We now reach a name of commanding importance, and one with which we are fortunately able to associate some definite ideas. It is the name of Myron of Athens, who ranks among the six most illustrious sculptors of Greece. It is worth remarking, as an illustration of the scantiness of our knowledge regarding the lives of Greek artists, that Myron's name is not so much as mentioned in extant literature before the third century B.C. Except for a precise, but certainly false, notice in Pliny, who represents him as flourishing in 420-416, our literary sources yield only vague indications as to his date. These indications, such as they are, point to the "Transitional period." This inference is strengthened by the recent discovery on the Athenian Acropolis of a pair of pedestals inscribed with the name of Myron's son and probably datable about 446. Finally, the argument is clinched by the style of Myron's most certainly identifiable work.
Pliny makes Myron the pupil of an influential Argive master, Ageladas, who belongs in the late archaic period. Whether or not such a relation actually existed, the statement is useful as a reminder of the probability that Argos and Athens were artistically in touch with one another. Beyond this, we get no direct testimony as to the circumstances of Myron's life. We can only infer that his genius was widely recognized in his lifetime, seeing that commissions came to him, not from Athens only, but also from other cities of Greece proper, as well as from distant Samos and Ephesus. His chief material was bronze, and colossal figures of gold and ivory are also ascribed to him. So far as we know, he did not work in marble at all. His range of subjects included divinities, heroes, men, and animals. Of no work of his do we hear so often or in terms of such high praise as of a certain figure of a cow, which stood on or near the Athenian Acropolis. A large number of athlete statues from his hand were to be seen at Olympia, Delphi, and perhaps elsewhere, and this side of his activity was certainly an important one. Perhaps it is a mere accident that we hear less of his statues of divinities and heroes.
The starting point in any study of Myron must be his Discobolus (Discus-thrower). Fig. 104 reproduces the best copy. This statue was found in Rome in 1781, and is in an unusually good state of preservation. The head has never been broken from the body; the right arm has been broken off, but is substantially antique; and the only considerable restoration is the right leg from the knee to the ankle. The two other most important copies were found together in 1791 on the site of Hadrian's villa at Tibur (Tivoli). One of these is now in the British Museum, the other in the Vatican; neither has its original head. A fourth copy of the body, a good deal disguised by "restoration," exists in the Museum of the Capitol in Rome. There are also other copies of the head besides the one on the Lancellotti statue.
The proof that these statues and parts of statues were copied from Myron's Discobolus depends principally upon a passage in Lucian (about 160 A. D.). [Footnote: Philopseudes, Section 18.] He gives a circumstantial description of the attitude of that work, or rather of a copy of it, and his description agrees point for point with the statues in question. This agreement is the more decisive because the attitude is a very remarkable one, no other known figure showing anything in the least resembling it. Moreover, the style of the Lancellotti statue points to a bronze original of the "Transitional period," to which on historical grounds Myron is assigned.
Myron's statue represented a young Greek who had been victorious in the pentathlon, or group of five contests (running, leaping, wrestling, throwing the spear, and hurling the discus), but we have no clue as to where in the Greek world it was set up. The attitude of the figure seems a strange one at first sight, but other ancient representations, as well as modern experiments, leave little room for doubt that the sculptor has truthfully caught one of the rapidly changing positions which the exercise involved. Having passed the discus from his left hand to his right, the athlete has swung the missile as far back as possible. In the next instant he will hurl it forward, at the same time, of course, advancing his left foot and recovering his erect position. Thus Myron has preferred to the comparatively easy task of representing the athlete at rest, bearing some symbol of victory, the far more difficult problem of exhibiting him in action. It would seem that he delighted in the expression of movement. So his Ladas, known to us only from two epigrams in the Anthology, represented a runner panting toward the goal; and others of his athlete statues may have been similarly conceived. His temple- images, on the other hand, must have been as composed in attitude as the Discobolus is energetic.
The face of the Discobolus is rather typical than individual. If this is not immediately obvious to the reader, the comparison of a closely allied head may make it clear. Of the numerous works which have been brought into relation with Myron by reason of their likeness to the Discobolus, none is so unmistakable as a fine bust in Florence (Fig. 105). The general form of the head, the rendering of the hair, the anatomy of the forehead, the form of the nose and the angle it makes with the forehead—these and other features noted by Professor Furtwangler are alike in the Discobolus and the Riccardi head. These detailed resemblances cannot be verified without the help of casts or at least of good photographs taken from different points of view; but the general impression of likeness will be felt convincing, even without analysis. Now these two works represent different persons, the Riccardi head being probably copied from the statue of some ideal hero. And the point to be especially illustrated is that in the Discobolus we have not a realistic portrait, but a generalized type. This is not the same as to say that the face bore no recognizable resemblance to the young man whom the statue commemorated. Portraiture admits of many degrees, from literal fidelity to an idealization in which the identity of the subject is all but lost. All that is meant is that the Discobolus belongs somewhere near the latter end of the scale. In this absence of individualization we have a trait, not of Myron alone, but of Greek sculpture generally in its rise and in the earlier stages of its perfection (cf. page 126).
Another work of Myron has been plausibly recognized in a statue of a satyr in the Lateran Museum (Fig. 106). The evidence for this is too complex to be stated here. If the identification is correct, the Lateran statue is copied from the figure of Marsyas in a bronze group of Athena and Marsyas which stood on the Athenian Acropolis The goddess was represented s having just flung down in disdain a pair of flutes; the satyr, advancing on tiptoe, hesitates between cupidity and the fear of Athena's displeasure. Marsyas has a lean and sinewy figure, coarse stiff hair and beard, a wrinkled forehead, a broad flat nose which makes a marked angle with the forehead, pointed ears (modern, but guaranteed by another copy of the head), and a short tail sprouting from the small of the back The arms, which were missing, have been incorrectly restored with castanets. The right should be held up, the left down, in a gesture of astonishment. In this work we see again Myron's skill in suggesting movement. We get a lively impression of an advance suddenly checked and changed to a recoil.
Thus far in this chapter we have been dealing with copies Our stock of original works of this period, however, is not small; it consists, as usual, largely of architectural sculpture. Fig. 107 shows four metopes from a temple at Selinus. They represent (beginning at the left) Heracles in combat with an Amazon, Hera unveiling herself before Zeus, Actaeon torn by his dogs in the presence of Artemis, and Athena overcoming the giant Enceladus. These reliefs would repay the most careful study, but the sculptures of another temple have still stronger claims to attention.
Olympia was one of the two most important religious centers of the Greek world, the other being Delphi. Olympia was sacred to Zeus, and the great Doric temple of Zeus was thus the chief among the group of religious buildings there assembled. The erection of this temple probably falls in the years just preceding and following 460 B.C. A slight exploration carried on by the French in 1829 and the thorough excavation of the site by the Germans in 1875-81 brought to light extensive remains of its sculptured decoration. This consisted of two pediment groups and twelve sculptured metopes, besides the acroteria. In the eastern pediment the subject is the preparation for the chariot-race of Pelops and Oenomaus. The legend ran that Oenomaus, king of Pisa in Elis, refused the hand of his daughter save to one who should beat him in a chariot-race. Suitor after suitor tried and failed, till at last Pelops, a young prince from over sea, succeeded In the pediment group Zeus, as arbiter of the impending contest, occupies the center. On one side of him stand Pelops and his destined bride, on the other Oenomaus and his wife, Sterope (Fig. 108). The chariots, with attendants and other more or less interested persons follow (Fig. 109). The moment chosen by the sculptor is one of expectancy rather than action, and the various figures are in consequence simply juxtaposed, not interlocked. Far different is the scene presented by the western pediment. The subject here is the combat between Lapiths and Centaurs, one of the favorite themes of Greek sculpture, as of Greek painting. The Centaurs, brutal creatures, partly human, partly equine, were fabled to have lived in Thessaly. There too was the home of the Lapiths, who were Greeks. At the wedding of Pirithous, king of the Lapiths, the Centaurs, who had been bidden as guests, became inflamed with wine and began to lay hands on the women. Hence a general metee, in which the Greeks were victorious. The sculptor has placed the god Apollo in the center (Fig. 110), undisturbed amid the wild tumult; his presence alone assures us what the issue is to he. The struggling groups (Figs. 111, 112) extend nearly to the corners, which are occupied each by two reclining female figures, spectators of the scene. In each pediment the composition is symmetrical, every figure having its corresponding figure on the opposite side. Yet the law of symmetry is interpreted much more freely than in the Aegina pediments of a generation earlier; the corresponding figures often differ from one another a good deal in attitude, and in one instance even in sex.
Our illustrations, which give a few representative specimens of these sculptures, suggest some comments. To begin with, the workmanship here displayed is rapid and far from faultless. Unlike the Aeginetan pediment-figures and those of the Parthenon, these figures are left rough at the back. Moreover, even in the visible portions there are surprising evidences of carelessness, as in the portentously long left thigh of the Lapith in Fig. 112. It is, again, evidence of rapid, though not exactly of faulty, execution, that the hair is in a good many cases only blocked out, the form of the mass being given, but its texture not indicated (e.g., Fig. 111). In the pose of the standing figures (e.g., Fig. 108), with the weight borne about equally by both legs, we see a modified survival of the usual archaic attitude. A lingering archaism may be seen in other features too; very plainly, for example, in the arrangement of Apollo's hair (Fig 110). The garments represent a thick woolen stuff, whose folds show very little pliancy. The drapery of Sterope (Fig. 108) should be especially noted, as it is a characteristic example for this period of a type which has a long history She wears the Doric chiton, a sleeveless woolen garment girded and pulled over the girdle and doubled over from the top. The formal, starched-looking folds of the archaic period have disappeared. The cloth lies pretty flat over the chest and waist; there is a rather arbitrary little fold at the neck. Below the girdle the drapery is divided vertically into two parts; on the one side it falls in straight folds to the ankle, on the other it is drawn smooth over the bent knee.
