believed that the magnificent bust called the "Jupiter Otricoli" is a copy from the Olympian statue (Fig. 25).
I shall speak in another volume (upon Architecture) of the former glory and the present ruin of the Parthenon at Athens, and tell how upon its decoration Phidias lavished his thought and care until it surpassed in beauty any other structure of which we have knowledge. Early in the present century Lord Elgin, the English Ambassador to the Porte, interested himself in having the sculptures found in the ruins taken to England. In 1812 eighty chests containing these priceless works of the greatest sculptor who ever lived were placed in Burlington House, and a few years later Parliament purchased them for L35,000, and they were placed in the British Museum, where they now are. There is a great number of them, and all are of great interest; but I shall pass over the metopes and the pediments, and shall pass to the frieze after speaking of this one figure of Theseus, which is from the sculptures of the eastern pediment. The sculptures upon this pediment represented the story of the birth of Athena, and it was proper that Theseus should be present, as he was king over Athens, of which city Athena, or Minerva, was the protecting goddess. Torso is a term used in sculpture to denote a mutilated figure, and many such remains of ancient sculpture exist which are so beautiful, even in their ruin, that they are the pride of the museums where they are, and serve as studies for the artists of all time. This figure of Theseus is wonderful for the majesty and grace of its attitude, for perfection of its anatomical accuracy, and for the appearance of elasticity of muscle with which it impresses one, even though made of marble. It really seems as if the skin could be moved upon it, so soft does its surface look to be. It is ranked as the greatest miracle of sculpture. Though it is called a Theseus, I ought to state that some critics take exceptions to this name, and believe it to be Hercules or Bacchus; but by almost general consent it is called a Theseus (Fig. 26).
We may imagine that the representation upon this eastern pediment must have been magnificent. Of course the chosen goddess of Athens would be made to appear with great glory. The myth relates that Athena was born in an instant, by springing forth from the head of Zeus, or Jupiter, fully armed. It is believed that in this sculpture she was represented a moment after birth when she appeared in full, colossal majesty, shouting her war-cry and waving her lance—something as these lines represent the scene:
"Wonder strange possessed The everlasting gods, that shape to see Shaking a javelin keen, impetuously Rush from the crest of aegis-bearing Jove. Fearfully Heaven was shaken, and did move Beneath the might of the Caerulean-eyed Earth dreadfully surrounded far and wide, And lifted from its depths; the sea swelled high In purple billows."
It is very important, when considering the sculpture at Athens, to know something about the character of this goddess whose power and influence was so great there. I shall give an extract from an English writer on Greek sculpture, Mr. Walter Copeland Perry:
"It is a very remarkable fact, and one which gives us a deep insight into the character of the Athenians, that the central figure in their religion, the most perfect representative of their feelings, thoughts, and aspirations, was not Zeus or Hera (Juno), nor the most popular gods of all times and nations, Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus), but Athena, the virgin, the goddess of wise counsel and brave deed! She was enthroned in the very heart of their citadel; and she stood in colossal grandeur on the battlements to terrify their foes, and to give the first welcome to the mariner or the exile when he approached his divine and beautiful home, which reposed in safety under the protection of her lance and shield."
The attributes of this goddess, as given in Greek literature and shown forth in Greek art, are very varied and hard to be understood as belonging to one person. She is the patroness of war, and in Homer's Iliad she is represented as rushing into battle in this wise:
"The cuirass donn'd of cloud-compelling force And stood accoutred for the bloody fray. Her tasselled aegis round her shoulders next She threw, with terror circled all around, And on its face were figured deeds of arms And Strife and Courage high, and panic Rout. There too a Gorgon's head of monstrous size Frown'd terrible, portent of angry Jove. . . . . . . . In her hand A spear she bore, long, weighty, tough, wherewith The mighty daughter of a mighty sire Sweeps down the ranks of those her hate pursues."
