Every other part of the building had likewise its established form, but it will not be possible here to describe or even to mention every detail. The most important member not yet treated of is the ANTA. An anta may be described as a pilaster forming the termination of a wall. It stands directly opposite a column and is of the same height with it, its function being to receive one end of an architrave block, the other end of which is borne by the column. The breadth of its front face is slightly greater than the thickness of the wall; the breadth of a side face depends upon whether or not the anta supports an architrave on that side (Figs. 47, 48, 49, 50). The Doric anta has a special capital, quite unlike the capital of the column. Fig. 54 shows an example from a building erected in 437-32 B. C. Its most striking feature is the DORIC CYMA, or HAWK'S-BEAK MOLDING, the characteristic molding of the Doric style (Fig. 55), used also to crown the horizontal cornice and in other situations (Fig. 51 and frontispiece). Below the capital the anta is treated precisely like the wall of which it forms a part; that is to say, its surfaces are plain, except for the simple base-molding, which extends also along the foot of the wall. The method of ceiling the peristyle and vestibules by means of ceiling-beams on which rest slabs decorated with square, recessed panels or COFFERS may be indistinctly seen in Fig. 56. Within the cella, when columns were used to help support the wooden ceiling, there seem to have been regularly two ranges, one above the other. This is the only case, so far as we know, in which Greek architecture of the best period put one range of columns above another. There were probably no windows of any kind, so that the cella received no daylight, except such as entered by the great front doorway, when the doors were open. [Footnote: This whole matter, however, is in dispute. Some authorities believe that large temples were HYPOETHRAL, i. e., open, or partly open, to the sky, or in some way lighted from above. In Fig. 56 an open grating has been inserted above the doors, but for such an arrangement in a Greek temple there is no evidence, so far as I am aware.] The roof-beams were of wood. The roof was covered with terra-cotta or marble tiles.
Such are the main features of a Doric temple (those last mentioned not being peculiar to the Doric style). Little has been said thus far of variation in these features. Yet variation there was. Not to dwell on local differences, as between Greece proper and the Greek colonies in Sicily, there was a development constantly going on, changing the forms of details and the relative proportions of parts and even introducing new features originally foreign to the style. Thus the column grows slenderer from century to century. In early examples it is from four to five lower diameters in height in the best period (fifth and fourth centuries) about five and one half, in the post classical period, six to seven. The difference in this respect between early and late examples may be seen by comparing the sixth century Temple of Posidon (?) at Paestum in southern Italy (Fig. 57) with the third (?) century Temple of Zeus at Nemea (Fig. 58). Again, the echinus of the capital is in the early period widely flaring, making in some very early examples an angle at the start of not more than fifteen or twenty degrees with the horizontal (Fig. 59); in the best period it rises more steeply, starting at an angle of about fifty degrees with the horizontal and having a profile which closely approaches a straight line, until it curves inward under the abacus (Fig. 51); in the post-classical period it is low and sometimes quite conical (Fig. 60). In general, the degeneracy of post-classical Greek architecture is in nothing more marked than in the loss of those subtle curves which characterize the best Greek work. Other differences must be learned from more extended treatises.
The Ionic order was of a much more luxuriant character than the Doric. Our typical example (Fig. 61) is taken from the Temple of Priene in Asia Minor—a temple erected about 340-30 B. C. The column has a base consisting of a plain square PLINTH, two TROCHILI with moldings, and a TORUS fluted horizontally. The Ionic shaft is much slenderer than the Doric, the height of the column (including base and capital) being in different examples from eight to ten times the lower diameter of the shaft. The diminution of the shaft is naturally less than in the Doric, and the entasis, where any has been detected, is exceedingly slight. The flutes, twenty-four in number, are deeper than in the Doric shaft, being in fact nearly or quite semicircular, and they are separated from one another by flat bands or fillets. For the form of the capital it will be better to refer to Fig. 62, taken from an Attic building of the latter half of the fifth century. The principal parts are an OVOLO and a SPIRAL ROLL (the latter name not in general use). The ovolo has a convex profile, and is sometimes called a quarter-round; it is enriched with an EGG-AND-DART ornament The spiral roll may be conceived as a long cushion, whose ends are rolled under to form the VOLUTES. The part connecting the volutes is slightly hollowed, and the channel thus formed is continued into the volutes. As seen from the side (Fig. 63), the end of the spiral roll is called a BOLSTER; it has the appearance of being drawn together by a number of encircling bands. On the front, the angles formed by the spiral roll are filled by a conventionalized floral ornament (the so-called PALMETTE). Above the spiral roll is a low abacus, oblong or square in plan. In Fig. 62 the profile of the abacus is an ovolo on which the egg-and-dart ornament was painted (cf. Fig. 66, where the ornament is sculptured). In Fig. 61, as in Fig. 71, the profile is a complex curve called a CYMA REVERSA, convex above and concave below, enriched with a sculptured LEAF-AND-DART ornament. [Footnote: The egg-and-dart is found only on the ovolo, the leaf-and-dart only on the cyma reversa or the cyma recta (concave above and convex below) Both ornaments are in origin leaf-patterns one row of leaves showing their points behind another row.] Finally, attention may be called to the ASTRAGAL or PEARL-BEADING just under the ovolo in Figs. 61, 71. This might be described as a string of beads and buttons, two buttons alternating with a single bead.
In the normal Ionic capital the opposite faces are of identical appearance. If this were the case with the capital at the corner of a building, the result would be that on the side of the building all the capitals would present their bolsters instead of their volutes to the spectator. The only way to prevent this was to distort the corner capital into the form shown by Fig. 64; cf. also Figs. 61 and 70.
The Ionic architrave is divided horizontally into three (or sometimes two) bands, each of the upper ones projecting slightly over the one below it. It is crowned by a sort of cornice enriched with moldings. The frieze is not divided like the Doric frieze, but presents an uninterrupted surface. It may be either plain or covered with relief-sculpture. It is finished off with moldings along the upper edge. The cornice (cf. Fig. 65) consists of two principal parts. First comes a projecting block, into whose face rectangular cuttings have been made at short intervals, thus leaving a succession of cogs or DENTELS; above these are moldings. Secondly there is a much more widely projecting block, the CORONA, whose under surface is hollowed to lighten the weight and whose face is capped with moldings. The raking cornice is like the horizontal cornice except that it has no dentels. The sima or gutter-facing, whose profile is here a cyma recta (concave above and convex below), is enriched with sculptured floral ornament.
In the Ionic buildings of Attica the base of the column consists of two tori separated by a trochilus. The proportions of these parts vary considerably. The base in Fig. 66 (from a building finished about 408 B.C.) is worthy of attentive examination by reason of its harmonious proportions. In the Roman form of this base, too often imitated nowadays, the trochilus has too small a diameter. The Attic-Ionic cornice never has dentels, unless the cornice of the Caryatid portico of the Erechtheum ought to be reckoned as an instance (Fig. 67).
The capital shown in Fig. 66 is a special variety of the Ionic capital, of rather rare occurrence. Its distinguishing features are the insertion between ovolo and spiral roll of a torus ornamented with a braided pattern, called a GUILLOCHE; the absence of the palmettes from the corners formed by the spiral roll; and the fact that the channel of the roll is double instead of single, which gives a more elaborate character to that member. Finally, in the Erechtheum the upper part or necking of the shaft is enriched with an exquisitely wrought band of floral ornament, the so-called honeysuckle pattern. This feature is met with in some other examples.
As in the Doric style, so in the Ionic, the anta-capital is quite unlike the column-capital. Fig. 68 shows an anta-capital from the Erechtheum, with an adjacent portion of the wall-band; cf. also Fig. 69. Perhaps it is inaccurate in this case to speak of an anta-capital at all, seeing that the anta simply shares the moldings which crown the wall. The floral frieze under the moldings is, however, somewhat more elaborate on the anta than on the adjacent wall. The Ionic method of ceiling a peristyle or portico may be partly seen in Fig 69. The principal ceiling-beams here rest upon the architrave, instead of upon the frieze, as in a Doric building (cf. Fig. 56). Above were the usual coffered slabs. The same illustration shows a well-preserved and finely proportioned doorway, but unfortunately leaves the details of its ornamentation indistinct.
The Ionic order was much used in the Greek cities of Asia Minor for peripteral temples. The most considerable remains of such buildings, at Ephesus, Priene, etc., belong to the fourth century or later. In Greece proper there is no known instance of a peripteral Ionic temple, but the order was sometimes used for small prostyle and amphiprostyle buildings, such as the Temple of Wingless Victory in Athens (Fig. 70). Furthermore, Ionic columns were sometimes employed in the interior of Doric temples, as at Bassae in Arcadia and (probably) in the temple built by Scopas at Tegea. In the Propylaea or gateway of the Athenian Acropolis we even find the Doric and Ionic orders juxtaposed, the exterior architecture being Doric and the interior Ionic, with no wall to separate them. One more interesting occurrence of the Ionic order in Greece proper may be mentioned, viz., in the Philippeum at Olympia (about 336 B.C.). This is a circular building, surrounded by an Ionic colonnade. Still other types of building afforded opportunity enough for the employment of this style.