Another interesting fact about these sculptures is a certain tendency toward realism. The figures and faces and attitudes of the Greeks, not to speak of the Centaurs, are not all entirely beautiful and noble. This is illustrated by Fig. 109, a bald- headed man, rather fat. Here is realism of a very mild type, to be sure, in comparison with what we are accustomed to nowadays; but the old men of the Parthenon frieze bear no disfiguring marks of age. Again, in the face of the young Lapith whose arm is being bitten by a Centaur (Fig. 112), there is a marked attempt to express physical pain; the features are more distorted than in any other fifth century sculpture, except representations of Centaurs or other inferior creatures. In the other heads of imperiled men and women in this pediment, e.g., in that of the bride (Fig. 111), the ideal calm of the features is overspread with only a faint shadow of distress.
Lest what has been said should suggest that the sculptors of the Olympia pediment-figures were indifferent to beauty, attention may be drawn again to the superb head of the Lapith bride. Apollo, too (Fig. 110), though not that radiant god whom a later age conceived and bodied forth, has an austere beauty which only a dull eye can fail to appreciate.
The twelve sculptured metopes of the temple do not belong to the exterior frieze, whose metopes were plain, but to a second frieze, placed above the columns and antae of pronaos and opisthodomos. Their subjects are the twelve labors of Heracles, beginning with the slaying of the Nemean lion and ending with the cleansing of the Augean stables. The one selected for illustration is one of the two or three best preserved members of the series (Fig. 113). Its subject is the winning of the golden apples which grew in the garden of the Hesperides, near the spot where Atlas stood, evermore supporting on his shoulders the weight of the heavens. Heracles prevailed upon Atlas to go and fetch the coveted treasure, himself meanwhile assuming the burden. The moment chosen by the sculptor is that of the return of Atlas with the apples. In the middle stands Heracles, with a cushion, folded double, upon his shoulders, the sphere of the heavens being barely suggested at the top of the relief. Behind him is his companion and protectress, Athena, once recognizable by a lance in her right hand. [Footnote: Such at least seems to be the view adopted in the latest official publication on the subject "Olympia; Die Bildwerke in Stein und Thon," Pl. LXV.] With her left hand she seeks to ease a little the hero's heavy load. Before him stands Atlas, holding out the apples in both hands. The main lines of the composition are somewhat monotonous, but this is a consequence of the subject, not of any incapacity of the artist, as the other metopes testify. The figure of Athena should be compared with that of Sterope in the eastern pediment. There is a substantial resemblance in the drapery, even to the arbitrary little fold in the neck; but the garment here is entirely open on the right side, after the fashion followed by Spartan maidens, whereas there it is sewed together from the waist down; there is here no girdle; and the broad, flat expanse of cloth in front observable there is here narrowed by two folds falling from the breasts.
Fig. 114 is added as a last example of the severe beauty to be found in these sculptures. It will be observed that the hair of this head is not worked out in detail, except at the front. This summary treatment of the hair is, in fact, more general in the metopes than in the pediment-figures. The upper eyelid does not yet overlap the under eyelid at the outer corner (cf. Fig. 110).
The two pediment-groups and the metopes of this temple show such close resemblances of style among themselves that they must all be regarded as products of a single school of sculpture, if not as designed by a single man. Pausanias says nothing of the authorship of the metopes; but he tells us that the sculptures of the eastern pediment were the work of Paeonius of Mende, an indisputable statue by whom is known (cf. page 213), and those of the western by Alcamenes, who appears elsewhere in literary tradition as a pupil of Phidias. On various grounds it seems almost certain that Pausanias was misinformed on this point. Thus we are left without trustworthy testimony as to the affiliations of the artist or artists to whom the sculptured decoration of this temple was intrusted.
The so-called Hestia (Vesta) which formerly belonged to the Giustiniani family (Fig. 115), has of late years been inaccessible even to professional students. It must be one of the very best preserved of ancient statues in marble, as it is not reported to have anything modern about it except the index finger of the left hand. This hand originally held a scepter. The statue represents some goddess, it is uncertain what one. In view of the likeness in the drapery to some of the Olympia figures, no one can doubt that this is a product of the same period.
In regard to the bronze statue shown in Fig. 116 there is more room for doubt, but the weight of opinion is in favor of placing it here. It is confidently claimed by a high authority that this is an original Greek bronze. There exist also fragmentary copies of the same in marble and free imitations in marble and in bronze. The statue represents a boy of perhaps twelve, absorbed in pulling a thorn from his foot. We do not know the original purpose of the work; perhaps it commemorated a victory won in a foot-race of boys The left leg of the figure is held in a position which gives a somewhat ungraceful outline; Praxiteles would not have placed it so. But how delightful is the picture of childish innocence and self-forgetfulness! This statue might be regarded as an epitome of the artistic spirit and capacity of the age—its simplicity and purity and freshness of feeling, its not quite complete emancipation from the formalism of an earlier day.
THE GREAT AGE OF GREEK SCULPTURE FIRST PERIOD 450-400 B.C.
The Age of Pericles, which, if we reckon from the first entrance of Pericles, into politics, extended from about 466 to 429, has become proverbial as a period of extraordinary artistic and literary splendor. The real ascendancy of Pericles began in 447, and the achievements most properly associated with his name belong to the succeeding fifteen years. Athens at this time possessed ample material resources, derived in great measure from the tribute of subject allies, and wealth was freely spent upon noble monuments of art. The city was fled with artists of high and low degree. Above them all in genius towered Phidias, and to him, if we may believe the testimony of Plutarch, [Footnote: Life of Pericles Section 13] a general superintendence of all the artistic undertakings of the state was intrusted by Pericles.
Great as was the fame of Phidias in after ages, we are left in almost complete ignorance as to the circumstances of his life. If he was really the author of certain works ascribed to him, he must have been born about 500 B.C. This would make him as old, perhaps, as Myron. Another view would put his birth between 490 and 485, still another, as late as 480. The one undisputed date in his life is the year 438, when the gold and ivory statue of Athena in the Parthenon was completed. Touching the time and circumstances of his death we have two inconsistent traditions. According to the one, he was brought to trial in Athens immediately after the completion of the Athena on the charge of misappropriating some of the ivory with which he had been intrusted but made his escape to Elis, where, after executing the gold and ivory Zeus for the temple of that god at Olympia he was put to death for some unspecified reason by the Eleans in 432-1. According to the other tradition he was accused in Athens, apparently not before 432, of stealing some of the gold destined for the Athena and, when this charge broke down, of having sacrilegiously introduced his own and Pericles's portraits into the relief on Athena's shield, being cast into prison he died there of disease, or, as some said, of poison.
The most famous works of Phidias were the two chryselephantine statues to which reference has just been made, and two or three other statues of the same materials were ascribed to him. He worked also in bronze and in marble. From a reference in Aristotle's "Ethics" it might seem as if he were best known as a sculptor in marble, but only three statues by him are expressly recorded to have been of marble, against a larger number of bronze His subjects were chiefly divinities, we hear of only one or two figures of human beings from his hands.
Of the colossal Zeus at Olympia, the most august creation of Greek artistic imagination, we can form only an indistinct idea. The god was seated upon a throne, holding a figure of Victory upon one hand and a scepter in the other. The figure is represented on three Elean coins of the time of Hadrian (117-138 A.D.) but on too small a scale to help us much. Another coin of the same period gives a fine head of Zeus in profile (Fig. 117),[Footnote: A more truthful representation of this coin may be found in Gardner's "Types of Greek Coins," PI XV 19] which is plausibly supposed to preserve some likeness to the head of Phidias's statue.
In regard to the Athena of the Parthenon we are considerably better off, for we possess a number of marble statues which, with the aid of Pausanias's description and by comparison with one another, can be proved to be copies of that work. But a warning is necessary here. The Athena, like the Zeus, was of colossal size. Its height, with the pedestal, was about thirty-eight feet. Now it is not likely that a really exact copy on a small scale could possibly have been made from such a statue, nor, if one had been made, would it have given the effect of the original. With this warning laid well to heart the reader may venture to examine that one among our copies which makes the greatest attempt at exactitude (Fig. 118). It is a statuette, not quite 3 1/2 feet high with the basis, found in Athens in 1880. The goddess stands with her left leg bent a little and pushed to one side. She is dressed in a heavy Doric chiton, open at the side. The girdle, whose ends take the form of snakes' heads, is worn outside the doubled-over portion of the garment. Above it the folds are carefully adjusted, drawn in symmetrically from both sides toward the middle; in the lower part of the figure there is the common vertical division into two parts, owing to the bending of one leg. Over the chiton is the aegis, much less long behind than in earlier art (cf. Fig. 98), fringed with snakes' heads and having a Gorgon's mask in front. The helmet is an elaborate affair with three crests, the central one supported by a sphinx, the others by winged horses; the hinged cheek-pieces are turned up. At the left of the goddess is her shield, within which coils a serpent. On her extended right hand stands a Victory. The face of Athena is the most disappointing part of it all, but it is just there that the copyist must have failed most completely. Only the eye of faith, or better, the eye trained by much study of allied works, can divine in this poor little figure the majesty which awed the beholder of Phidias's work.