But this warlike goddess is also represented as the wise counsellor who restrains Achilles from rash action; and though she does not shrink from war and danger, yet the most precious gift to her people was not the war-horse, but the olive, the emblem of peace, and to her honor was this sacred tree planted. "She stands in full armor, with brandished lance, on the highest point of the Acropolis, and yet she is the patroness of all household and female work, in which she herself excels."
It is very interesting to notice that in the early representations of Athena, while she is very warlike in her bearing and raises her lance in her right hand, she also carries in her left the distaff and the spindle and the lamp of knowledge. In the later art of Phidias she is still stern and severe, but her face also expresses dignity and grandeur of thought and character. Later still, her warlike attributes are made less prominent: the shield rests on the ground, and the lance is more like a sceptre, until, in the decline of art, she is represented as lovely and gentle, and all her grand power is lost, and she is not above a great number of other goddesses who are attractive for their soft, lovely grace, but have no selfhood, no individuality to command our admiration or respect.
We come now to speak of the Elgin marbles from the frieze of the Parthenon. It was about thirty-five feet above the floor, three feet three inches broad, and about five hundred and twenty-two feet long. It represented a continuous procession, and the subject is called the great Panathenaic Procession. About four hundred feet of this frieze remains, so that a good judgment can be formed of it. First I must tell you what this procession means. The festival of the Panathenaea was the most important of all the splendid pomps which were celebrated at Athens. It is probable that this festival was held every year about the middle of August, but the great Panathenaic occurred only in the third year of each olympiad; an olympiad was a period of four years, extending from one celebration of the Olympic games to another, which was an event of great importance in reckoning time with the Greeks; thus we see that the great procession represented on the frieze occurred once in every four years. This festival continued several days, and all were filled with horse-racing, cock-fighting, gymnastic and musical contests, and a great variety of games; poets also recited their verses, and philosophers held arguments in public places.[A] But the most important day was that on which a procession went up to the Parthenon and carried the peplos, or garment for the great goddess, which had been woven by the maidens of Athens. This peplos was made of crocus-colored stuff, on which the figures of the gods engaged in their contests with the giants appeared in beautiful, rich embroidery. In later years, after the Athenians had fallen from their first high-minded simplicity, they sometimes embroidered on the peplos the likeness of a man whom they wished to flatter, as thus placing him in the company of the gods was a very great compliment.
[Footnote A: In the Persian invasion of Greece by Xerxes, B.C. 480, that monarch was surprised to learn that the Olympic games were not suspended at the approach of his army.]
The procession of the peplos was formed at daybreak in the Potters' Quarter of the city, and passed to the Dromos, then to the market-place, onward to the temple of Demeter, round the Acropolis along the Pelasgic wall, through the Propylaea to the temple of Athena Polias. The procession was as splendid as all the wealth, nobility, youth and beauty of Athens could make it. Of the vast multitude which joined it some were in chariots, others on horses and almost countless numbers on foot. After the most important officers of the government come the envoys of the Attic colonies with the noble Athenian maidens, the basket-bearers, the aliens who resided in Athens dressed in red instead of white, and a chosen company of aged men bearing branches of the sacred olive.
The peplos was not borne by hands, but was suspended from the mast of a ship, upon wheels, which some writers say was moved by machinery placed underground. When the temple was reached the splendid garment was placed upon the sacred statue, which was believed to have fallen from heaven. During the festival of the Panathenaea prisoners were permitted to enjoy their freedom, men whose services to the public merited recognition received gifts of gold crowns, and their names were announced by heralds in public places, and many interesting ceremonies filled up the time. We do not know the exact order in which all these things happened; but it is believed that the procession of the peplos was the crowning glory of it all, and was celebrated on the final day.
The plan of the Parthenon frieze which represented this great procession was as follows: On the eastern side above the main entrance to the temple there were two groups of the most important and powerful of the many gods of the Greek religion. Each of these groups had six gods and an attendant, so that there were seven figures in each of these groups, as you will see by the illustration (Fig. 27).