After what has been said of the gradual changes in the Doric order, it will be understood that the Ionic order was not the same in the sixth century as in the fifth, nor in the fifth the same as in the third. The most striking change concerns the spiral roll of the capital. In the good period the portion of this member which connects the volutes is bounded below by a depressed curve, graceful and vigorous. With the gradual degradation of taste this curve tended to become a straight line, the result being the unlovely, mechanical form shown in Fig. 71 (from a building of Ptolemy Philadelphus, who reigned from 283 to 246 B.C.). Better formed capitals than this continued for some time to be made in Greek lands; but the type just shown, or rather something resembling it in the disagreeable feature noted, became canonical with Roman architects.
The Corinthian order, as it is commonly called, hardly deserves to be called a distinct order. Its only peculiar feature is the capital; otherwise it agrees with the Ionic order. The Corinthian capital is said to have been invented in the fifth century; and a solitary specimen, of a meager and rudimentary type, found in 1812 in the Temple of Apollo at Bassae, but since lost, was perhaps an original part of that building (about 430 B. C). At present the earliest extant specimens are from the interior of a round building of the fourth century near Epidaurus in Argolis (Fig. 72). [Footnote: For some reason or other the particular capital shown in our illustration was not used in the building, but it is of the same model as those actually used, except that the edge of the abacus is not finished.] It was from such a form as this that the luxuriant type of Corinthian capital so much in favor with Roman architects and their public was derived. On the other hand, the form shown in Fig. 73, from a little building erected in 334 B.C. or soon after, is a variant which seems to have left no lineal successors. In its usual form the Corinthian capital has a cylindrical core, which expands slightly toward the top so as to become bell-shaped; around the lower part of this core are two rows of conventionalized acanthus leaves, eight in each row; from these rise eight principal stalks (each, in fully developed examples, wrapped about its base with an acanthus leaf) which combine, two and two, to form four volutes (HELICES), one under each corner of the abacus, while smaller stalks, branching from the first, cover the rest of the upper part of the core; there is commonly a floral ornament on the middle of each face at the top; finally the abacus has, in plan, the form of a square whose sides have been hollowed out and whose corners have been truncated. In the form shown in Fig. 73 we find, first, a row of sixteen simple leaves, like those of a reed, with the points of a second row showing between them; then a single row of eight acanthus leaves; then the scroll-work, supporting a palmette on each side; and finally an abacus whose profile is made up of a trochilus and an ovolo. This capital, though extremely elegant, is open to the charge of appearing weak at its middle. There is a much less ornate variety, also reckoned as Corinthian, which has no scroll- work, but only a row of acanthus leaves with a row of reed leaves above them around a bell-shaped core, the whole surmounted by a square abacus. In the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates the cornice has dentels, and this was always the case, so far as we know, where the Corinthian capital was used. In Corinthian buildings the anta, where met with, has a capital like that of the column. But there is very little material to generalize from until we descend to Roman times.
Some allusion has been made in the foregoing to other types of columnar buildings besides the temple. The principal ones of which remains exist are PROPYLAEA and STOAS. Propylaea is the Greek name for a form of gateway, consisting essentially of a cross wall between side walls, with a portico on each front. Such gateways occur in many places as entrances to sacred precincts. The finest example, and one of the noblest monuments of Greek architecture, is that at the west end of the Athenian Acropolis. The stoa may be defined as a building having an open range of columns on at least one side. Usually its length was much greater than its depth. Stoas were often built in sacred precincts, as at Olympia, and also for secular purposes along public streets, as in Athens. These and other buildings into which the column entered as an integral feature involved no new architectural elements or principles.
One highly important fact about Greek architecture has thus far been only touched upon; that is, the liberal use it made of color. The ruins of Greek temples are to-day monochromatic, either glittering white, as is the temple at Sunium, or of a golden brown, as are the Parthenon and other buildings of Pentelic marble, or of a still warmer brown, as are the limestone temples of Paestum and Girgenti (Acragas). But this uniformity of tint is due only to time. A "White City," such as made the pride of Chicago in 1893, would have been unimaginable to an ancient Greek. Even to-day the attentive observer may sometimes see upon old Greek buildings, as, for example, upon ceiling-beams of the Parthenon, traces left by patterns from which the color has vanished. In other instances remains of actual color exist. So specks of blue paint may still be seen, or might a few years ago, on blocks belonging to the Athenian Propylaea. But our most abundant evidence for the original use of color comes from architectural fragments recently unearthed. During the excavation of Olympia (1875-81) this matter of the coloring of architecture was constantly in mind and a large body of facts relating to it was accumulated. Every new and important excavation adds to the store. At present our information is much fuller in regard to the polychromy of Doric than of Ionic buildings. It appears that, just as the forms and proportions of a building and of all its details were determined by precedent, yet not so absolutely as to leave no scope for the exercise of individual genius, so there was an established system in the coloring of a building, yet a system which varied somewhat according to time and place and the taste of the architect. The frontispiece attempts to suggest what the coloring of the Parthenon was like, and thus to illustrate the general scheme of Doric polychromy. The colors used were chiefly dark blue, sometimes almost black, and red; green and yellow also occur, and some details were gilded. The coloration of the building was far from total. Plain surfaces, as walls, were unpainted. So too were the columns, including, probably, their capitals, except between the annulets. Thus color was confined to the upper members—the triglyphs, the under surface (soffit) of the cornice, the sima, the anta-capitals (cf. Fig. 54), the ornamental details generally, the coffers of the ceiling, and the backgrounds of sculpture. [Footnote: Our frontispiece gives the backgrounds of the metopes as plain, but this is probably an error] The triglyphs, regulae, and mutules were blue; the taenia of the architrave and the soffit of the cornice between the mutules with the adjacent narrow bands were red; the backgrounds of sculpture, either blue or red; the hawk's-beak molding, alternating blue and red; and so on. The principal uncertainty regards the treatment of the unpainted members. Were these left of a glittering white, or were they toned down, in the case of marble buildings, by some application or other, so as to contrast less glaringly with the painted portions? The latter supposition receives some confirmation from Vitruvius, a Roman writer on architecture of the age of Augustus, and seems to some modern writers to be demanded by aesthetic considerations. On the other hand, the evidence of the Olympia buildings points the other way. Perhaps the actual practice varied. As for the coloring of Ionic architecture, we know that the capital of the column was painted, but otherwise our information is very scanty.
If it be asked what led the Greeks to a use of color so strange to us and, on first acquaintance, so little to our taste, it may be answered that possibly the example of their neighbors had something to do with it. The architecture of Egypt, of Mesopotamia, of Persia, was polychromatic. But probably the practice of the Greeks was in the main an inheritance from the early days of their own civilization. According to a well- supported theory, the Doric temple of the historical period is a translation into stone or marble of a primitive edifice whose walls were of sun-dried bricks and whose columns and entablature were of wood. Now it is natural and appropriate to paint wood; and we may suppose that the taste for a partially colored architecture was thus formed. This theory does not indeed explain everything. It does not, for example, explain why the columns or the architrave should be uncolored. In short, the Greek system of polychromy presents itself to us as a largely arbitrary system.
More interesting than the question of origin is the question of aesthetic effect. Was the Greek use of color in good taste? It is not easy to answer with a simple yes or no. Many of the attempts to represent the facts by restorations on paper have been crude and vulgar enough. On the other hand, some experiments in decorating modern buildings with color, in a fashion, to be sure, much less liberal than that of ancient Greece, have produced pleasing results. At present the question is rather one of faith than of sight; and most students of the subject have faith to believe that the appearance of a Greek temple in all its pomp of color was not only sumptuous, but harmonious and appropriate.
When we compare the architecture of Greece with that of other countries, we must be struck with the remarkable degree in which the former adhered to established usage, both in the general plan of a building and in the forms and proportions of each feature. Some measure of adherence to precedent is indeed implied in the very existence of an architectural style. What is meant is that the Greek measure was unusual, perhaps unparalleled. Yet the following of established canons was not pushed to a slavish extreme. A fine Greek temple could not be built according to a hard and fast rule. While the architect refrained from bold and lawless innovations, he yet had scope to exercise his genius. The differences between the Parthenon and any other contemporary Doric temple would seem slight, when regarded singly; but the preeminent perfection of the Parthenon lay in just those skilfully calculated differences
A Greek columnar building is extremely simple in form.[Footnote: The substance of this paragraph and the following is borrowed from Boutmy, "Philosophie de l'Architecture en Grece" (Paris, 1870)] The outlines of an ordinary temple are those of an oblong rectangular block surmounted by a triangular roof. With a qualification to be explained presently, all the lines of the building, except those of the roof, are either horizontal or perpendicular. The most complicated Greek columnar buildings known, the Erechtheum and the Propylaea of the Athenian Acropolis, are simplicity itself when compared to a Gothic cathedral, with its irregular plan, its towers, its wheel windows, its multitudinous diagonal lines.