Speculation has been busy in attempting to connect other statues that have been preserved to us with the name of Phidias. The most probable case that has yet been made out concerns two closely similar marble figures in Dresden, one of which is shown in Fig. 119. The head of this statue is missing, but its place has been supplied by a cast of a head in Bologna (Fig. 120), which has been proved to be another copy from the same original. This proof, about which there seems to be no room for question, is due to Professor Furtwangler, [Footnote: "Masterpieces of Greek Sculpture" pages 4 ff.] who argues further that the statue as thus restored is a faithful copy of the Lemnian Athena of Phidias, a bronze work which stood on the Athenian Acropolis. The proof of this depends upon (1) the resemblance in the standing position and in the drapery of this figure to the Athena of the Parthenon, and (2) the fact that Phidias is known to have made a statue of Athena (thought to be the Lemnian Athena) without a helmet on the head— an exceptional, though not wholly unique, representation in sculpture in the round.
If this demonstration be thought insufficient, there cannot, at all events, be much doubt that we have here the copy of an original of about the middle of the fifth century. The style is severely simple, as we ought to expect of a religious work of that period. The virginal face, conceived and wrought with ineffable refinement, is as far removed from sensual charm as from the ecstasy of a Madonna. The goddess does not reveal herself as one who can be "touched with a feeling of our infirmities"; but by the power of her pure, passionless beauty she sways our minds and hearts.
The supreme architectural achievement of the Periclean age was the Parthenon, which crowned the Athenian Acropolis. It appears to have been begun in 447, and was roofed over and perhaps substantially finished by 438. Its sculptures were more extensive than those of any other Greek temple, comprising two pediment- groups, the whole set of metopes of the exterior frieze, ninety- two in number, and a continuous frieze of bas-relief, 522 feet 10 inches in total length, surrounding the cella and its vestibules (cf. Fig. 56). After serving its original purpose for nearly a thousand years, the building was converted into a Christian church and then, in the fifteenth century, into a Mohammedan mosque. In 1687 Athens was besieged by the forces of Venice. The Parthenon was used by the Turks as a powder-magazine, and was consequently made the target for the enemy's shells. The result was an explosion, which converted the building into a ruin. Of the sculptures which escaped from this catastrophe, many small pieces were carried off at the time or subsequently, while other pieces were used as building stone or thrown into the lime-kiln. Most of those which remained down to the beginning of this century were acquired by Lord Elgin, acting under a permission from the Turkish government (1801-3), and in 1816 were bought for the British Museum. The rest are in Athens, either in their original positions on the building, or in the Acropolis Museum.
The best preserved metopes of the Parthenon belong to the south side and represent scenes from the contest between Lapiths and Centaurs (cf. page 174). These metopes differ markedly in style from one another, and must have been not only executed, but designed, by different hands. One or two of them are spiritless and uninteresting. Others, while fine in their way, show little vehemence of action. Fig. 121 gives one of this class. Fig. 122 is very different. In this "the Lapith presses forward, advancing his left hand to seize the rearing Centaur by the throat, and forcing him on his haunches; the right arm of the Lapith is drawn back, as if to strike; his right hand, now wanting, probably held a sword. .... The Centaur, rearing up, against his antagonist, tries in vain to pull away the left hand of the Lapith, which, in Carrey's drawing [made in 1674] he grasps." [Footnote: A. H. Smith, "Catalogue of Sculpture in the British Museum," page 136.] Observe how skilfully the design is adapted to the square field, so as to leave no unpleasant blank spaces, how flowing and free from monotony are the lines of the composition, how effective (in contrast with Fig. 121) is the management of the drapery, and, above all, what vigor is displayed in the attitudes. Fig. 123 is of kindred character. These two metopes and two others, one representing a victorious Centaur prancing in savage glee over the body of his prostrate foe, the other showing a Lapith about to strike a Centaur already wounded in the back, are among the very best works of Greek sculpture preserved to us.
The Parthenon frieze presents an idealized picture of the procession which wound its way upward from the market-place to the Acropolis on the occasion of Athena's chief festival. Fully to illustrate this extensive and varied composition is out of the question here. All that is possible is to give three or four representative pieces and a few comments. Fig. 124 shows the best preserved piece of the entire frieze. It belongs to a company of divinities, seated to right and left of the central group of the east front, and conceived as spectators of the scene. The figure at the left of the illustration is almost certainly Posidon, and the others are perhaps Apollo and Artemis. In Fig. 125 three youths advance with measured step, carrying jars filled with wine, while a fourth youth stoops to lift his jar; at the extreme right may be seen part of a flute-player, whose figure was completed on the next slab. The attitudes and draperies of the three advancing youths, though similar, are subtly varied. So everywhere monotony is absent from the frieze. Fig. 126 is taken from the most animated and crowded part of the design. Here Athenian youths, in a great variety of dress and undress, dash forward on small, mettlesome horses. Owing to the principle of isocephaly (cf. page 145), the mounted men are of smaller dimensions than those on foot, but the difference does not offend the eye. In Fig. 127 we have, on a somewhat larger scale, the heads of four chariot-horses instinct with fiery life. Fig. 132 may also be consulted. An endless variety in attitude and spirit, from the calm of the ever- blessed gods to the most impetuous movement; grace and harmony of line; an almost faultless execution—such are some of the qualities which make the Parthenon frieze the source of inexhaustible delight.
The composition of the group in the western pediment is fairly well known, thanks to a French artist, Jacques Carrey, who made a drawing of it in 1674, when it was still in tolerable preservation. The subject was, in the words of Pausanias, "the strife of Posidon with Athena for the land" of Attica. In the eastern pediment the subject was the birth of Athena. The central figures, eleven in number, had disappeared long before Carrey's time, having probably been removed when the temple was converted into a church. On the other hand, the figures near the angles have been better preserved than any of those from the western pediment, with one exception. The names of these eastern figures have been the subject of endless guess-work. All that is really certain is that at the southern corner Helios (the Sun-god) was emerging from the sea in a chariot drawn by four horses, and at the northern corner Selene (the Moon-goddess) or perhaps Nyx (Night) was descending in a similar chariot. Fig. 128 is the figure that was placed next to the horses of Helios. The young god or hero reclines in an easy attitude on a rock; under him are spread his mantle and the skin of a panther or some such animal. In Fig. 129 we have, beginning on the right, the head of one of Selene's horses and the torso of the goddess herself, then a group of three closely connected female figures, known as the "Three Fates," seated or reclining on uneven, rocky ground, and last the body and thighs of a winged goddess, Victory or Iris, perhaps belonging in the western pediment. Fig. 130, from the northern corner of the western pediment, is commonly taken for a river-god.
We possess but the broken remnants of these two pediment-groups, and the key to the interpretation of much that we do possess is lost. We cannot then fully appreciate the intention of the great artist who conceived these works. Yet even in their ruin and their isolation the pediment-figures of the Parthenon are the sublimest creations of Greek art that have escaped annihilation.
We have no ancient testimony as to the authorship of the Parthenon sculptures, beyond the statement of Plutarch, quoted above, that Phidias was the general superintendent of all artistic works undertaken during Pericles's administration. If this statement be true, it still leaves open a wide range of conjecture as to the nature and extent of his responsibility in this particular case. Appealing to the sculptures themselves for information, we find among the metopes such differences of style as exclude the notion of single authorship. With the frieze and the pediment-groups, however, the case is different. Each of these three compositions must, of course, have been designed by one master-artist and executed by or with the help of subordinate artists or workmen. Now the pediment-groups, so far as preserved, strongly suggest a single presiding genius for both, and there is no difficulty in ascribing the design of the frieze to the same artist. Was it Phidias? The question has been much agitated of late years, but the evidence at our disposal does not admit of a decisive answer. The great argument for Phidias lies in the incomparable merit of these works; and with the probability that his genius is here in some degree revealed to us we must needs be content. After all, it is of much less consequence to be assured of the master's name than to know and enjoy the masterpieces themselves.
The great statesman under whose administration these immortal sculptures were produced was commemorated by a portrait statue or head, set up during his lifetime on the Athenian Acropolis; it was from the hand of Cresilas, of Cydonia in Crete. It is perhaps this portrait of which copies have come down to us. The best of these is given in Fig 131. The features are, we may believe, the authentic features of Pericles, somewhat idealized, according to the custom of portraiture in this age. The helmet characterizes the wearer as general.
The artistic activity in Athens did not cease with the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War in 431. The city was full of sculptors, many of whom had come directly under the influence of Phidias, and they were not left idle. The demand from private individuals for votive sculptures and funeral reliefs must indeed have been abated, but was not extinguished; and in the intervals of the protracted war the state undertook important enterprises with an undaunted spirit. It is to this period that the Erechtheum probably belongs (420?-408), though all that we certainly know is that the building was nearly finished some time before 409 and that the work was resumed in that year. The temple had a sculptured frieze of which fragments are extant, but these are far surpassed in interest by the Caryatides of the southern porch (Fig. 67). The name Caryatides, by the way, meets us first in the pages of Vitruvius, a Roman architect of the time of Augustus; a contemporary Athenian inscription, to which we are indebted for many details concerning the building, calls them simply "maidens." As you face the front of the porch, the three maidens on your right support themselves chiefly on the left leg, the three on your left on the right leg (Fig. 132), so that the leg in action is the one nearer to the end of the porch. The arms hung straight at the sides, one of them grasping a corner of the small mantle. The pose and drapery show what Attic sculpture had made of the old Peloponnesian type of standing female figure in the Doric chiton (cf. page 177). The fall of the garment preserves the same general features, but the stuff has become much more pliable. It is interesting to note that, in spite of a close general similarity, no two maidens are exactly alike, as they would have been if they had been reproduced mechanically from a finished model. These subtle variations are among the secrets of the beauty of this porch, as they are of the Parthenon frieze. One may be permitted to object altogether to the use of human figures as architectural supports, but if the thing was to be done at all, it could not have been better done. The weight that the maidens bear is comparatively small, and their figures are as strong as they are graceful.