There has been much study of these sculptures, and many scholars have written about them. There is still a difference of opinion as to which gods are here represented, but I shall give you the most generally accepted opinion, which calls _a_, Hermes, or Mercury, the messenger of the gods; _b_, Apollo; _c_, Artemis, or Diana; _d_, Ares, or Mars; _e_, Iris, who is attending upon _f_, Hera, or Juno; _g_, Zeus, or Jupiter; h_, Athena, Minerva, or Pallas; _i_, Hephaestus, or Vulcan; _j_, Poseidon, or Neptune; _k_, Dionysus, or Bacchus; _l_, _m_, _n_ are more doubtful, but are probably Aphrodite, or Venus, Demeter, or Ceres, and Triptolemus, the boy who was a favorite with Ceres, who invented the plough and first sowed corn.
Now, these two groups of divinities were divided by a very singular group containing five figures (Fig. 28).
There has been much controversy as to these figures and what they are doing. They seem to be unconscious of the great gods who are near to them on either side. The greater number of critics consider that the two maidens, e and d, are of the number who have embroidered the peplos; the central figure, c, a priestess of Athena; a, the Archon Basileus; and b, a consecrated servant-boy, who is delivering up the peplos. Other critics believe, however, that these figures are all preparing for the sacred ceremonies about to begin, and that the priest is giving the boy-servant a garment which he has taken off. Other theories may arise, and we can only listen to them all, and yet not know the truth; but the more we study the more we shall admire these exquisite figures.
Just here I will call your attention to one feature of these antique bas-reliefs which is called Isocephalism, and means that all the heads are at an equal height. You will see that all figures, whether standing or sitting, walking, in chariots, or on horseback, have the heads on the same level.
These three groups, the five central figures and the two groups of gods, are approached on each side by long, continuous processions, and these processions each start out from the south-west corner of the Parthenon, so that one branch goes along the south and a part of the east side, and the other and longer division marches on the whole of the west and north, and a portion of the east side. I shall give here a series of pictures which are all explained by their titles, and will give you an excellent idea of this magnificent frieze, and doubtless many of my readers have studied or will study and admire it in the British Museum (Figs. 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35).
Though all this frieze was the conception of the great Phidias, it must have been the work of many hands, and close examination shows that some portions of it are done much better than others. These sculptures have a double value; for while they are so priceless as treasures of art, they tell us much of that prosperous, glorious Athens of which we love to read and hear stories. These figures show us how the people dressed and moved, and we see in them the "stately" magistrates and venerable seers of Athens, the sacred envoys of dependent states, the victors in their chariots drawn by the steeds which had won for them the cheap but priceless garland, the full-armed warriors, the splendid cavalry, and the noble youths of 'horse-loving' Athens on their favorite steeds, in the flush and pride of their young life; and last, not least, the train of high-born Athenian maidens, marching with bowed heads and quiet gait, for they are engaged in holy work, with modest mien, and gentle dignity and grace. All that was sacred, powerful, and grand—all that was beautiful, graceful, and joyous in Athenian life, is represented there, in ideal form, of course, but in strict conformity with the realities of life.... It is by the study of such works as these that we get the clearest insight into the essence and spirit of classical antiquity; and they help us better to understand all that we may read in history or poetry concerning the ancient, classic Greeks.
We must now leave Phidias and speak of other sculptors who were his contemporaries and pupils. Among the last ALCAMENES was the most celebrated. He was born in Lemnos, but was a citizen of Athens; so he is sometimes called an Athenian, and again a Lemnian. His statues were numerous, and most of them represented the gods. One of Hephaestus, or Vulcan, was remarkable for the way in which his lameness was concealed so skilfully that no deformity appeared.