The extreme simplicity which characterizes the general form of a Greek building extends also to its sculptured and painted ornaments. In the Doric style these are very sparingly used; and even the Ionic style, though more luxuriant, seems reserved in comparison with the wealth of ornamental detail in a Gothic cathedral. Moreover, the Greek ornaments are simple in character. Examine again the hawk's-beak, the egg-and-dart, the leaf-and- dart, the astragal, the guilloche, the honeysuckle, the meander or fret. These are almost the only continuous patterns in use in Greek architecture. Each consists of a small number of elements recurring in unvarying order; a short section is enough to give the entire pattern. Contrast this with the string-course in the nave of the Cathedral of Amiens, where the motive of the design undergoes constant variation, no piece exactly duplicating its neighbor, or with the intricate interlacing patterns of Arabic decoration, and you will have a striking illustration of the Greek love for the finite and comprehensible.
When it was said just now that the main lines of a Greek temple are either horizontal or perpendicular, the statement called for qualification. The elevations of the most perfect of Doric buildings, the Parthenon, could not be drawn with a ruler. Some of the apparently straight lines are really curved. The stylobate is not level, but convex, the rise of the curve amounting to 1/450 of the length of the building; the architrave has also a rising curve, but slighter than that of the stylobate. Then again, many of the lines that would commonly be taken for vertical are in reality slightly inclined. The columns slope inward and so do the principal surfaces of the building, while the anta-capitals slope forward. These refinements, or some of them, have been observed in several other buildings. They are commonly regarded as designed to obviate certain optical illusions supposed to arise in their absence. But perhaps, as one writer has suggested, their principal office was to save the building from an appearance of mathematical rigidity, to give it something of the semblance of a living thing.
Be that as it may, these manifold subtle curves and sloping lines testify to the extraordinary nicety of Greek workmanship. A column of the Parthenon, with its inclination, its tapering, its entasis, and its fluting, could not have been constructed without the most conscientious skill. In fact, the capabilities of the workmen kept pace with the demands of the architects. No matter how delicate the adjustment to be made, the task was perfectly achieved. And when it came to the execution of ornamental details, these were wrought with a free hand and, in the best period, with fine artistic feeling. The wall-band of the Erechtheum is one of the most exquisite things which Greece has left us.
Simplicity in general form, harmony of proportion, refinement of line—these are the great features of Greek columnar architecture.
One other type of Greek building, into which the column does not enter, or enters only in a very subordinate way, remains to be mentioned—the theater. Theaters abounded in Greece. Every considerable city and many a smaller place had at least one, and the ruins of these structures rank with temples and walls of fortification among the commonest classes of ruins in Greek lands. But in a sketch of Greek art they may be rapidly dismissed. That part of the theater which was occupied by spectators—the auditorium, as we may call it—was commonly built into a natural slope, helped out by means of artificial embankments and supporting walls. There was no roof. The building, therefore, had no exterior, or none to speak of. Such beauty as it possessed was due mainly to its proportions. The theater at the sanctuary of Asclepius near Epidaurus, the work of the same architect who built the round building with the Corinthian columns referred to on page 103, was distinguished in ancient times for "harmony and beauty," as the Greek traveler, Pausamas (about 165 A. D.), puts it. It is fortunately one of the best preserved. Fig. 74, a view taken from a considerable distance will give some idea of that quality which Pausanias justly admired. Fronting the auditorium was the stage building, of which little but foundations remains anywhere. So far as can be ascertained, this stage building had but small architectural pretensions until the post classical period (i.e., after Alexander) But there was opportunity for elegance as well as convenience in the form given to the stone or marble seats with which the auditorium was provided.
GREEK SCULPTURE.—GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS.
In the Mycenaean period, as we have seen, the art of sculpture had little existence, except for the making of small images and the decoration of small objects. We have now to take up the story of the rise of this art to an independent and commanding position, of its perfection and its subsequent decline. The beginner must not expect to find this story told with as much fulness and certainty as is possible in dealing with the art of the Renaissance or any more modern period. The impossibility of equal fulness and certainty here will become apparent when we consider what our materials for constructing a history of Greek sculpture are.
First, we have a quantity of notices, more or less relevant, in ancient Greek and Roman authors, chiefly of the time of the Roman Empire. These notices are of the most miscellaneous description. They come from writers of the most unlike tastes and the most unequal degrees of trustworthiness. They are generally very vague, leaving most that we want to know unsaid. And they have such a haphazard character that, when taken all together, they do not begin to cover the field. Nothing like all the works of the greater sculptors, let alone the lesser ones, are so much as mentioned by name in extant ancient literature.
Secondly, we have several hundreds of original inscriptions belonging to Greek works of sculpture and containing the names of the artists who made them. It was a common practice, in the case especially of independent statues in the round, for the sculptor to attach his signature, generally to the pedestal. Unfortunately, while great numbers of these inscribed pedestals have been preserved for us, it is very rarely that we have the statues which once belonged on them. Moreover, the artists' names which we meet on the pedestals are in a large proportion of cases names not even mentioned by our literary sources. In fact, there is only one indisputable case where we possess both a statue and the pedestal belonging to it, the latter inscribed with the name of an artist known to us from literary tradition. (See pages 212-3.)
Thirdly, we have the actual remains of Greek sculpture, a constantly accumulating store, yet only an insignificant remnant of what once existed. These works have suffered sad disfigurement. Not one life-sized figure has reached us absolutely intact; but few have escaped serious mutilation. Most of those found before the beginning of this century, and some of those found since, have been subjected to a process known as "restoration." Missing parts have been supplied, often in the most arbitrary and tasteless manner, and injured surfaces, e. g., of faces, have been polished, with irreparable damage as the result.
Again, it is important to recognize that the creations of Greek sculpture which have been preserved to us are partly original Greek works, partly copies executed in Roman times from Greek originals. Originals, and especially important originals, are scarce. The statues of gold and ivory have left not a vestige behind. Those of bronze, once numbered by thousands, went long ago, with few exceptions, into the melting-pot. Even sculptures in marble, though the material was less valuable, have been thrown into the lime-kiln or used as building stone or wantonly mutilated or ruined by neglect. There does not exist to-day a single certified original work by any one of the six greatest sculptors of Greece, except the Hermes of Praxiteles (see page 221). Copies are more plentiful. As nowadays many museums and private houses have on their walls copies of paintings by the "old masters," so, and far more usually, the public and private buildings of imperial Rome and of many of the cities under her sway were adorned with copies of famous works by the sculptors of ancient Greece. Any piece of sculpture might thus be multiplied indefinitely; and so it happens that we often possess several copies, or even some dozens of copies, of one and the same original. Most of the masterpieces of Greek sculpture which are known to us at all are known only in this way.
The question therefore arises, How far are these copies to be trusted? It is impossible to answer in general terms. The instances are very few where we possess at once the original and a copy. The best case of the kind is afforded by Fig. 75, compared with Fig. 132. Here the head, fore-arms, and feet of the copy are modern and consequently do not enter into consideration. Limiting one's attention to the antique parts of the figure, one sees that it is a tolerably close, and yet a hard and lifeless, imitation of the original. This gives us some measure of the degree of fidelity we may expect in favorable cases. Generally speaking, we have to form our estimate of the faithfulness of a copy by the quality of its workmanship and by a comparison of it with other copies, where such exist. Often we find two or more copies agreeing with one another as closely as possible. This shows—and the conclusion is confirmed by other evidence—that means existed in Roman times of reproducing statues with the help of measurements mechanically taken. At the same time, a comparison of copies makes it apparent that copyists, even when aiming to be exact in the main, often treated details and accessories with a good deal of freedom. Of course, too, the skill and conscientiousness of the copyists varied enormously. Finally, besides copies, we have to reckon with variations and modernizations in every degree of earlier works. Under these circumstances it will easily be seen that the task of reconstructing a lost original from extant imitations is a very delicate and perilous one. Who could adequately appreciate the Sistine Madonna, if the inimitable touch of Raphael were known to us only at second-hand?
Any history of Greek sculpture attempts to piece together the several classes of evidence above described. It classifies the actual remains, seeking to assign to each piece its place and date of production and to infer from direct examination and comparison the progress of artistic methods and ideas. And this it does with constant reference to what literature and inscriptions have to tell us. But in the fragmentary state of our materials, it is evident that the whole subject must be beset with doubt. Great and steady progress has indeed been made since Winckelmann, the founder of the science of classical archaeology, produced the first "History of Ancient Art" (published in 1763); but twilight still reigns over many an important question. This general warning should be borne in mind in reading this or any other hand-book of the subject.