To the period of the Peloponnesian War may also be assigned a sculptured balustrade which inclosed and protected the precinct of the little Temple of Wingless Victory on the Acropolis (Fig. 70). One slab of this balustrade is shown in Fig. 133. It represents a winged Victory stooping to tie (or, as some will have it, to untie) her sandal. The soft Ionic chiton, clinging to the form, reminds one of the drapery of the reclining goddess from the eastern pediment of the Parthenon (Fig. 129), but it finds its closest analogy, among datable sculptures, in a fragment of relief recently found at Rhamnus in Attica. This belonged to the pedestal of a statue by Agoracritus, one of the most famous pupils of Phidias.
The Attic grave-relief given in Fig. 134 seems to belong somewhere near the end of the fifth century. The subject is a common one on this class of monuments, but is nowhere else so exquisitely treated. There is no allusion to the fact of death. Hegeso, the deceased lady, is seated and is holding up a necklace or some such object (originally, it may be supposed, indicated by color), which she has just taken from the jewel-box held out by the standing slave-woman. Another fine grave-relief (Fig. 135) may be introduced here, though it perhaps belongs to the beginning of the fourth century rather than to the end of the fifth. It must commemorate some young Athenian cavalryman. It is characteristic that the relief ignores his death and represents him in a moment of victory. Observe that on both these monuments there is no attempt at realistic portraiture and that on both we may trace the influence of the style of the Parthenon frieze.
Among the other bas-reliefs which show that influence there is no difficulty in choosing one of exceptional beauty, the so-called Orpheus relief (Fig. 136). This is known to us in three copies, unless indeed the Naples example be the original. The story here set forth is one of the most touching in Greek mythology. Orpheus, the Thracian singer, has descended into Hades in quest of his dead wife, Eurydice, and has so charmed by his music the stern Persephone that she has suffered him to lead back his wife to the upper air, provided only he will not look upon her on the way. But love has overcome him. He has turned and looked, and the doom of an irrevocable parting is sealed. In no unseemly paroxysm of grief, but tenderly, sadly, they look their last at one another, while Hermes, guide of departed spirits, makes gentle signal for the wife's return. In the chastened pathos of this scene we have the quintessence of the temper of Greek art in dealing with the fact of death.
Turning now from Athens to Argos, which, though politically weak, was artistically the rival of Athens in importance, we find Polyclitus the dominant master there, as Phidias was in the other city. Polyclitus survived Phidias and may have been the younger of the two. The only certain thing is that he was in the plenitude of his powers as late as 420, for his gold and ivory statue of Hera was made for a temple built to replace an earlier temple destroyed by fire in 423. His principal material was bronze. As regards subjects, his great specialty was the representation of youthful athletes. His reputation in his own day and afterwards was of the highest; there were those who ranked him above Phidias. Thus Xenophon represents [Footnote: Memorabilia I., 4, 3 (written about 390 B. C).] an Athenian as assigning to Polyclitus a preeminence in sculpture like that of Homer in epic poetry and that of Sophocles in tragedy; and Strabo[Footnote: VIII., page 372 (written about 18 A. D.).] pronounced his gold and ivory statues in the Temple of Hera near Argos the finest in artistic merit among all such works, though inferior to those of Phidias in size and costliness. But probably the more usual verdict was that reported by Quintilian, [Footnote: De Institutione Oratoria XII, 10, 7 (written about 90 A. D.).] which, applauding as unrivaled his rendering of the human form, found his divinities lacking in majesty.
In view of the exalted rank assigned to Polyclitus by Greek and Roman judgment, his identifiable works are a little disappointing. His Doryphorus, a bronze figure of a young athlete holding a spear such as was used in the pentathlon (cf. page 168), exists in numerous copies. The Naples copy (Fig. 137), found in Pompeii in 1797, is the best preserved, being substantially antique throughout, but is of indifferent workmanship. The young man, of massive build, stands supporting his weight on the right leg; the left is bent backward from the knee, the foot touching the ground only in front. Thus the body is a good deal curved. This attitude is an advance upon any standing motive attained in the "Transitional period" (cf. page 165). It was much used by Polyclitus, and is one of the marks by which statues of his may be recognized. The head of the Doryphorus, as seen from the side, is more nearly rectangular than the usual Attic heads of the period, e.g., in the Parthenon frieze. For the characteristic face our best guide is a bronze copy of the head from Herculaneum (Fig. 138), to which our illustration does less than justice.
A strong likeness to the Doryphorus exists in a whole series of youthful athletes, which are therefore with probability traced to Polyclitus as their author or inspirer. Such is a statue of a boy in Dresden, of which the head is shown in Fig. 139. One of these obviously allied works can be identified with a statue by Polyclitus known to us from our literary sources. It is the so- called Diadumenos, a youth binding the fillet of victory about his head. This exists in several copies, the best of which has been recently found on the island of Delos and is not yet published.
An interesting statue of a different order, very often attributed to Polyclitus, may with less of confidence be accepted as his. Our illustration (Fig. 140) is taken from the Berlin copy of this statue, in which the arms, pillar, nose, and feet are modern, but are guaranteed by other existing copies. It is the figure of an Amazon, who has been wounded in the right breast. She leans upon a support at her left side and raises her right hand to her head in an attitude perhaps intended to suggest exhaustion, yet hardly suitable to the position of the wound. The attitude of the figure, especially the legs, is very like that of the Doryphorus, and the face is thought by many to show a family likeness to his. There are three other types of Amazon which seem to be connected with this one, but the mutual relations of the four types are too perplexing to be here discussed.
It is a welcome change to turn from copies to originals. The American School of Classical Studies at Athens has carried on excavations (1890-95) on the site of the famous sanctuary of Hera near Argos, and has uncovered the foundations both of the earlier temple, burned in 423, and of the later temple, in which stood the gold and ivory image by Polyclitus, as well as of adjacent buildings. Besides many other objects of interest, there have been brought to light several fragments of the metopes of the second temple, which, together with a few fragments from the same source found earlier, form a precious collection of materials for the study of the Argive school of sculpture of about 420. Still more interesting, at least to such as are not specialists, is a head which was found on the same site (Fig. 141), and which, to judge by its style, must date from the same period. It is a good illustration of the uncertainty which besets the attempt to classify extant Greek sculptures into local schools that this head has been claimed with equal confidence as Argive [Footnote: So by Professor Charles Waldstein, who directed the excavations.] and as Attic in style. In truth, Argive and Attic art had so acted and reacted upon one another that it is small wonder if their productions are in some cases indistinguishable by us.
The last remark applies also to the bronze statue shown in Fig. 142, which is believed by high authorities to be an original Greek work and which has been claimed both for Athens and for Argos. The standing position, while not identical with that of the Doryphorus, the Diadumenos, and the wounded Amazon, is strikingly similar, as is also the form of the head. At all events, the statue is a fine example of apparently unstudied ease, of that consummate art which conceals itself.
The only sculptor of the fifth century who is at once known to us from literary tradition and represented by an authenticated and original work is Paeonius of Mende in Thrace. He was an artist of secondary rank, if we may judge from the fact that his name occurs only in Pausanias; but in the brilliant period of Greek history even secondary artists were capable of work which less fortunate ages could not rival. Pausanias mentions a Victory by Paeonius at Olympia, a votive offering of the Messenians for successes gained in war. Portions of the pedestal of this statue with the dedicatory inscription and the artist's signature were found on December 20, 1875, at the beginning of the German excavations, and the mutilated statue itself on the following day (Fig. 143). A restoration of the figure by a German sculptor (Fig. 144) may be trusted for nearly everything but the face. The goddess is represented in descending flight. Poised upon a triangular pedestal about thirty feet high, she seems all but independent of support. Her draperies, blown by the wind, form a background for her figure. An eagle at her feet suggests the element through which she moves. Never was a more audacious design executed in marble. Yet it does not impress us chiefly as a tour de force. The beholder forgets the triumph over material difficulties in the sense of buoyancy, speed, and grace which the figure inspires. Pausanias records that the Messenians of his day believed the statue to commemorate an event which happened in 425, while he himself preferred to connect it with an event of 453. The inscription on the pedestal is indecisive on this point. It runs in these terms: "The Messenians and Naupactians dedicated [this statue] to the Olympian Zeus, as a tithe [of the spoils] from their enemies. Paeonius of Mende made it; and he was victorious [over his competitors] in making the acroteria for the temple." The later of the two dates mentioned by Pausanias has been generally accepted, though not without recent protest. This would give about the year 423 for the completion and erection of this statue.
THE GREAT AGE OF GREEK SCULPTURE. SECOND PERIOD: 400-323 B. C.
In the fourth century art became even more cosmopolitan than before. The distinctions between local schools were nearly effaced and the question of an artist's birthplace or residence ceases to have much importance Athens, however, maintained her artistic preeminence through the first half or more of the century. Several of the most eminent sculptors of the period were certainly or probably Athenians, and others appear to have made Athens their home for a longer or shorter time. It is therefore common to speak of a "younger Attic school," whose members would include most of the notable sculptors of this period. What the tendencies of the times were will best be seen by studying the most eminent representatives of this group or school.
The first great name to meet us is that of Scopas of Paros. His artistic career seems to have begun early in the fourth century, for he was the architect of a temple of Athena at Tegea in Arcadia which was built to replace one destroyed by fire in 395-4. He as active as late as the middle of the century, being one of four sculptors engaged on the reliefs of the Mausoleum or funeral monument of Maussollus, satrap of Caria, who died in 351-0, or perhaps two years earlier. That is about all we know of his life, for it is hardly more than a conjecture that he took up his abode in Athens for a term of years. The works of his hands were widely distributed in Greece proper and on the coast of Asia Minor.