His most famous statue was a Venus, or Aphrodite, concerning which it is related that Agoracritus, another celebrated pupil of Phidias, contended with Alcamenes in making a statue of that goddess. The preference was given to Alcamenes, and Agoracritus believed this to have been done on account of his being an Athenian citizen, and not solely for the merit of the statue. The Venus of Alcamenes stood in a temple of that goddess in a garden beyond the eastern wall of Athens. This statue was very much praised for its beauty by ancient writers, who all mention with especial pride the eurythmy of the action of the wrist. This is a term frequently used in regard to sculpture, and is somewhat difficult to explain. It means a harmony and proportion of action which corresponds to rhythm in music. When a statue has the effect it should have it appears as if the motion of the figure was arrested for a moment, and would be resumed immediately. That is what we mean when we say a statue has life; and, as in life, the motion of a statue may be awkward or it may be graceful; it may be harmonious to the eye, just as music is harmonious to the ear, or it may seem out of tune and time, just as inharmonious sounds are to a correct ear for the rhythm of sound; so when we speak of the eurythmy of sculpture we mean that its apparent motion is in accord with the laws of proportion, and is harmonious and graceful to the eye.
While Alcamenes had this power of imparting grace to his statues, he also approached Phidias in majesty and a divine sweetness, which was the sweetness of great strength. In truth, he is recognized as the sculptor who most nearly approached the great Phidias. He represented also for the first time the god Asclepius, or AEsculapius, who was very important to the Greeks, who placed great value upon physical health. Alcamenes represented him as a sort of humanized Zeus or Jupiter. Of the Asclepius heads found at Melos we may regard this one given here as a free copy of the type of god which this great sculptor represented the god of medicine and health to be (Fig. 36).
Alcamenes was also the principal assistant of Phidias in his decoration of the temple of Jupiter at Olympia, and is said to have himself executed the relief upon the western pediment, in which the battle of the Centaurs and Lapithae was represented with great spirit.
AGORACRITUS of Paros, who has been mentioned as the rival of Alcamenes, is called the favorite pupil of Phidias, and it is said that the master even gave Agoracritus some of his works, and allowed the pupil to inscribe his name upon them. For this reason the ancient writers were often in doubt as to the authorship of the statues called by the names of these sculptors. It is said that when the Venus of Alcamenes was preferred before that of Agoracritus the latter changed his mark, and made it to represent a Nemesis, or the goddess who sent suffering to those who were blessed with too many gifts. It is said that this statue was cut from a block of marble which the Persians brought with them to Marathon for the purpose of making a trophy of it which they could set up to commemorate the victory they felt so sure of gaining; in their flight and adversity it was left, and at last served a Greek sculptor in making a statue of an avenging goddess. This seems to be a striking illustration of "poetic justice."
Agoracritus sold the Nemesis to the people of Rhamnus, who had a temple dedicated to that goddess, and made a condition that it should never be set up in Athens. In the museum of the Lateran at Rome there is a small but very beautiful antique statue of Nemesis, which is thought to be a copy of this famous work. As Nemesis was the goddess who meted out fortune according to her idea of right, a measure was her symbol, and the Greek measure of a cubit was generally placed in her hand. The word cubit means the length of the forearm from the elbow to the wrist, and in this statue of which we speak this part of the arm is made very prominent, and the measure itself is omitted.
The sculptor Myron also had pupils and followers who executed many works, and of this school was CRESILAS of Cydonia, in Crete. We are interested in him because two copies from his works exist, of which I give pictures here. Pliny, in speaking of the portrait statue of Pericles, said it was a marvel of the art "which makes illustrious men still more illustrious." The cut given here is from a bust in the British Museum. There is reason to believe that Cresilas excelled Myron in the expression of his faces (Figs. 37, 38).