We may next take up the materials and the technical processes of Greek sculpture. These may be classified as follows:
(1) Wood. Wood was often, if not exclusively, used for the earliest Greek temple-images, those rude xoana, of which many survived into the historical period, to be regarded with peculiar veneration. We even hear of wooden statues made in the developed period of Greek art. But this was certainly exceptional. Wood plays no part worth mentioning in the fully developed sculpture of Greece, except as it entered into the making of gold and ivory statues or of the cheaper substitutes for these.
(2) Stone and marble. Various uncrystallized limestones were frequently used in the archaic period and here and there even in the fifth century. But white marble, in which Greece abounds, came also early into use, and its immense superiority to limestone for statuary purposes led to the abandonment of the latter. The choicest varieties of marble were the Parian and Pentelic (cf. page 77). Both of these were exported to every part of the Greek world.
A Greek marble statue or group is often not made of a single piece. Thus the Aphrodite of Melos (page 249) was made of two principal pieces, the junction coming just above the drapery, while several smaller parts, including the left arm, were made separately and attached. The Laocoon group (page 265), which Pliny expressly alleges to have been made of a single block, is in reality made of six. Often the head was made separately from the body, sometimes of a finer quality of marble, and then inserted into a socket prepared for it in the neck of the figure. And very often, when the statue was mainly of a single block, small pieces were attached, sometimes in considerable numbers. Of course the joining was done with extreme nicety, and would have escaped ordinary observation.
In the production of a modern piece of marble sculpture, the artist first makes a clay model and then a mere workman produces from this a marble copy. In the best period of Greek art, on the other hand, there seems to have been no mechanical copying of finished models. Preliminary drawings or even clay models, perhaps small, there must often have been to guide the eye; but the sculptor, instead of copying with the help of exact measurements, struck out freely, as genius and training inspired him. If he made a mistake, the result was not fatal, for he could repair his error by attaching a fresh piece of marble. Yet even so, the ability to work in this way implies marvelous precision of eye and hand. To this ability and this method we may ascribe something of the freedom, the vitality, and the impulsiveness of Greek marble sculpture—qualities which the mechanical method of production tends to destroy. Observe too that, while pediment-groups, metopes, friezes, and reliefs upon pedestals would often be executed by subordinates following the design of the principal artist, any important single statue or group in marble was in all probability chiseled by the very hand of the master.
Another fact of importance, a fact which few are able to keep constantly enough in their thoughts, is that Greek marble sculpture was always more or less painted. This is proved both by statements in ancient authors and by the fuller and more explicit evidence of numberless actual remains. (See especially pages 148, 247.) From these sources we learn that eyes, eyebrows, hair, and perhaps lips were regularly painted, and that draperies and other accessories were often painted in whole or in part. As regards the treatment of flesh the evidence is conflicting. Some instances are reported where the flesh of men was colored a reddish brown, as in the sculpture of Egypt. But the evidence seems to me to warrant the inference that this was unusual in marble sculpture. On the "Alexander" sarcophagus the nude flesh has been by some process toned down to an ivory tint, and this treatment may have been the rule, although most sculptures which retain remains of color show no trace of this. Observe that wherever color was applied, it was laid on in "flat" tints, i.e., not graded or shaded.
This polychromatic character of Greek marble sculpture is at variance with what we moderns have been accustomed to since the Renaissance. By practice and theory we have been taught that sculpture and painting are entirely distinct arts. And in the austere renunciation by sculpture of all color there has even been seen a special distinction, a claim to precedence in the hierarchy of the arts. The Greeks had no such idea. The sculpture of the older nations about them was polychromatic; their own early sculpture in wood and coarse stone was almost necessarily so; their architecture, with which sculpture was often associated, was so likewise. The coloring of marble sculpture, then, was a natural result of the influences by which that sculpture was molded. And, of course, the Greek eye took pleasure in the combination of form and color, and presumably would have found pure white figures like ours dull and cold. We are better circumstanced for judging Greek taste in this matter than in the matter of colored architecture, for we possess Greek sculptures which have kept their coloring almost intact. A sight of the "Alexander" sarcophagus, if it does not revolutionize our own taste, will at least dispel any fear that a Greek artist was capable of outraging beautiful form by a vulgarizing addition.
(3) Bronze. This material (an alloy of copper with tin and sometimes lead), always more expensive than marble, was the favorite material of some of the most eminent sculptors (Myron, Polyclitus, Lysippus) and for certain purposes was always preferred. The art of casting small, solid bronze images goes far back into the prehistoric period in Greece. At an early date, too (we cannot say how early), large bronze statues could be made of a number of separate pieces, shaped by the hammer and riveted together. Such a work was seen at Sparta by the traveler Pausanias, and was regarded by him as the most ancient existing statue in bronze. A great impulse must have been given to bronze sculpture by the introduction of the process of hollow-casting. Pausanias repeatedly attributes the invention of this process to Rhoecus and Theodorus, two Samian artists, who flourished apparently early in the sixth century. This may be substantially correct, but the process is much more likely to have been borrowed from Egypt than invented independently.
In producing a bronze statue it is necessary first to make an exact clay model. This done, the usual Greek practice seems to have been to dismember the model and take a casting of each part separately. The several bronze pieces were then carefully united by rivets or solder, and small defects were repaired by the insertion of quadrangular patches of bronze. The eye-sockets were always left hollow in the casting, and eyeballs of glass, metal, or other materials, imitating cornea and iris, were inserted. [Footnote: Marble statues also sometimes had inserted eyes] Finally, the whole was gone over with appropriate tools, the hair, for example, being furrowed with a sharp graver and thus receiving a peculiar, metallic definiteness of texture.
A hollow bronze statue being much lighter than one in marble and much less brittle, a sculptor could be much bolder in posing a figure of the former material than one of the latter. Hence when a Greek bronze statue was copied in marble in Roman times, a disfiguring support, not present in the original, had often to be added (cf. Figs, 101, 104, etc.). The existence of such a support in a marble work is, then, one reason among others for assuming a bronze original. Other indications pointing the same way are afforded by a peculiar sharpness of edge, e.g., of the eyelids and the eyebrows, and by the metallic treatment of the hair. These points are well illustrated by Fig. 76. Notice especially the curls, which in the original would have been made of separate strips of bronze, twisted and attached after the casting of the figure.
Bronze reliefs were not cast, but produced by hammering. This is what is called repousse work. These bronze reliefs were of small size, and were used for ornamenting helmets, cuirasses, mirrors, and so on.
(4) Gold and ivory. Chryselephantine statues, i.e., statues of gold and ivory, must, from the costliness of the materials, have been always comparatively rare. Most of them, though not all, were temple-images, and the most famous ones were of colossal size. We are very imperfectly informed as to how these figures were made. The colossal ones contained a strong framework of timbers and metal bars, over which was built a figure of wood. To this the gold and ivory were attached, ivory being used for flesh and gold for all other parts. The gold on the Athena of the Parthenon (cf. page 186) weighed a good deal over a ton. But costly as these works were, the admiration felt for them seems to have been untainted by any thought of that fact.
(5) Terra-cotta. This was used at all periods for small figures, a few inches high, immense numbers of which have been preserved to us. But large terra-cotta figures, such as were common in Etruria, were probably quite exceptional in Greece.
Greek sculpture may be classified, according to the purposes which it served, under the following heads:
(1) Architectural sculpture. A temple could hardly be considered complete unless it was adorned with more or less of sculpture. The chief place for such sculpture was in the pediments and especially in the principal or eastern pediment. Relief-sculpture might be applied to Doric metopes or an Ionic frieze. And finally, single statues or groups might be placed, as acroteria, upon the apex and lower corners of a pediment. Other sacred buildings besides temples might be similarly adorned. But we hear very little of sculpture on secular buildings.
(2) Cult-images. As a rule, every temple or shrine contained at least one statue of the divinity, or of each divinity, worshiped there.
(3) Votive sculptures. It was the habit of the Greeks to present to their divinities all sorts of objects in recognition of past favors or in hope of favors to come. Among these votive objects or ANATHEMETA works of sculpture occupied a large and important place. The subjects of such sculptures were various. Statues of the god or goddess to whom the dedication was made were common; but perhaps still commoner were figures representing human persons, either the dedicators themselves or others in whom they were nearly interested. Under this latter head fall most of the many statues of victors in the athletic games. These were set up in temple precincts, like that of Zeus at Olympia, that of Apollo at Delphi, or that of Athena on the Acropolis of Athens, and were, in theory at least, intended rather as thank-offerings than as means of glorifying the victors themselves.
(4) Sepulchral sculpture. Sculptured grave monuments were common in Greece at least as early as the sixth century. The most usual monument was a slab of marble—the form varying according to place and time—sculptured with an idealized representation in relief of the deceased person, often with members of his family.
(5) Honorary statues. Statues representing distinguished men, contemporary or otherwise, could be set up by state authority in secular places or in sanctuaries. The earliest known case of this kind is that of Harmodius and Aristogiton, shortly after 510 B.C. (cf. pages 160-4). The practice gradually became common, reaching an extravagant development in the period after Alexander.