Until lately nothing very definite was known of the style of Scopas. While numerous statues by him, all representing divinities or other imaginary beings, are mentioned in our literary sources, only one of these is described in such a way as to give any notion of its artistic character. This was a Maenad, or female attendant of the god Bacchus, who was represented in a frenzy of religious excitement. The theme suggests a strong tendency on the part of Scopas toward emotional expression, but this inference does not carry us very far. The study of Scopas has entered upon a new stage since some fragments of sculpture belonging to the Temple of Athena at Tegea have become known. The presumption is that, as Scopas was the architect of the building, he also designed, if he did not execute, the pediment-sculptures. If this be true, then we have at last authentic, though scanty, evidence of his style. The fragments thus far discovered consist of little more than two human heads and a boar's head. One of the human heads is here reproduced (Fig. 145). Sadly mutilated as it is, is has become possible by its help and that of its fellow to recognize with great probability the authorship of Scopas in a whole group of allied works. Not to dwell on anatomical details, which need casts for their proper illustration, the obvious characteristic mark of Scopadean heads is a tragic intensity of expression unknown to earlier Greek art. It is this which makes the Tegea heads so impressive in spite of the "rude wasting of old Time."
The magnificent head of Meleager in the garden of the Villa Medici in Rome (Fig. 146) shows this same quality. A fiery eagerness of temper animates the marble, and a certain pathos, as if born of a consciousness of approaching doom. So masterly is the workmanship here, so utterly removed from the mechanical, uninspired manner of Roman copyists, that this head has been claimed as an original from the hand of Scopas, and so it may well be. Something of the same character belongs to a head of a goddess in Athens, shown in Fig. 147.
Fig. 148 introduces us to another tendency of fourth century art. The group represents Eirene and Plutus (Peace and Plenty). It is in all probability a copy of a bronze work by Cephisodotus, which stood in Athens and was set up, it is conjectured, soon after 375, the year in which the worship of Eirene was officially established in Athens. The head of the child is antique, but does not belong to the figure; copies of the child with the true head exist in Athens and Dresden. The principal modern parts are: the right arm of the goddess (which should hold a scepter), her left hand with the vase, and both arms of the child; in place of the vase there should be a small horn of plenty, resting on the child's left arm. The sentiment of this group is such as we have not met before. The tenderness expressed by Eirene's posture is as characteristic of the new era as the intensity of look in the head from Tegea.
Cephisodotus was probably a near relative of a much greater sculptor, Praxiteles, perhaps his father. Praxiteles is better known to us than any other Greek artist. For we have, to begin with, one authenticated original statue from his hand, besides three fourths of a bas-relief probably executed under his direction. In the second place, we can gather from our literary sources a catalogue of toward fifty of his works, a larger list than can be made out for any other sculptor. Moreover, of several pieces we get really enlightening descriptions, and there are in addition one or two valuable general comments on his style. Finally two of his statues that are mentioned in literature can be identified with sufficient certainty in copies. The basis of judgment is thus wide enough to warrant us in bringing numerous other works into relation with him.
About his life, however, we know, as in other cases, next to nothing. He was an Athenian and must have been somewhere near the age of Scopas, though seemingly rather younger. Pliny gives the hundred and fourth Olympiad (370-66) as the date at which he flourished, but this was probably about the beginning of his artistic career. Only one anecdote is told of him which is worth repeating here. When asked what ones among his marble statues he rated highest he answered that those which Nicias had tinted were the best. Nicias was an eminent painter of the period (see page 282, foot note).
The place of honor in any treatment of Praxiteles must be given to the Hermes with the infant Dionysus on his arm (Figs. 149, 150). This statue was found on May 8, 1877, in the Temple of Hera at Olympia, lying in front of its pedestal. Here it had stood when Pausanias saw it and recorded that it was the work of Praxiteles. The legs of Hermes below the knees have been restored in plaster (only the right foot being antique), and so have the arms of Dionysus. Except for the loss of the right arm and the lower legs, the figure of Hermes is in admirable preservation, the surface being uninjured. Some notion of the luminosity of the Parian marble may be gained from Fig. 150.
Hermes is taking the new-born Dionysus to the Nymphs to be reared by them. Pausing on his way, he has thrown his mantle over a convenient tree-trunk and leans upon it with the arm that holds the child. In his closed left hand he doubtless carried his herald's wand; the lost right hand must have held up some object— bunch of grapes or what-not—for the entertainment of the little god. The latter is not truthfully proportioned; in common with almost all sculptors before the time of Alexander, Praxiteles seems to have paid very little attention to the characteristic forms of infancy. But the Hermes is of unapproachable perfection. His symmetrical figure, which looks slender in comparison with the Doryphorus of Polyclitus, is athletic without exaggeration, and is modeled with faultless skill. The attitude, with the weight supported chiefly by the right leg and left arm, gives to the body a graceful curve which Praxiteles loved. It is the last stage in the long development of an easy standing pose. The head is of the round Attic form, contrasting with the squarer Peloponnesian type; the face a fine oval. The lower part of the forehead between the temples is prominent; the nose not quite straight, but slightly arched at the middle. The whole expression is one of indescribable refinement and radiance. The hair, short and curly, illustrates the possibilities of marble in the treatment of that feature; in place of the wiry appearance of hair in bronze we find here a slight roughness of surface, suggestive of the soft texture of actual hair (cf. Fig. 146 and contrast Fig. 138). The drapery that falls over the tree-trunk is treated with a degree of elaboration and richness which does not occur in fifth century work; but beautiful as it is, it is kept subordinate and does not unduly attract our attention.
For us the Hermes stands alone and without a rival. The statue, however, did not in antiquity enjoy any extraordinary celebrity, and is in fact not even mentioned in extant literature except by Pausanias. The most famous work of Praxiteles was the Aphrodite of Cnidus in southwestern Asia Minor. This was a temple-statue; yet the sculptor, departing from the practice of earlier times, did not scruple to represent the goddess as nude. With the help of certain imperial coins of Cnidus this Aphrodite has been identified in a great number of copies. She is in the act of dropping her garment from her left hand in preparation for a bath; she supports herself chiefly by the right leg, and the body has a curve approaching that of the Hermes, though here no part of the weight is thrown upon the arm. The subject is treated with consummate delicacy, far removed from the sensuality too usual in a later age; and yet, when this embodiment of Aphrodite is compared with fifth century ideals, it must be recognized as illustrating a growing fondness on the part of sculptor and public for the representation of physical charm. Not being able to offer a satisfactory illustration of the whole statue, I have chosen for reproduction a copy of the head alone (Fig. 151). It will help the reader to divine the simple loveliness of the original.
Pliny mentions among the works in bronze by Praxiteies a youthful Apollo, called "Sauroctonos" (Lizard-slayer). Fig. 152 is a marble copy of this, considerably restored. The god, conceived in the likeness of a beautiful boy, leans against a tree, preparing to stab a lizard with an arrow, which should be in the right hand. The graceful, leaning pose and the soft beauty of the youthful face and flesh are characteristically Praxitelean.
Two or three satyrs by Praxiteles are mentioned by Greek and Roman writers, and an anecdote is told by Pausanias which implies that one of them enjoyed an exceptional fame. Unfortunately they are not described; but among the many satyrs to be found in museums of ancient sculpture there are two types in which the style of Praxiteles, as we have now learned to know it, is so strongly marked that we can hardly go wrong in ascribing them both to him. Both exist in numerous copies. Our illustration of the first (Fig. 153) is taken from the copy of which Hawthorne wrote so subtle a description in "The Marble Faun." The statue is somewhat restored, but the restoration is not open to doubt, except as regards the single pipe held in the right hand. No animal characteristic is to be found here save the pointed ears; the face, however, retains a suggestion of the traditional satyr-type. "The whole statue, unlike anything else that ever was wrought in that severe material of marble, conveys the idea of an amiable and sensual creature— easy, mirthful, apt for jollity, yet not incapable of being touched by pathos." [Footnote: Hawthorne, "The Marble Faun," Vol I, Chapter I.]
In the Palermo copy of the other Praxitelean satyr (Fig. 154) the right arm is modern, but the restoration is substantially correct. The face of this statue has purely Greek features, and only the pointed ears remain to betray the mixture of animal nature with the human form. The original was probably of bronze.
With Fig. 155 we revert from copies to an original work. This is one of three slabs which probably decorated the pedestal of a group by Praxiteles representing Apollo, Leto, and Artemis; a fourth slab, needed to complete the series, has not been found The presumption is strong that these reliefs were executed under the direction of Praxiteles, perhaps from his design. The subject of one slab is the musical contest between Apollo and Marsyas, while the other two bear figures of Muses. The latter are posed and draped with that delightful grace of which Praxiteles was master, and with which he seems to have inspired his pupils The execution, however, is not quite faultless, as witness the distortion in the right lower leg of the seated Muse in Fig. l55—otherwise an exquisite figure.
Among the many other works that have been claimed for Praxiteles on grounds of style, I venture to single out one (Fig. 156). The illustration is taken from one of several copies of a lost original, which, if it was not by Praxiteles himself, was by some one who had marvelously caught his spirit. That it represents the goddess Artemis we may probably infer from the short chiton, an appropriate garment often worn by the divine huntress, but not by human maidens. Otherwise the goddess has no conventional attribute to mark her divinity. She is just a beautiful girl, engaged in fastening her mantle together with a brooch. In this way of conceiving a goddess, we see the same spirit that created the Apollo Sauroctonos.