CALLIMACHUS is an artist of whom we know little, but that little is interesting. We do not know where he was born, but as he was employed to make a candelabra for the eternal lamp which burned before the sacred statue of Athena Polias, we may suppose that he was an Athenian. Some writers say that he invented a lamp which would burn a year without going out, and that such an one made of gold was the work he did for the temple of Minerva. Callimachus lived between B.C. 550 and 396, and is credited with having invented the Corinthian capital in this wise: A young girl of Corinth died, and her nurse, according to custom, placed a basket upon her grave containing the food she had loved best in life. It chanced that the basket was put down upon a young acanthus plant, and the leaves grew up about the basket in such a way that when Callimachus saw it the design for the capital which we know as Corinthian was suggested to him, and was thus named from the city in which all this had occurred.
While the plastic art of Athens, or the Attic school of sculpture, reached its greatest excellence in Phidias, there was in the Peloponnesus another school of much importance. Argos was the chief city of this school, and its best master was POLYCLEITUS of Sicyon, who was born about B.C. 482. He was thus about twelve years younger than Phidias. Polycleitus was held in such esteem that many of the ancient writers couple his name with that of Phidias. He was employed in the decoration of the Heraion, or temple of Hera, at Argos. But his greatest work was a statue of Hera, or Juno, for a temple on Mount Euboea, between Argos and Mycenae. This statue was chryselephantine, and as Juno was the majestic, white-armed, ox-eyed goddess consort of Jupiter, it is a striking coincidence that Phidias at Olympia and Polycleitus on Mount Euboea should have made from ivory and gold two famous statues of this renowned pair, who reigned over the mythical world of the Greek religion. There are several copies of heads of Juno in various museums, and some of them have been ascribed to Polycleitus; but the proof of the truth of this is far from being satisfactory. This master made other statues of divinities, but he excelled in representing athletes; and however fine his other works may have been, it was in the reproduction of strong, youthful, manly beauty that he surpassed other sculptors. Some of his statues of this sort, especially a Doryphorus, or spear-bearer, were considered as models from which all other artists could work.
Polycleitus is said to have written a treatise in which he gave exact rules for the proportions of the different parts of the body. This was called "the canon" of Polycleitus, and there is good reason to believe that the Doryphorus was called by the same name, "the canon," because it was fashioned according to the rules laid down by Polycleitus in his treatise. His pupils and followers are mentioned with honor by the Greek authors of his time, but I need not mention them here.
The art of Phidias and Polycleitus was the art of Greece at its best period. After the close of the Persian wars the people of Greece were a religious and patriotic people. The Persian wars developed the best quality of character, for these wars were waged against a foreign foe, and the Greeks were defending their freedom and their civilization, and at the end of the struggle Pericles, who guided them to their greatest prosperity, was a statesman and a man of high aims; he was a gentleman as well as a strong ruler. The Peloponnesian war, on the contrary, was a civil war, and it divided the Greeks among themselves and roused the evil passions of friend against friend all over their country. It was the cause of selfishness, treachery, and immorality, and one of its worst effects was seen in the loss of religious tone among the people: their old contented simplicity of life and thought was gone; every man thought only of himself, and the nation began to sink into the condition which at last made it an easy prey to the Macedonians. We have studied all these wars in our histories, but perhaps we have not thought how much they affected sculpture and the other arts, and brought them down from the lofty heights of the Periclean age.
But there were still men who strove to be great and grand in morals and in intellect, and perhaps strove all the more earnestly for this on account of the decline they saw about them. Few countries in any age have had more splendid men than Socrates, Plato, Euripides, Aristophanes, Pelopidas, Epaminondas, Demosthenes, Dion, and Timoleon, and these all lived between the Peloponnesian and the Macedonian wars. And while the arts were less grand than before, they did not fall into decline for some years, though they took on new features. The gods who had been mostly represented were less often the subjects of the sculptor, and when they were so they were softened and made less awful in their effect. Other gods were more freely taken for models, such as came nearer to human life and thought, because less sublime in their attributes and characters. Among these were Venus as a lovely woman rather than as the great mother of all living creatures, and Eros, or Love; while Plutus, or Wealth, and satyrs, nymphs, and tritons were multiplied in great numbers.