(6) Sculpture used merely as ornament, and having no sacred or public character. This class belongs mainly, if not wholly, to the latest period of Greek art. It would be going beyond our evidence to say that never, in the great age of Greek sculpture, was a statue or a relief produced merely as an ornament for a private house or the interior of a secular building. But certain it is that the demand for such things before the time of Alexander, if it existed at all, was inconsiderable. It may be neglected in a broad survey of the conditions of artistic production in the great age.
The foregoing list, while not quite exhaustive, is sufficiently so for present purposes. It will be seen how inspiring and elevating was the role assigned to the sculptor in Greece. His work destined to be seen by intelligent and sympathetic multitudes, appealed, not to the coarser elements of their nature, but to the most serious and exalted. Hence Greek sculpture of the best period is always pure and noble. The grosser aspects of Greek life, which flaunt themselves shamelessly in Attic comedy, as in some of the designs upon Attic vases, do not invade the province of this art.
It may be proper here to say a word in explanation of that frank and innocent nudity which is so characteristic a trait of the best Greek art. The Greek admiration for the masculine body and the willingness to display it were closely bound up with the extraordinary importance in Greece of gymnastic exercises and contests and with the habits which these engendered. As early as the seventh century, if not earlier, the competitors in the foot- race at Olympia dispensed with the loin-cloth, which had previously been the sole covering worn. In other Olympic contests the example thus set was not followed till some time later, but in the gymnastic exercises of every-day life the same custom must have early prevailed. Thus in contrast to primitive Greek feeling and to the feeling of "barbarians" generally, the exhibition by men among men of the naked body came to be regarded as something altogether honorable. There could not be better evidence of this than the fact that the archer-god, Apollo, the purest god in the Greek pantheon, does not deign in Greek art to veil the glory of his form.
Greek sculpture had a strongly idealizing bent. Gods and goddesses were conceived in the likeness of human beings, but human beings freed from eery blemish, made august and beautiful by the artistic imagination. The subjects of architectural sculpture were mainly mythological, historical scenes being very rare in purely Greek work; and these legendary themes offered little temptation to a literal copying of every-day life. But what is most noteworthy is that even in the representation of actual human persons, e.g., in athlete statues and upon grave monuments, Greek sculpture in the best period seems not to have even aimed at exact portraiture. The development of realistic portraiture belongs mainly to the age of Alexander and his successors.
Mr. Ruskin goes so far as to say that a Greek "never expresses personal character," and "never expresses momentary passion." [Footnote: "Aratra Pentelici," Lecture VI, Section 191, 193.] These are reckless verdicts, needing much qualification. For the art of the fourth century they will not do at all, much less for the later period. But they may be of use if they lead us to note the preference for the typical and permanent with which Greek sculpture begins, and the very gradual way in which it progresses toward the expression of the individual and transient. However, even in the best period the most that we have any right to speak of is a prevailing tendency. Greek art was at all times very much alive, and the student must be prepared to find exceptions to any formula that can be laid down.
THE ARCHAIC PERIOD OF GREEK SCULPTURE. FIRST HALF: 625 (?)-550 B.C.
The date above suggested for the beginning of the period with which we have first to deal must not be regarded as making any pretense to exactitude. We have no means of assigning a definite date to any of the most primitive-looking pieces of Greek sculpture. All that can be said is that works which can be confidently dated about the middle of the sixth century show such a degree of advancement as implies more than half a century of development since the first rude beginnings.
Tradition and the more copious evidence of actual remains teach us that these early attempts at sculpture in stone or marble were not confined to any one spot or narrow region. On the contrary, the centers of artistic activity were numerous and widely diffused— the islands of Crete, Paros, and Naxos; the Ionic cities of Asia Minor and the adjacent islands of Chios and Samos; in Greece proper, Boeotia, Attica, Argolis, Arcadia, Laconia; in Sicily, the Greek colony Selinus; and doubtless many others. It is very difficult to make out how far these different spots were independent of one another; how far, in other words, we have a right to speak of local "schools" of sculpture. Certainly there was from the first a good deal of action and reaction between some of these places, and one chief problem of the subject is to discover the really originative centers of artistic impulse, and to trace the spread of artistic types and styles and methods from place to place. Instead of attempting here to discuss or decide this difficult question, it will be better simply to pass in review a few typical works of the early archaic period from various sites.
The first place may be given to a marble image (Fig. 77) found in 1878 on the island of Delos, that ancient center of Apolline worship for the Ionians. On the left side of the figure is engraved in early Greek characters a metrical inscription, recording that the statue was dedicated to Artemis by one Nicandra of Naxos. Whether it was intended to represent the goddess Artemis or the woman Nicandra, we cannot tell; nor is the question of much importance to us. We have here an extremely rude attempt to represent a draped female form. The figure stands stiffly erect, the feet close together, the arms hanging straight down, the face looking directly forward. The garment envelops the body like a close-fitting sheath, without a suggestion of folds. The trunk of the body is flat or nearly so at the back, while in front the prominence of the breasts is suggested by the simple device of two planes, an upper and a lower, meeting at an angle. The shapeless arms were not detached from the sides, except just at the waist. Below the girdle the body is bounded by parallel planes in front and behind and is rounded off at the sides. A short projection at the bottom, slightly rounded and partly divided, does duty for the feet. The features of the face are too much battered to be commented upon. The most of the hair falls in a rough mass upon the back, but on either side a bunch, divided by grooves into four locks, detaches itself and is brought forward upon the breast. This primitive image is not an isolated specimen of its type. Several similar figures or fragments of figures have been found on the island of Delos, in Boeotia, and elsewhere. A small statuette of this type, found at Olympia, but probably produced at Sparta, has its ugly face tolerably preserved.
Another series of figures, much more numerously represented, gives us the corresponding type of male figure. One of the earliest examples of this series is shown in Fig. 78, a life-sized statue of Naxian marble, found on the island of Thera in 1836. The figure is completely nude. The attitude is like that of the female type just described, except that the left foot is advanced. Other statues, agreeing with this one in attitude, but showing various stages of development, have been found in many places, from Samos on the east to Actium on the west. Several features of this class of figures have been thought to betray Egyptian influence. [Footnote: See Wolters's edition of Friederichs's "Gipsabgusse antiker Bildwerke," pages 11 12.] The rigid position might be adopted independently by primitive sculpture anywhere. But the fact that the left leg is invariably advanced, the narrowness of the hips, and the too high position frequently given to the ears— did this group of coincidences with the stereotyped Egyptian standing figures come about without imitation? There is no historical difficulty in the way of assuming Egyptian influence, for as early as the seventh century Greeks certainly visited Egypt and it was perhaps in this century that the Greek colony of Naucratis was founded in the delta of the Nile. Here was a chance for Greeks to see Egyptian statues; and besides, Egyptian statuettes may have reached Greek shores in the way of commerce. But be the truth about this question what it may, the early Greek sculptors were as far as possible from slavishly imitating a fixed prototype. They used their own eyes and strove, each in his own way, to render what they saw. This is evident, when the different examples of the class of figures now under discussion are passed in review.
Our figure from Thera is hardly more than a first attempt. There is very little of anatomical detail, and what there is is not correct; especially the form and the muscles of the abdomen are not understood. The head presents a number of characteristics which were destined long to persist in Greek sculpture. Such are the protuberant eyeballs, the prominent cheek-bones, the square, protruding chin. Such, too, is the formation of the mouth, with its slightly upturned corners—a feature almost, though not quite, universal in Greek faces for more than a century. This is the sculptor's childlike way of imparting a look of cheerfulness to the countenance, and with it often goes an upward slant of the eyes from the inner to the outer corners. In representing this youth as wearing long hair, the sculptor followed the actual fashion of the times, a fashion not abandoned till the fifth century and in Sparta not till later. The appearance of the hair over the forehead and temples should be noticed. It is arranged symmetrically in flat spiral curls, five curls on each side. Symmetry in the disposition of the front hair is constant in early Greek sculpture, and some scheme or other of spiral curls is extremely common.
