A History Of Greek Art
F. B. Tarbell

Part 3 out of 3

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

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

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 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

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

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

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.

If we compare the Pergamene altar-frieze with scenes of combat
from the best period of Greek art, say with the metopes of the
Parthenon or the best preserved frieze of the Mausoleum, we see
how much more complicated and confused in composition and how much
more violent in spirit is this later work. Yet, though we miss the
"noble simplicity" of the great age, we cannot fail to be
impressed with the Titanic energy which surges through this
stupendous composition. The "decline" of Greek art, if we are to
use that term, cannot be taken to imply the exhaustion of artistic

The existence of a flourishing school of sculpture at Rhodes
during the Hellenistic period is attested by our literary sources,
as well as by artists' inscriptions found on the spot. Of the
actual productions of that school we possess only the group of
Laocoon and his sons (Fig. 187). This was found in Rome in 1506,
on the site of the palace of Titus. The principal modern parts
are: the right arm of Laocoon with the adjacent parts of the
snake, the right arm of the younger son with the coil of the snake
around it, and the right hand and wrist of the older son. These
restorations are bad. The right arm of Laocoon should be bent so
as to bring the hand behind the head, and the right hand of the
younger son should fall limply backward.

Laocoon was a Trojan priest who, having committed grievous sin,
was visited with a fearful punishment. On a certain occasion when
he was engaged with his two sons in performing sacrifice, they
were attacked by a pair of huge serpents, miraculously sent, and
died a miserable death. The sculptors--for the group, according to
Pliny, was the joint work of three Rhodian artists--have put
before us the moving spectacle of this doom. Laocoon, his body
convulsed and his face distorted by the torture of poison, his
mouth open for a groan or a cry, has sunk upon the altar and
struggles in the agony of death. The younger son is already past
resistance; his left hand lies feebly on the head of the snake
that bites him and the last breath escapes his lips. The older
son, not yet bitten, but probably not destined to escape, strives
to free himself from the coil about his ankle and at the same time
looks with sympathetic horror upon his father's sufferings.

No work of sculpture of ancient or modern times has given rise to
such an extensive literature as the Laocoon. None has been more
lauded and more blamed. Hawthorne "felt the Laocoon very
powerfully, though very quietly; an immortal agony, with a strange
calmness diffused through it, so that it resembles the vast rage
of the sea, calm on account of its immensity." [Footnote: "Italian
Note-books," under date of March 10,1858.] Ruskin, on the other
hand, thinks "that no group has exercised so pernicious an
influence on art as this; a subject ill chosen, meanly conceived,
and unnaturally treated, recommended to imitation by subtleties of
execution and accumulation of technical knowledge," [Footnote:
"Modern Painters," Part II, Section II, Chap. III.] Of the two verdicts
the latter is surely much nearer the truth. The calmness which
Hawthorne thought he saw in the Laocoon is not there; there is
only a terrible torment. Battle, wounds, and death were staple
themes of Greek sculpture from first to last; but nowhere else is
the representation of physical suffering, pure and simple, so
forced upon us, so made the "be-all and end-all" of a Greek work.
As for the date of the group, opinion still varies considerably.
The probabilities seem to point to a date not far removed from
that of the Pergamene altar; i.e., to the first half of the second
century B.C.

Macedonia and Greece became a Roman province in 146 B.C.; the
kingdom of Pergamum in 133 B.C. These political changes, it is
true, made no immediate difference to the cause of art. Greek
sculpture went on, presently transferring its chief seat to Rome,
as the most favorable place of patronage. What is called Roman
sculpture is, for the most part, simply Greek sculpture under
Roman rule. But in the Roman period we find no great, creative
epoch of art history; moreover, the tendencies of the times have
already received considerable illustration. At this point,
therefore, we may break off this sketch.