When the gods who were represented were more like human beings in their character, it followed that the statues of them more nearly resembled men and women, and gradually the old grandeur and sublimity were changed to grace, beauty, and mirth. Many people would prefer these works because they come nearer to the every-day life of the world; but earnest, thoughtful minds look for something more noble in art—something that will not come down to us as we are, but will help us to rise above ourselves and to strive after better things.
CEPHISODOTUS was a sculptor who lived until about B.C. 385, or a little later, and stood between the old and the new schools of Greek art. The cut given here is from a group at Munich, which is believed to be a copy of a work by him, and it is a combination of the simple dignity of the art of Phidias (which is seen in the flowing drapery and the wavy edge of its folds) and the later Attic style (which is seen in the dreamy, gentle air of the face of the nurse of the little god). (Fig. 39.) We know very little of the life of Cephisodotus, and as little is said of his works by ancient writers.
SCOPAS of Paros was one of the greatest sculptors of the later Attic school. The island of Paros, where he was born, was the place where the finest Greek marble was found; but he worked so much at Athens that he is spoken of as an Athenian. He was an architect as well as a sculptor, and he superintended the erection of some splendid structures, which he also ornamented with his sculptures. I shall speak especially of the tomb of Mausolus, the King of Caria. Scopas executed the sculptures of the east side, and as he was the best artist of the sculptors employed there, it is probable that he had much to do with the design for all the work. This mausoleum was reckoned as one of the "seven wonders of the world," and has given a name to fine tombs the world over.
The most interesting of the sculptures from this tomb which are now in the British Museum seems to me to be the statue of Mausolus himself. It is plainly intended to be an exact portrait of the king, and it is so designed and executed that we feel sure it must show him to us just as he was when alive, more than twenty-two hundred years ago (Fig. 40).
A part of the frieze upon the mausoleum showed the battle of the Greeks and the Amazons, and this illustration from it gives an idea of the boldness of action and the correctness of the design (Fig. 41). This picture is from a slab in the possession of the Serra family in Genoa. On the right a warrior holds down an Amazon whom he has forced to her knees and is about to kill, while she stretches out her right hand in supplication. The figures to the left are full of spirit, and absolutely seem to be in motion. We do not know that any of these figures were executed by the hand of Scopas, but it is probable that they were, and they give us an idea of the art of his time.
Scopas also carved one of the splendid pillars of the temple of Diana at Ephesus, and did much architectural decoration, as well as to execute many statues and groups of figures. The ancient writers say very little of the art of Scopas, but when all that we can learn is brought together, it shows that he had great fertility in expressing his own ideas, that his genius was creative and his works original. He represented the gods which the earlier sculptors had shown in their works in quite a new manner, and he was the first to show the goddess Venus in all the beauty which imagination could attribute to her. His representations of nymphs of wood and sea, of monsters, and all sorts of strange, imaginary beings were numberless, and he made his sculptured figures to express every emotion that can be fancied or felt, from the tenderest and sweetest affection to the wildest passions of the soul.
His works were always representations of gods or of sentiments as shown by some superhuman beings; he never portrayed a hero, with the exception of Hercules, and was ever busy with the ideal rather than with realities about him. He worked in marble only, which is far more suited to the elegant beauty of his style than are bronze and gold or ivory.
We are accustomed to call PRAXITELES the greatest sculptor of the second school of Greek art, just as we give that place to Phidias in the first. We have no fixed dates concerning Praxiteles. We know that he was the son of a Cephisodotus, who was a bronze worker, and was thought to be a son of Alcamenes, thus making Praxiteles a grandson of the latter. Praxiteles was first instructed by his father. Later he came under the influence of Scopas, who was much older than he; and by Scopas he was persuaded to give up working in bronze and confine himself to marble. Perhaps the most authentic date we have concerning him is that given by Pliny, who says that he was in his prime from B.C. 364-360.