It was at one time thought that these nude standing figures all represented Apollo. It is now certain that Apollo was sometimes intended, but equally certain that the same type was used for men. Greek sculpture had not yet learned to differentiate divine from human beings The so-called "Apollo" of Tenea (Fig. 79), probably in reality a grave-statue representing the deceased, was found on the site of the ancient Tenea, a village in the territory of Corinth. It is unusually well preserved, there being nothing missing except the middle portion of the right arm, which has been restored. This figure shows great improvement over his fellow from Thera. The rigid attitude, to be sure, is preserved unchanged, save for a slight bending of the arms at the elbows; and we meet again the prominent eyes, cheek-bones, and chin, and the smiling mouth. But the arms are much more detached from the sides and the modeling of the figure generally is much more detailed. There are still faults in plenty, but some parts are rendered very well, particularly the lower legs and feet, and the figure seems alive. The position of the feet, flat upon the ground and parallel to one another, shows us how to complete in imagination the "Apollo" of Thera and other mutilated members of the series. Greek sculpture even in its earliest period could not limit itself to single standing figures. The desire to adorn the pediments of temples and temple-like buildings gave use to more complex compositions. The earliest pediment sculptures known were found on the Acropolis of Athens in the excavations of 1885-90 (see page 147) The most primitive of these is a low relief of soft poros (see page 78), representing Heracles slaying the many-headed hydra. Somewhat later, but still very rude, is the group shown in Fig. 80, which once occupied the right-hand half of a pediment. The material here is a harder sort of poros, and the figures are practically in the round, though on account of the connection with the background the work has to be classed as high relief. We see a triple monster, or rather three monsters, with human heads and trunks and arms the human bodies passing into long snaky bodies coiled together. A single pair of wings was divided between the two outermost of the three beings, while snakes' heads, growing out of the human bodies, rendered the aspect of the group still more portentous. The center of the pediment was probably occupied by a figure of Zeus, hurling his thunderbolt at this strange enemy. We have therefore here a scene from one of the favorite subjects of Greek art at all periods—the gigantomachy, or battle of gods and giants. Fig. 81 gives a better idea of the nearest of the three heads. [Footnote: It is doubtful whether this head belongs where it is placed in Fig 80, or in another pediment-group, of which fragments have been found.] It was completely covered with a crust of paint, still pretty well preserved. The flesh was red; the hair, moustache, and beard, blue; the irises of the eyes, green; the eyebrows, edges of the eyelids, and pupils, black. A considerable quantity of early poros sculptures was found on the Athenian Acropolis. These were all liberally painted. The poor quality of the material was thus largely or wholly concealed.
Fig. 82 shows another Athenian work, found on the Acropolis in 1864-65. It is of marble and is obviously of later date than the poros sculptures. In 1887 the pedestal of this statue was found, with a part of the right foot. An inscription on the pedestal shows that the statue was dedicated to some divinity, doubtless Athena, whose precinct the Acropolis was. The figure then probably represents the dedicator, bringing a calf for sacrifice. The position of the body and legs is here the same as in the "Apollo" figures, but the subject has compelled the sculptor to vary the position of the arms. Another difference from the "Apollo" figures lies in the fact that this statue is not wholly naked. The garment, however, is hard to make out, for it clings closely to the person of the wearer and betrays its existence only along the edges. The sculptor had not yet learned to represent the folds of drapery
The British Museum possesses a series of ten seated figures of Parian marble, which were once ranged along the approach to an important temple of Apollo near Miletus. Fig. 83 shows three of these. They are placed in their assumed chronological order, the earliest furthest off. Only the first two belong in the period now under review. The figures are heavy and lumpish, and are enveloped, men and women alike, in draperies, which leave only the heads, the fore-arms, and the toes exposed. It is interesting to see the successive sculptors attacking the problem of rendering the folds of loose garments. Not until we reach the latest of the three statues do we find any depth given to the folds, and that figure belongs distinctly in the latter half of the archaic period.
Transporting ourselves now from the eastern to the western confines of Greek civilization, we may take a look at a sculptured metope from Selinus in Sicily (Fig. 84). That city was founded, according to our best ancient authority, about the year 629 B.C., and the temple from which our metope is taken is certainly one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of the many temples of the place. The material of the metope, as of the whole temple, is a local poros, and the work is executed in high relief. The subject is Perseus cutting off the head of Medusa. The Gorgon is trying to run away—the position given to her legs is used in early Greek sculpture and vase-painting to signify rapid motion—but is overtaken by her pursuer. From the blood of Medusa sprang, according to the legend, the winged horse, Pegasus; and the artist, wishing to tell as much of the story as possible, has introduced Pegasus into his composition, but has been forced to reduce him to miniature size. The goddess Athena, the protectress of Perseus, occupies what remains of the field. There is no need of dwelling in words on the ugliness of this relief, an ugliness only in part accounted for by the subject. The student should note that the body of each of the three figures is seen from the front, while the legs are in profile. The same distortion occurs in a second metope of this same temple, representing Heracles carrying off two prankish dwarfs who had tried to annoy him, and is in fact common in early Greek work. We have met something similar in Egyptian reliefs and paintings (cf. page 33), but this method of representing the human form is so natural to primitive art that we need not here assume Egyptian influence. The garments of Perseus and Athena show so much progress in the representation of folds that one scruples to put this temple back into the seventh century, as some would have us do. Like the poros sculptures of Attica, these Selinus metopes seem to have been covered with color.
Fig. 85 takes us back again to the island of Delos, where the statue came to light in 1877. It is of Parian marble, and is considerably less than life-sized. A female figure is here represented, the body unnaturally twisted at the hips, as in the Selinus metopes, the legs bent in the attitude of rapid motion. At the back there were wings, of which only the stumps now remain. A comparison of this statue with similar figures from the Athenian Acropolis has shown that the feet did not touch the pedestal, the drapery serving as a support. The intention of the artist, then, was to represent a flying figure, probably a Victory. The goddess is dressed in a chiton (shift), which shows no trace of folds above the girdle, while below the girdle, between the legs, there is a series of flat, shallow ridges. The face shows the usual archaic features—the prominent eyeballs, cheeks, and chin, and the smiling mouth. The hair is represented as fastened by a sort of hoop, into which metallic ornaments, now lost, were inserted. As usual, the main mass of the hair falls straight behind, and several locks, the same number on each side, are brought forward upon the breast. As usual, too, the front hair is disposed symmetrically; in this case, a smaller and a larger flat curl on each side of the middle of the forehead are succeeded by a continuous tress of hair arranged in five scallops.
If, as has been generally thought, this statue belongs on an inscribed pedestal which was found near it, then we have before us the work of one Archermus of Chios, known to us from literary tradition as the first sculptor to represent Victory with wings. At all events, this, if a Victory, is the earliest that we know. She awakens our interest, less for what she is in herself than because she is the forerunner of the magnificent Victories of developed Greek art.
Thus far we have not met a single work to which it is possible to assign a precise date. We have now the satisfaction of finding a chronological landmark in our path. This is afforded by some fragments of sculpture belonging to the old Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The date of this temple is approximately fixed by the statement of Herodotus (I, 92) that most of its columns were picsented by Croesus, king of Lydia, whose reign lasted from 560 to 546 B. C. In the course of the excavations carried on for the British Museum upon the site of Ephesus there were brought to light, in 1872 and 1874, a few fragments of this sixth century edifice. Even some letters of Croesus's dedicatory inscription have been found on the bases of the Ionic columns, affording a welcome confirmation to the testimony of Herodotus. It appears that the columns, or some of them, were treated in a very exceptional fashion, the lowest drums being adorned with relief- sculpture. The British Museum authorities have partially restored one such drum (Fig. 86), though without guaranteeing that the pieces of sculpture here combined actually belong to the same column. The male figure is not very pre-possessing, but that is partly due to the battered condition of the face. Much more attractive is the female head, of which unfortunately only the back is seen in our illustration. It bears a strong family likeness to the head of the Victory of Delos, but shows marked improvement over that. Some bits of a sculptured cornice belonging to the same temple are also refined in style. In this group of reliefs, fragmentary though they are, we have an indication of the development attained by Ionic sculptors about the middle of the sixth century. For, of course, though Croesus paid for the columns, the work was executed by Greek artists upon the spot, and presumably by the best artists that could be secured. We may therefore use these sculptures as a standard by which to date other works, whose date is not fixed for us by external evidence.
THE ARCHAIC PERIOD OF GREEK SCULPTURE SECOND HALF 550-480 B.C.
Greek sculpture now enters upon a stage of development which possesses for the modern student a singular and potent charm True, many traces still remain of the sculptor's imperfect mastery. He cannot pose his figures in perfectly easy attitudes not even in reliefs, where the problem is easier than in sculpture in the round. His knowledge of human anatomy—that is to say, of the outward appearance of the human body, which is all the artistic anatomy that any one attempted to know during the rise and the great age of Greek sculpture—is still defective, and his means of expression are still imperfect. For example, in the nude male figure the hips continue to be too narrow for the shoulders, and the abdomen too flat. The facial peculiarities mentioned in the preceding chapter—prominent eyeballs, cheeks, and chin, and smiling mouth—are only very gradually modified. As from the first, the upper eyelid does not overlap the lower eyelid at the outer corner, as truth, or rather appearance, requires, and in relief sculpture the eye of a face in profile is rendered as in front view. The texture and arrangement of hair are expressed in various ways but always with a marked love of symmetry and formalism. In the difficult art of representing drapery there is much experimentation and great progress. It seems to have been among the eastern Ionians perhaps at Chios, that the deep cutting of folds was first practiced, and from Ionia this method of treatment spread to Athens and elsewhere. When drapery is used, there is a manifest desire on the sculptor's part to reveal what he can, more, in fact, than in reality could appear, of the form underneath. The garments fall in formal folds, sometimes of great elaboration. They look as if they were intended to represent garments of irregular cut, carefully starched and ironed. But one must be cautious about drawing inferences from an imperfect artistic manner as to the actual fashions of the day.