The art of painting was in as high esteem in Greece as the art of
sculpture and, if we may believe the testimony of Greek and Roman
writers, achieved results as important and admirable. But the
works of the great Greek painters have utterly perished, and
imagination, though guided by ancient descriptions and by such
painted designs as have come down to us, can restore them but
dimly and doubtfully. The subject may therefore here be dismissed
with comparative brevity.

In default of pictures by the great Greek masters, an especial
interest attaches to the work of humbler craftsmen of the brush.
One class of such work exists in abundance--the painted
decorations upon earthenware vases. Tens of thousands of these
vases have been brought to light from tombs and sanctuaries on
Greek and Italian sites and the number is constantly increasing.
Thanks to the indestructible character of pottery, the designs are
often intact. Now the materials and methods employed by the vase-
painters and the spaces at their disposal were very different from
those of mural or easel paintings. Consequently inferences must
not be hastily drawn from designs upon vases as to the composition
and coloring of the great masterpieces. But the best of the vase-
painters, especially in the early fifth century, were men of
remarkable talent, and all of them were influenced by the general
artistic tendencies of their respective periods. Their work,
therefore, contributes an important element to our knowledge of
Greek art history.

Having touched in Chapter II. upon the earlier styles of Greek
pottery, I begin here with a vase of Attic manufacture, decorated,
as an inscription on it shows, by Clitias, but commonly called
from its finder the Francois vase (Fig. 188). It may be assigned
to the first half of the sixth century, and probably to somewhere
near the beginning of that period. It is an early specimen of the
class of black-figured vases, as they are called. The propriety of
the name is obvious from the illustration. The objects represented
were painted in black varnish upon the reddish clay, and the vase
was then fired. Subsequently anatomical details, patterns of
garments, and so on were indicated by means of lines cut through
the varnish with a sharp instrument. Moreover, the exposed parts
of the female figures--faces, hands, arms, and feet--were covered
with white paint, this being the regular method in the black-
figured style of distinguishing the flesh of female from that of
male figures.

The decoration of the Francois vase is arranged in horizontal
bands or zones. The subjects are almost wholly legendary and the
vase is therefore a perfect mine of information for the student of
Greek mythology. Our present interest, however, is rather in the
character of the drawing. This may be better judged from Fig. 189,
which is taken from the zone encircling the middle of the vase.
The subject is the wedding of the mortal, Peleus, to the sea-
goddess, Thetis, the wedding whose issue was Achilles, the great
hero of the Iliad. To this ceremony came gods and goddesses and
other supernatural beings. Our illustration shows Dionysus
(Bacchus), god of wine, with a wine-jar on his shoulder and what
is meant for a vine-branch above him. Behind him walk three female
figures, who are the personified Seasons. Last comes a group
consisting of two Muses and a four-horse chariot bearing Zeus, the
chief of the gods, and Hera, his wife. The principle of isocephaly
is observed on the vase as in a frieze of relief-sculpture (page
145). The figures are almost all drawn in profile, though the body
is often shown more nearly from the front, e.g., in the case of
the Seasons, and the eyes are always drawn as in front view. Out
of the great multitude of figures on the vase there are only four
in which the artist has shown the full face. Two of these are
intentionally ugly Gorgons on the handles; the two others come
within the limits of our specimen illustration. If Dionysus here
appears almost like a caricature, that is only because the
decorator is so little accustomed to drawing the face in front
view. There are other interesting analogies between the designs on
the vase and contemporary reliefs. For example, the bodies, when
not disguised by garments, show an unnatural smallness at the
waist, the feet of walking figures are planted flat on the ground,
and there are cases in which the body and neck are so twisted that
the face is turned in exactly the opposite direction to the feet.
On the whole, Clitias shows rather more skill than a contemporary
sculptor, probably because of the two arts that of the vase-
painter had been the longer cultivated.