It is impossible to praise a sculptor more than Praxiteles was praised by the Greek authors; and, although Athens was the place where he lived and labored most, yet he was known to all Greece, and even to other countries, and the number of his works was marvellous. There are trustworthy accounts of forty-seven groups, reliefs, and statues by his hand, and it is not probable that these are all that he executed.
Praxiteles represented youth and beauty and such subjects as are most pleasing to popular taste. Thus it happened that his male figures were the young Apollo, Eros, and youthful satyrs, while a large proportion of his statues represented lovely women. Venus was frequently repeated by him, and there is a story that he made two statues of her, one being draped and the other nude. The people of Cos bought the first, and the last was purchased by the Cnidians, who placed it in the midst of an open temple, where it could be seen from all sides. It became so famous that many people went to Cnidos solely for the purpose of seeing it, and the "Cnidian Venus" acquired a reputation wherever art was known. When the oppressor of the Cnidians, King Nicodemus of Bithynia, offered to release them from a debt of one hundred talents (about $100,000) if they would give him the Venus, they refused, and declared that it was the chief glory of their State.
Another story relates that Phryne, a friend of Praxiteles, had been told by him that she could have any work which she might choose from his workshop. She wished to have the one which the artist himself considered the best. In order to find out which he so esteemed she sent a servant to tell him that his workshop was on fire. He exclaimed, "All is lost if my Satyr and Cupid are not saved!" Then Phryne told him of her trick, and chose the Cupid, or Eros, for her gift. Phryne then offered the statue to the temple of Thespiae, in Boeotia, where it was placed between a statue of Venus and one of Phryne herself. This Cupid was almost as celebrated as the Cnidian Venus, and was visited by many people. The head given here (Fig. 42), which was found in Centocelle by Gavin Hamilton, and is now in the Vatican, is thought by many to be a copy of a Cupid by Praxiteles, and even of the Thespian statue; but we have no proof of this. The Cupid, or Eros, of the art of Scopas and Praxiteles is not the merry little creature who bears that name in later art; he is a youth just coming into manhood, with a dreamy, melancholy face, the tender beauty of which makes him one of the most attractive subjects in sculpture. Caligula carried the Thespian Cupid to Rome; Claudius restored it to its original place, but Nero again bore it to Rome, where it was burned in a conflagration in the time of Titus.
I shall say no more of Praxiteles personally, because I wish to describe to you the largest and grandest group of Greek statues which exists, or, as I should say, of which we have any copies. We do not know whether Scopas or Praxiteles made these famous figures, since they are attributed to both these sculptors; perhaps we can never positively know to whom to ascribe the fame of this marvellous work. The historian Pliny tells us that they stood in the temple of Apollo Sosianus at Rome. Sosius was the legate of Antony in Syria and Cilicia; he erected this temple in his own honor, and brought many beautiful works from the East for its decoration. It is believed that he brought the Niobe group from Cilicia, and displayed it when celebrating his victory over Judea, B.C. 35.
In A.D. 1583 a large number of statues representing this subject were found in Rome, and were purchased by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who placed them in the Villa Medici. In 1775 they were removed to the Palace of the Uffizi, in Florence, where an apartment was assigned to them. The figures were restored, and each one placed on its own pedestal, which work was not completed until 1794.
The group must have had originally seventeen figures—Niobe and fourteen children, a pedagogue and a female nurse. Now there are but twelve—Niobe, six sons, four daughters, and the pedagogue. At first it was supposed that these figures ornamented the temple pediment, but it is now thought that they stood on an undulating rocky base, with a background at a little distance. Niobe is the central figure, in any case, and the children were fleeing toward her from either side; she is the only one represented in such a way as to present the full face to the beholder (Fig. 43). But we shall better understand our subject if I recount as concisely as possible the story of Niobe, which, as you know, is a Grecian myth. Niobe was the daughter of Tantalus, and was born on Mount Sipylus. When a child Niobe played with Lato, or Latona, who afterward married the great god Jupiter, or Zeus. Niobe became the wife of Amphion, and had a very happy life; she was the mother of seven sons and seven daughters, and all this prosperity made her forget that she was mortal, and she dared to be insolent even to the gods themselves. Lato had but two children, the beautiful Apollo and the archer-queen of heaven, called Diana, or Artemis.