But whatever shortcomings in technical perfection may be laid to their charge, the works of this period are full of the indefinable fascination of promise. They are marked, moreover, by a simplicity and sincerity of purpose, an absence of all ostentation, a conscientious and loving devotion on the part of those who made them. And in many of them we are touched by great refinement and tenderness of feeling, and a peculiarly Greek grace of line.
To illustrate these remarks we may turn first to Lycia, in southwestern Asia Minor. The so called "Harpy" tomb was a huge, four sided pillar of stone, in the upper part of which a square burial-chamber was hollowed out. Marble bas-reliefs adorned the exterior of this chamber The best of the four slabs is seen in Fig 87 [Footnote: Our illustration is not quite complete on the right] At the right is a seated female figure, divinity or deceased woman, who holds in her right hand a pomegranate flower and in her left a pomegranate fruit To her approach three women, the first raising the lower part of her chiton with her right hand and drawing forward her outer garment with her left, the second bringing a fruit and a flower the third holding an egg in her right hand and raising her chiton with her left. Then comes the opening into the burial-chamber, surmounted by a diminutive cow suckling her calf. At the left is another seated female figure, holding a bowl for libation. The exact significance of this scene is unknown, and we may limit our attention to its artistic qualities. We have here our first opportunity of observing the principle of isocephaly in Greek relief-sculpture; i.e., the convention whereby the heads of figures in an extended composition are ranged on nearly the same level, no matter whether the figures are seated, standing, mounted on horseback, or placed in any other position. The main purpose of this convention doubtless was to avoid the unpleasing blank spaces which would result if the figures were all of the same proportions. In the present instance there may be the further desire to suggest by the greater size of the seated figures their greater dignity as goddesses or divinized human beings. Note, again, how, in the case of each standing woman, the garments adhere to the body behind. The sculptor here sacrifices truth for the sake of showing the outline of the figure. Finally, remark the daintiness with which the hands are used, particularly in the case of the seated figure on the right. The date of this work may be put not much later than the middle of the sixth century, and the style is that of the Ionian school.
Under the tyrant Pisistratus and his sons Athens attained to an importance in the world of art which it had not enjoyed before. A fine Attic work, which we may probably attribute to the time of Pisistratus, is the grave-monument of Aristion (Fig. 88). The material is Pentelic marble. The form of the monument, a tall, narrow, slightly tapering slab or stele, is the usual one in Attica in this period. The man represented in low relief is, of course, Aristion himself. He had probably fallen in battle, and so is put before us armed. Over a short chiton he wears a leather cuirass with a double row of flaps below, on his head is a small helmet, which leaves his face entirely exposed, on his legs are greaves; and in his left hand he holds a spear There is some constraint in the position of the left arm and hand, due to the limitations of space In general, the anatomy, so far as exhibited is creditable, though fault might be found with the shape of the thighs The hair, much shorter than is usual in the archaic period, is arranged in careful curls The beard, trimmed to a point in front, is rendered by parallel grooves The chiton, where it shows from under the cuirass, is arranged in symmetrical plaits There are considerable traces of color on the relief, as well as on the background Some of these may be seen in our illustration on the cuirass.
Our knowledge of early Attic sculpture has been immensely increased by the thorough exploration of the summit of the Athenian Acropolis in 1885-90 In regard to these important excavations it must be remembered that in 480 and again in 479 the Acropolis was occupied by Persians belonging to Xerxes' invading army, who reduced the buildings and sculptures on that site to a heap of fire-blackened ruins This debris was used by the Athenians in the generation immediately following toward raising the general level of the summit of the Acropolis. All this material, after having been buried for some twenty three and a half centuries, has now been recovered. In the light of the newly found remains, which include numerous inscribed pedestals, it is seen that under the rule of Pisistratus and his sons Athens attracted to itself talented sculptors from other Greek communities, notably from Chios and Ionia generally. It is to Ionian sculptors and to Athenian sculptors brought under Ionian influences that we must attribute almost all those standing female figures which form the chief part of the new treasures of the Acropolis Museum.
The figures of this type stand with the left foot, as a rule, a little advanced, the body and head facing directly forward with primitive stiffness. But the arms no longer hang straight at the sides, one of them, regularly the right, being extended from the elbow, while the other holds up the voluminous drapery. Many of the statues retain copious traces of color on hair, eyebrows, eyes, draperies, and ornaments; in no case does the flesh give any evidence of having been painted (cf. page 119). Fig. 89 is taken from an illustration which gives the color as it was when the statue was first found, before it had suffered from exposure. Fig. 90 is not in itself one of the most pleasing of the series, but it has a special interest, not merely on account of its exceptionally large size—it is over six and a half feet high—but because we probably know the name and something more of its sculptor. If, as seems altogether likely, the statue belongs upon the inscribed pedestal upon which it is placed in the illustration, then we have before us an original work of that Antenor who was commissioned by the Athenian people, soon after the expulsion of the tyrant Hippias and his family in 510, to make a group in bronze of Harmodius and Aristogiton (cf. pages 160-4) This statue might, of course, be one of his earlier productions.
At first sight these figures strike many untrained observers as simply grotesque. Some of them are indeed odd; Fig. 91 reproduces one which is especially so. But they soon become absorbingly interesting and then delightful. The strange-looking, puzzling garments, [Footnote: Fig 91 wears only one garment the Ionic chiton, a long; linen shift, girded at the waist and pulled up so as to fall over conceal the girdle. Figs 89, 90, 92 93 wear over this a second garment which goes over the right shoulder and under the left This over-garment reaches to the feet, so as to conceal the lower portion of the chiton At the top it is folded over, or perhaps rather another piece of cloth is sewed on. This over-fold, if it may be so called, appears as if cut with two or more long points below] which cling to the figure behind and fall in formal folds in front, the elaborately, often impossibly, arranged hair, the gracious countenances, a certain quaintness and refinement and unconsciousness of self—these things exercise over us an endless fascination.
Who are these mysterious beings? We do not know. There are those who would see in them, or in some of them, representations of Athena, who was not only a martial goddess, but also patroness of spinning and weaving and all cunning handiwork. To others, including the writer, they seem, in their manifold variety, to be daughters of Athens. But, if so, what especial claim these women had to be set up in effigy upon Athena's holy hill is an unsolved riddle.
Before parting from their company we must not fail to look at two fragmentary figures (Figs. 94, 95), the most advanced in style of the whole series and doubtless executed shortly before 480. In the former, presumably the earlier of the two, the marvelous arrangement of the hair over the forehead survives and the eyeballs still protrude unpleasantly. But the mouth has lost the conventional smile and the modeling of the face is of great beauty. In the other, alone of the series, the hair presents a fairly natural appearance, the eyeballs lie at their proper depth, and the beautiful curve of the neck is not masked by the locks that fall upon the breasts. In this head, too, the mouth actually droops at the corners, giving a perhaps unintended look of seriousness to the face. The ear, though set rather high, is exquisitely shaped.
Still more lovely than this lady is the youth's head shown in Fig. 96. Fate has robbed us of the body to which it belonged, but the head itself is in an excellent state of preservation. The face is one of singular purity and sweetness. The hair, once of a golden tint, is long behind and is gathered into two braids, which start from just behind the ears, cross one another, and are fastened together in front; the short front hair is combed forward and conceals the ends of the braids; and there is a mysterious puff in front of each ear. In the whole work, so far at least as appears in a profile view, there is nothing to mar our pleasure. The sculptor's hand has responded cunningly to his beautiful thought.
It is a pity not to be able to illustrate another group of Attic sculptures of the late archaic period, the most recent addition to our store. The metopes of the Treasury of the Athenians at Delphi, discovered during the excavations now in progress, are of extraordinary interest and importance; but only two or three of them have yet been published, and these in a form not suited for reproduction. The same is the case with another of the recent finds at Delphi, the sculptured frieze of the Treasury of the Cnidians, already famous among professional students and destined to be known and admired by a wider public. Here, however, it is possible to submit a single fragment, which was found years ago (Fig. 97). It represents a four-horse chariot approaching an altar. The newly found pieces of this frieze have abundant remains of color. The work probably belongs in the last quarter of the sixth century.