The genius of Praxiteles, as thus far revealed to us, was preeminently sunny, drawn toward what is fair and graceful and untroubled, and ignoring what is tragic in human existence. This view of him is confirmed by what is known from literature of his subjects. The list includes five figures of Aphrodite, three or four of Eros, two of Apollo, two of Artemis, two of Dionysus, two or three of satyrs, two of the courtesan Phryne, and one of a beautiful human youth binding a fillet about his hair, but no work whose theme is suffering or death is definitely ascribed to him. It is strange therefore to find Pliny saying that it was a matter of doubt in his time whether a group of the dying children of Niobe which stood in a temple of Apollo in Rome was by Scopas or Praxiteles. It is commonly supposed, though without decisive proof, that certain statues of Niobe and her children which exist in Florence and elsewhere are copied from the group of which Pliny speaks. The story was that Niobe vaunted herself before Leto because she had seven sons and seven daughters, while Leto had borne only Apollo and Artemis. For her presumption all her children were stricken down by the arrows of Apollo and Artemis. This punishment is the subject of the group. Fig. 157 gives the central figures; they are Niobe herself and her youngest daughter, who has fled to her for protection. The Niobe has long been famous as an embodiment of haughtiness, maternal love, and sharp distress. But much finer in composition, to my thinking, is Fig. 158. In this son of Niobe the end of the right arm and the entire left arm are modern. Originally this youth was grouped with a sister who has been wounded unto death. She has sunk upon the ground and her right arm hangs limply over his left knee, thus preventing his garment from falling. His left arm clasps her and he seeks ineffectually to protect her. That this is the true restoration is known from a copy in the Vatican of the wounded girl with a part of the brother. Except for this son of Niobe the Florentine figures are not worthy of their old-time reputation. As for their authorship, Praxiteles seems out of the question. The subject is in keeping—with the genius of Scopas, but it is safer not to associate the group with any individual name.
This reserve is the more advisable because Scopas and Praxiteles are but two stars, by far the brightest, to be sure, in a brilliant constellation of contemporary artists. For the others it is impossible to do much more here than to mention the most important names: Leochares and Timotheus, whose civic ties are unknown, Bryaxis and Silanion of Athens, and Euphranor of Corinth, the last equally famous as painter and sculptor. These artists seem to be emerging a little from the darkness that has enveloped them, and it may be hoped that discoveries of new material and further study of already existing material will reveal them to us with some degree of clearness and certainty. A good illustration of how new acquisitions may help us is afforded by a group of fragmentary sculptures found in the sanctuary of Asclepius near Epidauros in the years 1882-84 and belonging to the pediments of the principal temple. An inscription was found on the same site which records the expenses incurred in building this temple, and one item in it makes it probable that Timotheus, the sculptor above mentioned, furnished the models after which the pediment- sculptures were executed. The largest and finest fragment of these sculptures that has been found is given in Fig. 159. It belongs to the western pediment, which seems to have contained a battle of Greeks and Amazons. The Amazon of our illustration, mounted upon a rearing horse, is about to bring down her lance upon a fallen foe. The action is rendered with splendid vigor. The date of this temple and its sculptures may be put somewhere about 375.
Reference was made above (page 215) to the Mausoleum. The artists engaged on the sculptures which adorned that magnificent monument were, according to Pliny, Scopas, Leochares, Bryaxis, and Timotheus. [Footnote: The tradition on this point was not quite uniform Vitruvius names Praxiteles as the fourth artist, but adds that some believed that Timotheus also was engaged] There seem to have been at least three sculptured friezes, but of only one have considerable remains been preserved (cf. Fig. 65). This has for its subject a battle of Greeks and Amazons, a theme which Greek sculptors and painters never wearied of reproducing. The preserved portions of this frieze amount in all to about eighty feet, but the slabs are not consecutive. Figs. 160 and 161 give two of the best pieces. The design falls into groups of two or three combatants, and these groups are varied with inexhaustible fertility and liveliness of imagination. Among the points which distinguish this from a work of the fifth century may be noted the slenderer forms of men and women and the more expressive faces. The existing slabs, moreover, differ among themselves in style and merit, and an earnest attempt has been made to distribute them among the four artists named by Pliny, but without conclusive results.
Since the Hermes of Praxiteles was brought to light at Olympia there has been no discovery of Greek sculpture so dazzling in its splendor as that made in 1887 on the site of the necropolis of Sidon in Phenicia. There, in a group of communicating subterranean chambers, were found, along with an Egyptian sarcophagus, sixteen others of Greek workmanship, four of them adorned with reliefs of extraordinary beauty. They are all now in the recently created Museum of Constantinople, which has thus become one of the places of foremost consequence to every student and lover of Greek art. The sixteen sarcophagi are of various dates, from early in the fifth to late in the fourth century. The one shown in Fig. 162 may be assigned to about the middle of the fourth century. Its form is adapted from that of an Ionic temple. Between the columns are standing or seated women, their faces and attitudes expressing varying degrees of grief. Our illustration is on too small a scale to convey any but the dimmest impression of the dignity and beauty of this company of mourners. Above, on a sort of balustrade, may be been a funeral procession.
The old Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (cf page 140) was set on fire and reduced to ruins by an incendiary in 356 B.C., on the very night, it is said, in which Alexander the Great was born. The Ephesians rebuilt the temple on a much more magnificent scale, making of it the most extensive and sumptuous columnar edifice ever erected by a Greek architect. How promptly the work was begun we do not know, but it lasted into the reign of Alexander, so that its date may be given approximately as 350-30. Through the indefatigable perseverance of Mr J. T. Wood, who conducted excavations at Ephesus for the British Museum in 1863-74, the site of this temple, long unknown, was at last discovered and its remains unearthed. Following the example of the sixth century temple, it had the lowest drums of a number of its columns covered with relief sculpture. Of the half dozen recovered specimens Fig. 163 shows the finest. The subject is an unsolved riddle. The most prominent figure in the illustration is the god Hermes, as the herald's staff in his right hand shows. The female figures to right and left of him are good examples of that grace in pose and drapery which was characteristic of Greek sculpture in the age of Scopas and Praxiteles.
The most beautiful Greek portrait statue that we possess is the Lateran Sophocles (Fig 164). The figure has numerous small restorations, including the feet and the box of manuscript rolls. That Sophocles, the tragic poet, is represented, is known from the likeness of the head to a bust inscribed with his name. He died in 406 B.C. The style of our statue, however, points to an original (if it be not itself the original) of about the middle of the fourth century. There were probably in existence at this time authentic likenesses of the poet, on which the sculptor based his work. The attitude of the figure is the perfection of apparent ease, but in reality of skilful contrivance to secure a due balance of parts and anety and grace of line. The one garment, drawn closely about the person, illustrates the inestimable good fortune enjoyed by the Greek sculptor, in contrast with the sculptor of to-day, in having to represent a costume so simple, so pliant, so capable of graceful adjustment. The head, however much it may contain of the actual look of Sophocles, must be idealized. To appreciate it properly one must remember that this poet, though he dealt with tragic themes, was not wont to brood over the sin and sorrow and unfathomable mystery of the world, but was serene in his temper and prosperous in his life.
The colossal head of Zeus shown in Fig. 165 was found a hundred years or more ago at Otricoli, a small village to the north of Rome. The antique part is a mere mask; the back of the head and the bust are modern. The material is Carrara marble, a fact which alone would prove that the work was executed in Italy and in the imperial period. At first this used to be regarded as copied from the Olympian Zeus of Phidias (page 185), but in the light of increased acquaintance with the style of Phidias and his age, this attribution has long been seen to be impossible. The original belongs about at the end of the period now under review, or possibly still later. Although only a copy, the Otricoli Zeus is the finest representation we have of the father of gods and men. The predominant expression is one of gentleness and benevolence, but the lofty brow, transversely furrowed, tells of thought and will, and the leonine hair of strength.
With Lysippus of Sicyon we reach the last name of first-rate importance in the history of Greek sculpture. There is the usual uncertainty about the dates of his life, but it is certain that he was in his prime during the reign of Alexander (336-23). Thus he belongs essentially to the generation succeeding that of Scopas and Praxiteles. He appears to have worked exclusively in bronze; at least we hear of no work in marble from his hands. He must have had a long life. Pliny credits him with fifteen hundred statues, but this is scarcely credible. His subjects suggest that his genius was of a very different bent from that of Praxiteles. No statue of Aphrodite or indeed of any goddess (except the Muses) is ascribed to him; on the other hand, he made at least four statues of Zeus, one of them nearly sixty feet high, and at least four figures of Heracles, of which one was colossal, while one was less than a foot high, besides groups representing the labors of Heracles. In short, the list of his statues of superhuman beings, though it does include an Eros and a Dionysus, looks as if he had no especial predilection for the soft loveliness of youth, but rather for mature and vigorous forms. He was famous as a portrait- sculptor and made numerous statues of Alexander, from whom he received conspicuous recognition. Naturally, too, he accepted commissions for athlete statues; five such are mentioned by Pausanias as existing at Olympia. An allegorical figure by him of Cairos (Opportunity) receives lavish praise from a late rhetorician. Finally, he is credited with a statue of a tipsy female flute-player. This deserves especial notice as the first well-assured example of a work of Greek sculpture ignoble in its subject and obviously unfit for any of the purposes for which sculpture had chiefly existed (cf. page 124).