The black-figured ware continued to be produced in Attica through
the sixth century and on into the fifth. Fig. 190 gives a specimen
of the work of an interesting vase-painter in this style, Execias
by name, who probably belongs about the middle of the sixth
century. The subject is Achilles slaying in battle the Amazon
queen, Penthesilea. The drawing of Execias is distinguished by an
altogether unusual care and minuteness of detail, and if the whole
body of his work, as known to us from several signed vases, could
be here presented, it would be easily seen that his proficiency
was well in advance of that of Clitias. Obvious archaisms,
however, remain. Especially noticeable is the unnatural twisting
of the bodies. A minor point of interest is afforded by the
Amazon's shield, which the artist has not succeeded in rendering
truthfully in side view. That is a rather difficult problem in
perspective, which was not solved until after many experiments.

Some time before the end of the sixth century, perhaps as early as
540, a new method of decorating pottery was invented in Attica.
The principal coloring matter used continued to be the lustrous
black varnish; but instead of filling in the outlines of the
figures with black, the decorator, after outlining the figures by
means of a broad stroke of the brush, covered with black the
spaces between the figures, leaving the figures themselves in the
color of the clay. Vases thus decorated are called "red-figured."
In this style incised lines ceased to be used, and details were
rendered chiefly by means of the black varnish or, for certain
purposes, of the same material diluted till it became of a reddish
hue. The red-figured and black-figured styles coexisted for
perhaps half a century, but the new style ultimately drove the old
one out of the market.

The development of the new style was achieved by men of talent,
several of whom fairly deserve to be called artists. Such an one
was Euphronius, whose long career as a potter covered some fifty
years, beginning at the beginning of the fifth century or a little
earlier. Fig. 191 gives the design upon the outside of a cylix (a
broad, shallow cup, shaped like a large saucer, with two handles
and a foot), which bears his signature. Its date is about 480, and
it is thus approximately contemporary with the latest of the
archaic statues of the Athenian Acropolis (pages 151 f.). On one
side we have one of the old stock subjects of the vase-painters,
treated with unapproached vivacity and humor. Among the labors of
Heracles, imposed upon him by his taskmaster, Eurystheus, was the
capturing of a certain destructive wild boar of Arcadia and the
bringing of the creature alive to Mycenae. In the picture,
Heracles is returning with the squealing boar on his shoulder. The
cowardly Eurystheus has taken refuge in a huge earthenware jar
sunk in the ground, but Heracles, pretending to be unaware of this
fact, makes as though he would deposit his burden in the jar. The
agitated man and woman to the right are probably the father and
mother of Eurystheus. The scene on the other side of the cylix is
supposed to illustrate an incident of the Trojan War: two
warriors, starting out on an expedition, are met and stopped by
the god Hermes. In each design the workmanship, which was
necessarily rapid, is marvelously precise and firm, and the
attitudes are varied and telling. Euphronius belonged to a
generation which was making great progress in the knowledge of
anatomy and in the ability to pose figures naturally and
expressively. It is interesting to note how close is the
similarity in the method of treating drapery between the vases of
this period and contemporary sculpture.

The cylix shown in Fig. 192 is somewhat later, dating from about
460. The technique is here different from that just described,
inasmuch as the design is painted in reddish brown upon a white
ground. The subject is the goddess Aphrodite, riding upon a goose.
The painter, some unnamed younger contemporary of Euphronius, has
learned a freer manner of drawing. He gives to the eye in profile
its proper form, and to the drapery a simple and natural fall. The
subject does not call, like the last, for dramatic vigor, and the
preeminent quality of the work is an exquisite purity and
refinement of spirit.