The pediment-figures from Aegina, the chief treasure of the Munich collection of ancient sculpture, were found in 1811 by a party of scientific explorers and were restored in Italy under the superintendence of the Danish sculptor, Thorwaldsen. Until lately these AEginetan figures were our only important group of late archaic Greek sculptures; and, though that is no longer the case, they still retain, and will always retain, an especial interest and significance. They once filled the pediments of a Doric temple of Aphaia, of which considerable remains are still standing. There is no trustworthy external clue to the date of the building, and we are therefore obliged to depend for that on the style of the architecture and sculpture, especially the latter. In the dearth of accurately dated monuments which might serve as standards of comparison, great difference of opinion on this point has prevailed. But we are now somewhat better off, thanks to recent discoveries at Athens and Delphi, and we shall probably not go far wrong in assigning the temple with its sculptures to about 480 B.C. Fig. 52 illustrates, though somewhat incorrectly, the composition of the western pediment. The subject was a combat, in the presence of Athena, between Greeks and Asiatics, probably on the plain of Troy. A close parallelism existed between the two halves of the pediment, each figure, except the goddess and the fallen warrior at her feet, corresponding to a similar figure on the opposite side. Athena, protectress of the Greeks, stands in the center (Fig. 98). She wears two garments, of which the outer one (the only one seen in the illustration) is a marvel of formalism. Her aegis covers her breasts and hangs far down behind; the points of its scalloped edge once bristled with serpents' heads, and there was a Gorgon's head in the middle of the front. She has upon her head a helmet with lofty crest, and carries shield and lance. The men, with the exception of the two archers, are naked, and their helmets, which are of a form intended to cover the face, are pushed back. Of course, men did not actually go into battle in this fashion; but the sculptor did not care for realism, and he did care for the exhibition of the body. He belonged to a school which had made an especially careful study of anatomy, and his work shows a great improvement in this respect over anything we have yet had the opportunity to consider. Still, the men are decidedly lean in appearance and their angular attitudes are a little suggestive of prepared skeletons. They have oblique and prominent eyes, and, whether fighting or dying, they wear upon their faces the same conventional smile.
The group in the eastern pediment corresponds closely in subject and composition to that in the western, but is of a distinctly more advanced style. Only five figures of this group were sufficiently preserved to be restored. Of these perhaps the most admirable is the dying warrior from the southern corner of the pediment (Fig. 99), in which the only considerable modern part is the right leg, from the middle of the thigh. The superiority of this and its companion figures to those of the western pediment lies, as the Munich catalogue points out, in the juster proportions of body, arms, and legs, the greater fulness of the muscles, the more careful attention to the veins and to the qualities of the skin, the more natural position of eyes and mouth. This dying man does not smile meaninglessly. His lips are parted, and there is a suggestion of death-agony on his countenance. In both pediments the figures are carefully finished all round; there is no neglect, or none worth mentioning, of those parts which were destined to be invisible so long as the figures were in position.
The Strangford "Apollo" (Fig. 100) is of uncertain provenience, but is nearly related in style to the marbles of Aegina. This statue, by the position of body, legs, and head, belongs to the series of "Apollo" figures discussed above (pages 129-32); but the arms were no longer attached to the sides, and were probably bent at the elbows. The most obvious traces of a lingering archaism, besides the rigidity of the attitude, are the narrowness of the hips and the formal arrangement of the hair, with its double row of snail-shell curls. The statue has been spoken of by a high authority [Footnote: Newton, "Essays on Art and Archaeology" page 81.] as showing only "a meager and painful rendering of nature." That is one way of looking at it. But there is another way, which has been finely expressed by Pater, in an essay on "The Marbles of Aegina": "As art which has passed its prime has sometimes the charm of an absolute refinement in taste and workmanship, so immature art also, as we now see, has its own attractiveness in the naivete, the freshness of spirit, which finds power and interest in simple motives of feeling, and in the freshness of hand, which has a sense of enjoyment in mechanical processes still performed unmechanically, in the spending of care and intelligence on every touch. ... The workman is at work in dry earnestness, with a sort of hard strength of detail, a scrupulousness verging on stiffness, like that of an early Flemish painter; he communicates to us his still youthful sense of pleasure in the experience of the first rudimentary difficulties of his art overcome." [Footnote: Pater, "Greek Studies" page 285]
THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD OF GREEK SCULPTURE. 480-450 B. C.
The term "Transitional period" is rather meaningless in itself, but has acquired considerable currency as denoting that stage in the history of Greek art in which the last steps were taken toward perfect freedom of style. It is convenient to reckon this period as extending from the year of the Persian invasion of Greece under Xerxes to the middle of the century. In the artistic as in the political history of this generation Athens held a position of commanding importance, while Sparta, the political rival of Athens, was as barren of art as of literature. The other principal artistic center was Argos, whose school of sculpture had been and was destined long to be widely influential. As for other local schools, the question of their centers and mutual relations is too perplexing and uncertain to be here discussed.
In the two preceding chapters we studied only original works, but from this time on we shall have to pay a good deal of attention to copies (cf. pages 114-16). We begin with two statues in Naples (Fig. 101). The story of this group—for the two statues were designed as a group—is interesting. The two friends, Harmodius and Aristogiton, who in 514 had formed a conspiracy to rid Athens of her tyrants, but who had succeeded only in killing one of them, came to be regarded after the expulsion of the remaining tyrant and his family in 510 as the liberators of the city. Their statues in bronze, the work of Antenor, were set up on a terrace above the market-place (cf. pages 124, 149). In 480 this group was carried off to Persia by Xerxes and there it remained for a hundred and fifty years or more when it was restored to Athens by Alexander the Great or one of his successors. Athens however had as promptly as possible repaired her loss. Critius and Nesiotes, two sculptors who worked habitually in partnership, were commissioned to make a second group, and this was set up in 477-6 on the same terrace where the first had been After the restoration of Antenor's statues toward the end of the fourth century the two groups stood side by side.
It was argued by a German archaeologist more than a generation ago that the two marble statues shown in Fig. 101 are copied from one of these bronze groups, and this identification has been all but universally accepted. The proof may be stated briefly, as follows. First several Athenian objects of various dates, from the fifth century B.C. onward, bear a design to which the Naples statues clearly correspond One of these is a relief on a marble throne formerly in Athens. Our illustration of this (Fig. 102) is taken from a "squeeze," or wet paper impression. This must then, have been an important group in Athens. Secondly, the style of the Naples statues points to a bronze original of the early fifth century. Thirdly, the attitudes of the figures are suitable for Harmodius and Aristogiton, and we do not know of any other group of that period for which they are suitable. This proof, though not quite as complete as we should like, is as good as we generally get in these matters. The only question that remains in serious doubt is whether our copies go back to the work of Antenor or to that of Critius and Nesiotes. Opinions have been much divided on this point but the prevailing tendency now is to connect them with the later artists. That is the view here adopted
In studying the two statues it is important to recognize the work of the modern "restorer." The figure of Aristogiton (the one on your left as you face the group) having been found in a headless condition, the restorer provided it with a head, which is antique, to be sure, but which is outrageously out of keeping, being of the style of a century later. The chief modern portions are the left hand of Aristogiton and the arms, right leg, and lower part of the left leg of Harmodius. As may be learned from the small copies, Aristogiton should be bearded, and the right arm of Harmodius should be in the act of being raised to bring down a stroke of the sword upon his antagonist. We have, then, to correct in imagination the restorer's misdoings, and also to omit the tree- trunk supports, which the bronze originals did not need. Further, the two figures should probably be advancing in the same direction, instead of in converging lines.
When these changes are made, the group cannot fail to command our admiration. It would be a mistake to fix our attention exclusively on the head of Harmodius. Seen in front view, the face, with its low forehead and heavy chin, looks dull, if not ignoble. But the bodies! In complete disregard of historic truth, the two men are represented in a state of ideal nudity, like the Aeginetan figures. The anatomy is carefully studied, the attitudes lifelike and vigorous. Finally, the composition is fairly successful. This is the earliest example preserved to us of a group of sculpture other than a pediment-group. The interlocking of the figures is not yet so close as it was destined to be in many a more advanced piece of Greek statuary. But already the figures are not merely juxtaposed; they share in a common action, and each is needed to complete the other.
Of about the same date, it would seem, or not much later, must have been a lost bronze statue, whose fame is attested by the existence of several marble copies. The best of these was found in 1862, in the course of excavating the great theater on the southern slope of the Athenian Acropolis (Fig. 103). The naming of this figure is doubtful. It has been commonly taken for Apollo, while another view sees in it a pugilist. Recently the suggestion has been thrown out that it is Heracles. Be that as it may, the figure is a fine example of youthful strength and beauty. In pose it shows a decided advance upon the Strangford "Apollo" (Fig. 100). The left leg is still slightly advanced, and both feet were planted flat on the ground; but more than half the weight of the body is thrown upon the right leg, with the result of giving a slight curve to the trunk, and the head is turned to one side. The upper part of the body is very powerful, the shoulders broad and held well back, the chest prominently developed. The face, in spite of its injuries, is one of singular refinement and sweetness. The long hair is arranged in two braids, as in Fig. 96, the only difference being that here the braids pass over instead of under the fringe of front hair. The rendering of the hair is in a freer style than in the case just cited, but of this difference a part may be chargeable to the copyist. Altogether we see here the stamp of an artistic manner very different from that of Critius and Nesiotes. Possibly, as some have conjectured, it is the manner of Calamis, an Attic sculptor of this period, whose eminence at any rate entitles him to a passing mention. But even the Attic origin of this statue is in dispute.