It is Pliny who puts us in the way of a more direct acquaintance with this artist than the above facts can give. He makes the general statement that Lysippus departed from the canon of proportions previously followed (i.e., probably, by Polyclitus and his immediate followers), making the head smaller and the body slenderer and "dryer," and he mentions a statue by him in Rome called an Apoxyomenos, i.e., an athlete scraping himself with a strigil. A copy of such a statue was found in Rome in 1849 (Fig. 166). The fingers of the right hand with the inappropriate die are modern, as are also some additional bits here and there. Now the coincidence in subject between this statue and that mentioned by Pliny would not alone be decisive. Polyclitus also made an Apoxyomenos, and, for all we know, other sculptors may have used the same motive. But the statue in question is certainly later than Polyclitus, and its agreement with what Pliny tells us of the proportions adopted by Lysippus is as close as could be desired (contrast Fig. 137). We therefore need not scruple to accept it as Lysippian.
Our young athlete, before beginning his exercise, had rubbed his body with oil and, if he was to wrestle, had sprinkled himself with sand. Now, his exercise over, he is removing oil and sweat and dirt with the instrument regularly used for that purpose. His slender figure suggests elasticity and agility rather than brute strength. The face (Fig. 167) has not the radiant charm which Praxiteles would have given it, but it is both fine and alert. The eyes are deeply set; the division of the upper from the lower forehead is marked by a groove; the hair lies in expressive disorder. In the bronze original the tree-trunk behind the left leg was doubtless absent, as also the disagreeable support (now broken) which extended from the right leg to the right fore-arm.
The best authenticated likeness of Alexander the Great is a bust in the Louvre (Fig. 168) inscribed with his name: "Alexander of Macedon, son of Philip." The surface has been badly corroded and the nose is restored. The work, which is only a copy, may go back to an original by Lysippus, though the evidence for that belief, a certain resemblance to the head of the Apoxyomenos, is hardly as convincing as one could desire. The king is here represented, one would guess, at the age of thirty or thereabouts. Now as he was absent from Europe from the age of twenty-two until his death at Babylon at the age of thirty-three (323 B.C.), it would seem likely that Lysippus, or whoever the sculptor was, based his portrait upon likenesses taken some years earlier. Consequently, although portraiture in the age of Alexander had become prevailingly realistic, it would be unsafe to regard this head as a conspicuous example of the new tendency. The artist probably aimed to present a recognizable likeness and at the same time to give a worthy expression to the great conqueror's qualities of character. If the latter object does not seem to have been attained, one is free to lay the blame upon the copyist and time.
THE HELLENISTIC PERIOD OF GREEK SCULPTURE. 323-146 B.C.
The reign of Alexander began a new era in Greek history, an era in which the great fact was the dissemination of Greek culture over wide regions to which it had been alien. This period, in which Egypt and western Asia were ruled by men of Greek or Macedonian blood and gradually took on more or less of Greek civilization, is often called the Hellenistic period.
Under the new political and social order new artistic conditions were developed. For one thing, Athens and the other old centers of artistic activity lost their pre-eminence, while new centers were created in the East, The only places which our literary sources mention as seats of important schools of sculpture in the two centuries following the death of Alexander are Rhodes and Pergamum.
Then again a demand now grew up for works of sculpture to be used as mere ornaments in the interiors of palaces and private houses, as well as in public buildings and places. This of course threw open the door for subjects which had been excluded when sculpture was dominated by a sacred purpose. Sculptors were now free to appeal to the lower tastes of their patrons. The practice of "art for art's sake" had its day, and trivial, comical, ugly, harrowing, or sensual themes were treated with all the resources of technical skill. In short, the position and purposes of the art of sculpture became very like what they are to-day. Hence the untrained modern student feels much more at home in a collection of Hellenistic sculpture than in the presence of the severer, sublimer creations of the age of Phidias.
It is by no means meant to pass a sweeping condemnation upon the productions of the post-classical period. Realistic portraiture was now practiced with great frequency and high success. Many of the genre statues and decorative reliefs of the time are admirable and delightful. Moreover, the old uses of sculpture were not abandoned, and though the tendency toward sensationalism was strong, a dignified and exalted work was sometimes achieved. But, broadly speaking, we must admit the loss of that "noble simplicity and quiet grandeur"—the phrase is Winckelmann's—which stamped the creations of the age of Phidias. Greek sculpture gained immensely in variety, but at the expense of its elevation of spirit.
Although this sketch is devoted principally to bronze and marble sculpture, I cannot resist the temptation to illustrate by a few examples the charming little terra-cotta figurines which have been found in such great numbers in graves at Tanagra and elsewhere in Boeotia (Figs. 169, 170). It is a question whether the best of them were not produced before the end of the period covered by the last chapter. At all events, they are post-Praxitelean. The commonest subjects are standing or seated women; young men, lads, and children are also often met with. Fig. 170 shows another favorite figure, the winged Eros, represented as a chubby boy of four or five—a conception of the god of Love which makes its first appearance in the Hellenistic period. The men who modeled these statuettes were doubtless regarded in their own day as very humble craftsmen, but the best of them had caught the secret of graceful poses and draperies, and the execution of their work is as delicate as its conception is refined.
Returning now to our proper subject, we may begin with the latest and most magnificent of the sarcophagi found at Sidon (Fig. 171; cf. page 234). This belongs somewhere near the end of the fourth century. It is decorated with relief-sculpture on all four sides and in the gables of the cover. On the long side shown in our illustration the subject is a battle between Greeks and Persians, perhaps the battle of Issus, fought in 333. Alexander the Great, recognizable by the skin of a lion's head which he wears like Heracles, instead of a helmet, is to be seen at the extreme left. The design, which looks crowded and confused when reduced to a small scale, is in reality well arranged and extremely spirited, besides being exquisitely wrought. But the crowning interest of the work lies in the unparalleled freshness with which it has kept its color. Garments, saddle-cloths, pieces of armor, and so on, are tinted in delicate colors, and the finest details, such as bow-strings, are perfectly distinct. The nude flesh, though not covered with opaque paint, has received some application which differentiates it from the glittering white background, and gives it a sort of ivory hue. The effect of all this color is thoroughly refined, and the work is a revelation of the beauty of polychromatic sculpture.
The Victory of Samothrace (Fig. 172) can also be dated at about the end of the fourth century. The figure is considerably above life-size. It was found in 1863, broken into a multitude of fragments, which have been carefully united. There are no modern pieces, except in the wings. The statue stood on a pedestal having the form of a ship's prow, the principal parts of which were found by an Austrian expedition to Samothrace in 1875. These fragments were subsequently conveyed to the Louvre, and the Victory now stands on her original pedestal. For determining the date and the proper restoration of this work we have the fortunate help of numismatics. Certain silver coins of Demetrius Poliorcetes, who reigned 306-286 B.C., bear upon one side a Victory which agrees closely with her of Samothrace, even to the great prow-pedestal. The type is supposed on good grounds to commemorate an important naval victory won by Demetrius over Ptolemy in 306. In view, then, of the close resemblance between coin-type and statue, it seems reasonably certain that the Victory was dedicated at Samothrace by Demetrius soon after the naval battle with Ptolemy and that the commemorative coins borrowed their design directly from the statue. Thus we get a date for the statue, and, what is more, clear evidence as to how it should be restored. The goddess held a trumpet to her lips with her right hand and in her left carried a support such as was used for the erection of a trophy. The ship upon which she has just alighted is conceived as under way, and the fresh breeze blows her garments backward in tumultuous folds. Compared with the Victory of Paeonius (Figs. 143, 144) this figure seems more impetuous and imposing. That leaves us calm; this elates us with the sense of onward motion against the salt sea air. Yet there is nothing unduly sensational about this work. It exhibits a magnificent idea, magnificently rendered.
From this point on no attempt will be made to preserve a chronological order, but the principal classes of sculpture belonging to the Hellenistic period will be illustrated, each by two or three examples. Religious sculpture may be put first. Here the chief place belongs to the Aphrodite of Melos, called the Venus of Milo (Fig. 173). This statue was found by accident in 1820 on the island of Melos (Milo) near the site of the ancient city. According to the best evidence available, it was lying in the neighborhood of its original pedestal, in a niche of some building. Near it were found a piece of an upper left arm and a left hand holding an apple; of these two fragments the former certainly and perhaps the latter belong to the statue. The prize was bought by M. de Riviere, French ambassador at Constantinople, and presented by him to the French king, Louis XVIII. The same vessel which conveyed it to France brought some other marble fragments from Melos, including a piece of an inscribed statue- base with an artist's inscription, in characters of the second century B.C. or later. A drawing exists of this fragment, but the object itself has disappeared, and in spite of much acute argumentation it remains uncertain whether it did or did not form a part of the basis of the Aphrodite.
Still greater uncertainty prevails as to the proper restoration of the statue, and no one of the many suggestions that have been made is free from difficulties. It seems probable, as has recently been set forth with great force and clearness by Professor Furtwangler, [Footnote: "Masterpieces of Greek Sculpture," pages 384 ff.] that the figure is an adaptation from an Aphrodite of the fourth century, who rests her left foot upon a helmet and, holding a shield on her left thigh, looks at her own reflection. On this view the difficulty of explaining the attitude of the Aphrodite of Melos arises from the fact that the motive was created for an entirely different purpose and is not altogether appropriate to the present one, whatever precisely that may be.
It has seemed necessary, in the case of a statue of so much importance, to touch upon these learned perplexities; but let them not greatly trouble the reader or turn him aside from enjoying the superb qualities of the work. One of the Aphrodites of Scopas or Praxiteles, if we had it in the original, would perhaps reveal to us a still diviner beauty. As it is, this is the worthiest existing embodiment of the goddess of Love. The ideal is chaste and noble, echoing the sentiment of the fourth century at its best; and the execution is worthy of a work which is in some sense a Greek original.