Amphion and Niobe were the King and Queen of Thebes, and when the worship of Lato was established in that city Niobe was very angry. She thought of Lato as her playmate and not a goddess, and was so imprudent as to drive in her chariot to the temple and command the Theban women not to join in this worship. Niobe also asserted that she was superior to this Lato, who had but two children, while she had fourteen lovely sons and daughters, any one of which was worthy of honor. All this so enraged Lato that she begged Apollo, who was the god of the silver bow, and Diana, her huntress daughter, to take revenge on Niobe. Obedient to her commands, Apollo and Artemis descended to earth, and in one day slew all the children of Niobe. Then this proud mother, left alone, could do nothing but weep, and this she did continually until Jupiter took pity on her and turned her into stone, and whirled her away from Thebes to Mount Sipylus, the scene of her happy childhood. In this picture of Niobe she clasps her youngest child, who has fled to her for protection.
I cannot give pictures of all the figures, but one of the most interesting is this brother and sister. She is wounded, and he endeavors to raise his garment so as to shield her and himself from the deadly arrows which pursue them (Fig. 44).
This figure of the eldest daughter is very beautiful. An arrow has pierced her neck, and the right hand is bent back to the wound. The face is noble and simple, and has been a favorite model to Guido Reni and other Italian masters (Fig. 45).
Fig. 46 shows one of the older sons, who, though wounded and fallen on one knee, still looks toward his slayer with an air of defiance. There is a world of interest connected with these statues, and they move us with a variety of emotions. The poor mother, so prosperous a moment before, and now seeing her children dying around her, slain by the sure arrows of the unseen gods—how can we pity her enough! and then the brave son who tries to shield his sister while he is dazed by the suddenness of the misfortunes which he cannot account for; the old pedagogue, to whom the youngest boy has run for protection—and, indeed, all demand our sympathy for their grief and our admiration for their beauty, which is still theirs in spite of their woe.
One of the young sculptors who was employed with Scopas in the work on the mausoleum was LEOCHARES. We read of several statues of Zeus and Apollo by this master, but his most celebrated work was the group of Ganymede borne upward by the eagle of Zeus. There are several copies of this sculpture, but that given here, from the Vatican figure, is the best of all, and is very beautiful. We know very few facts concerning Leochares, and cannot even say whether he was an Athenian or not (Fig. 47).
There is still standing at Athens, in its original place, the Choragic monument of Lysicrates; and though we do not know the names of the architects and sculptors who made it, there are traces upon it which indicate that it belonged to the school of Scopas (Fig. 48).
This monument was erected B.C. 334, when Lysicrates was choragus—that is, when it was his office to provide the chorus for the plays represented at Athens. This was an expensive office, and one that demanded much labor and care. He had first to find the choristers, and then bring them together to be instructed, and provide them with proper food while they studied. The choragus who gave the best musical entertainment received a tripod as his reward, and it was the custom to build a monument upon which to place the tripod, so that it should be a lasting honor to the choragus and his family. The street in which these monuments were erected was called "the street of the Tripods."
It was also the custom to dedicate each tripod to some special divinity, and this of Lysicrates was dedicated to Bacchus, and had a frieze with sculptures telling the story of that god and the Tyrrhenian robbers who bore him off to their ship. In order to revenge himself he changed the oars and masts into serpents and himself into a lion; music was heard, and ivy grew all over the vessel; the robbers went mad and leaped into the sea, and changed into dolphins.