The Apollo of the Belvedere (Fig. 174), on the other hand, is only a copy of a bronze original. The principal restorations are the left hand and the right fore-arm and hand. The most natural explanation of the god's attitude is that he held a bow in his left hand and has just let fly an arrow against some foe. His figure is slender, according to the fashion which prevailed from the middle of the fourth century onward, and he moves over the ground with marvelous lightness. His appearance has an effect of almost dandified elegance, and critics to-day cannot feel the reverent raptures which this statue used to evoke. Yet still the Apollo of the Belvedere remains a radiant apparition. An attempt has recently been made to promote the figure, or rather its original, to the middle of the fourth century.
As a specimen of the portrait-sculpture of the Hellenistic period I have selected the seated statue of Posidippus (Fig. 175), an Athenian dramatist of the so-called New Comedy, who flourished in the early part of the third century. The preservation of the statue is extraordinary; there is nothing modern about it except the thumb of the left hand. It produces strongly the impression of being an original work and also of being a speaking likeness. It may have been modeled in the actual presence of the subject, but in that case the name on the front of the plinth was doubtless inscribed later, when the figure was removed from its pedestal and taken to Rome. Posidippus is clean-shaven, according to the fashion that came in about the time of Alexander. There is a companion statue of equal merit, which commonly goes by the name of Menander. The two men are strongly contrasted with one another by the sculptor in features, expression, and bodily carriage. Both statues show, as do many others of the period, how mistaken it would be to form our idea of the actual appearance of the Greeks from the purely ideal creations of Greek sculpture.
Besides real portraits, imaginary portraits of great excellence were produced in the Hellenistic period. Fig. 176 is a good specimen of these. Only the head is antique, and there are some restorations, including the nose. This is one of a considerable number of heads which reproduce an ideal portrait of Homer, conceived as a blind old man. The marks of age and blindness are rendered with great fidelity. There is a variant type of this head which is much more suggestive of poetical inspiration.
Portraiture, of course, did not confine itself to men of refinement and intellect. As an extreme example of what was possible in the opposite direction nothing could be better than the original bronze statue shown in Fig. 177. It was found in Rome in 1885, and is essentially complete, except for the missing eyeballs; the seat is new. The statue represents a naked boxer of herculean frame, his hands armed with the aestus or boxing-gloves made of leather. The man is evidently a professional "bruiser" of the lowest type. He is just resting after an encounter, and no detail is spared to bring out the nature of his occupation. Swollen ears were the conventional mark of the boxer at all periods, but here the effect is still further enhanced by scratches and drops of blood. Moreover, the nose and cheeks bear evidence of having been badly "punished," and the moustache is clotted with blood. From top to toe the statue exhibits the highest grade of technical skill. One would like very much to know what was the original purpose of the work. It may have been a votive statue, dedicated by a victorious boxer at Olympia or elsewhere. A bronze head of similar brutality found at Olympia bears witness that the refined statues of athletes produced in the best period of Greek art and set up in that precinct were forced at a later day to accept such low companionship. Or it may be that this boxer is not an actual person at all, and that the statue belongs to the domain of genre. In either case it testifies to the coarse taste of the age.
By genre sculpture is meant sculpture which deals with incidents or situations illustrative of every-day life. The conditions of the great age, although they permitted a genre-like treatment in votive sculptures and in grave-reliefs (cf. Fig. 134), offered few or no occasions for works of pure genre, whose sole purpose is to gratify the spectator. In the Hellenistic period, however, such works became plentiful. Fig. 178 gives a good specimen. A boy of four or five is struggling in play with a goose and is triumphant. The composition of the group is admirable, and the zest of the sport is delightfully brought out. Observe too that the characteristic forms of infancy—the large head, short legs, plump body and limbs—are truthfully rendered (cf. page 222). There is a large number of representations in ancient sculpture of boys with geese or other aquatic birds; among them are at least three other copies of this, same group. The original is thought to have been of bronze.
Fig. 179 is genre again, and is as repulsive as the last example is charming. It is a drunken old woman, lean and wrinkled, seated on the ground and clasping her wine-jar between her knees, in a state of maudlin ecstasy. The head is modern, but another copy of the statue has the original head, which is of the same character as this. Ignobility of subject could go no further than in this work.
It is a pleasure to turn to Fig. 180, which in purity of spirit is worthy of the best time. The arms are modern, and their direction may not be quite correct, though it must be nearly so. This original bronze figure represents a boy in an attitude of prayer. It is impossible to decide whether the statue was votive or is simply a genre piece.
Hellenistic art struck out a new path in a class of reliefs of which Figs. 181 and 182 are examples. There are some restorations. A gulf separates these works from the friezes of the Parthenon and the Mausoleum. Whereas relief-sculpture in the classical period abjured backgrounds and picturesque accessories, we find here a highly pictorial treatment. The subjects moreover are, in the instances chosen, of a character to which Greek sculpture before Alexander's time hardly offers a parallel (yet cf. Fig. 87). In Fig. 181 we see a ewe giving suck to her lamb. Above, at the right, is a hut or stall, from whose open door a dog is just coming out; at the left is an oak tree. In Fig. 182 a lioness crouches with her two cubs. Above is a sycamore tree, and to the right of it a group of objects which tell of the rustic worship of Bacchus. Each of the two reliefs decorated a fountain or something of the sort. In the one the overturned milk-jar served as a water- spout; in the other the open mouth of one of the cubs answered the same purpose. Generally speaking, the pictorial reliefs seem to have been used for the interior decoration of private and public buildings. By their subjects many of them bear witness to that love of country life and that feeling for the charms of landscape which are the most attractive traits of the Hellenistic period.
The kingdom of Pergamum in western Asia Minor was one of the smaller states formed out of Alexander's dominions. The city of Pergamum became a center of Greek learning second only to Alexandria in importance. Moreover, under Attalus I. (241-197 B.C.) and Eumenes II. (197-159 B.C.) it developed an independent and powerful school of sculpture, of whose productions we fortunately possess numerous examples. The most famous of these is the Dying Gaul or Galatian (Fig. 183), once erroneously called the Dying Gladiator. Hordes of Gauls had invaded Asia Minor as early as 278 B.C., and, making their headquarters in the interior, in the district afterwards known from them as Galatia, had become the terror and the scourge of the whole region. Attalus I. early in his reign gained an important victory over these fierce tribes, and this victory was commemorated by extensive groups of sculpture both at Pergamum and at Athens. The figure of the Dying Gaul belongs to this series. The statue was in the possession of Cardinal Ludovisi as early as 1633, along with a group closely allied in style, representing a Gaul and his wife, but nothing is certainly known as to the time and place of its discovery. The restorations are said to be: the tip of the nose, the left knee- pan, the toes, and the part of the plinth on which the right arm rests,[Footnote: Helbig, "Guide to the Public Collections of Classical Antiquities in Rome," Vol I, No 533.] together with the objects on it. That the man represented is not a Greek is evident from the large hands and feet, the coarse skin, the un-Greek character of the head (Fig. 184). That he is a Gaul is proved by several points of agreement with what is known from literary sources of the Gallic peculiarities—the moustache worn with shaven cheeks and chin, the stiff, pomaded hair growing low in the neck, the twisted collar or torque. He has been mortally wounded in battle—the wound is on the right side—and sinks with drooping head upon his shield and broken battle-horn. His death-struggle, though clearly marked, is not made violent or repulsive. With savage heroism he "consents to death, and conquers agony."[Footnote: Byron, "Childe Harold," IV, 150] Here, then, a powerful realism is united to a tragic idea, and amid all vicissitudes of taste this work has never ceased to command a profound admiration.
Our knowledge of Pergamene art has recently received a great extension, in consequence of excavations carried on in 1878-86 upon the acropolis of Pergamum in the interest of the Royal Museum of Berlin. Here were found the remains of numerous buildings, including an immense altar, or rather altar-platform, which was perhaps the structure referred to in Revelation II. 13, as "Satan's throne." This platform, a work of great architectural magnificence, was built under Eumenes II. Its exterior was decorated with a sculptured frieze, 7 1/2 feet in height and something like 400 feet in total length. The fragments of this great frieze which were found in the course of the German excavations have been pieced together with infinite patience and ingenuity and amount to by far the greater part of the whole. The subject is the gigantomachy, i.e., the battle between the gods and the rebellious sons of earth (cf. page 134).
Fig. 185 shows the most important group of the whole composition. Here Zeus recognizable by the thunderbolt in his outstretched right hand and the aegis upon his left arm, is pitted against three antagonists. Two of the three are already disabled. The one at the left, a youthful giant of human form, has sunk to earth, pierced through the left thigh with a huge, flaming thunderbolt. The second, also youthful and human, has fallen upon his knees in front of Zeus and presses his left hand convulsively to a wound (?) in his right shoulder. The third still fights desperately. This is a bearded giant, with animal ears and with legs that pass into long snaky bodies. Around his left arm is wrapped the skin of some animal; with his right hand (now missing) he is about to hurl some missile; the left snake, whose head may be seen just above the giant's left shoulder, is contending, but in vain, with an eagle, the bird of Zeus.
Fig. 186 adjoins Fig 185 on the right of the latter. [Footnote: Fig 186 is more reduced in scale, so that the slabs incorrectly appear to be of unequal height.] Here we have a group in which Athena is the central figure. The goddess, grasping her antagonist by the hair, sweeps to right. The youthful giant has great wings, but is otherwise purely human in form. A serpent, attendant of Athena, strikes its fangs into the giant's right breast. In front of Athena, the Earth-goddess, mother of the giants, half emerging from the ground, pleads for mercy. Above, Victory wings her way to the scene to place a crown upon Athena's head.