If we turn now from the humble art of vase-decoration to painting
in the higher sense of the term, the first eminent name to meet us
is that of Polygnotus, who was born on the island of Thasos near
the Thracian coast. His artistic career, or at least the later
part of it, fell in the "Transitional period" (480-450 B.C.), so
that he was a contemporary of the great sculptor Myron. He came to
Athens at some unknown date after the Persian invasion of Greece
(480 B.C.) and there executed a number of important paintings. In
fact, he is said to have received Athenian citizenship. He worked
also at Delphi and at other places, after the ordinary manner of

Painting in this period, as practiced by Polygnotus and other
great artists, was chiefly mural; the painting of easel pictures
seems to have been of quite secondary consequence. Thus the most
famous works of Polygnotus adorned the inner faces of the walls of
temples and stoas. The subjects of these great mural paintings
were chiefly mythological. For example, the two compositions of
Polygnotus at Delphi, of which we possess an extremely detailed
account in the pages of Pausanias, depicted the sack of Troy and
the descent of Odysseus into Hades. But it is worth remarking, in
view of the extreme rarity of historical subjects in Greek relief-
sculpture, that in the Stoa Poicile (Painted Portico) of Athens,
alongside of a Sack of Troy by Polygnotus and a Battle of Greeks
and Amazons by his contemporary, Micon, there were two historical
scenes, a Battle of Marathon and a Battle of OEnoe. In fact,
historical battle-pieces were not rare among the Greeks at any

As regards the style of Polygnotus we can glean a few interesting
facts from our ancient authorities. His figures were not ranged on
a single line, as in contemporary bas-reliefs, but were placed at
varying heights, so as to produce a somewhat complex composition.
His palette contained only four colors, black, white, yellow, and
red, but by mixing these he was enabled to secure a somewhat
greater variety. He laid his colors on in "flat" tints, just as
the Egyptian decorators did, making no attempt to render the
gradations of color due to varying light and shade. His pictures
were therefore rather colored drawings than genuine paintings, in
our sense of the term. He often inscribed beside his figures their
names, according to a common practice of the time. Yet this must
not be taken as implying that he was unable to characterize his
figures by purely artistic means. On the contrary, Polygnotus was
preeminently skilled in expressing character, and it is recorded
that he drew the face with a freedom which archaic art had not
attained. In all probability his pictures are not to be thought of
as having any depth of perspective; that is to say, although he
did not fail to suggest the nature of the ground on which his
figures stood and the objects adjacent to them, it is not likely
that he represented his figures at varying distances from the
spectator or gave them a regular background.

It is clear that Polygnotus was gifted with artistic genius of the
first rank and that he exercised a powerful influence upon
contemporaries and successors. Yet, alas! in spite of all research
and speculation, our knowledge of his work remains very shadowy. A
single drawing from his hand would be worth more than all that has
ever been written about him. But if one would like to dream what
his art was like, one may imagine it as combining with the
dramatic power of Euphronius and the exquisite loveliness of the
Aphrodite cup, Giotto's elevation of feeling and Michael Angelo's
profundity of thought.

Another branch of painting which began to attain importance in the
time of Polygnotus was scene-painting for theatrical performances.
It may be, as has been conjectured, that the impulse toward a
style of work in which a greater degree of illusion was aimed at
and secured came from this branch of the art. We read, at any
rate, that one Agatharchus, a scene-painter who flourished about
the middle of the fifth century, wrote a treatise which stimulated
two philosophers to an investigation of the laws of perspective.

The most important technical advance, however, is attributed to
Apollodorus of Athens, a painter of easel pictures. He departed
from the old method of coloring in flat tints and introduced the
practice of grading colors according to the play of light and
shade. How successfully he managed this innovation we have no
means of knowing; probably very imperfectly. But the step was of
the utmost significance. It meant the abandonment of mere colored
drawing and the creation of the genuine art of painting.

Two artists of the highest distinction now appear upon the scene.
They are Zeuxis and Parrhasius. The rather vague remark of a Roman
writer, that they both lived "about the time of the Peloponnesian
War" (431-404 B.C.) is as definite a statement as can safely be
made about their date. Parrhasius was born at Ephesus, Zeuxis at
some one or other of the numerous cities named Heraclea. Both
traveled freely from place to place, after the usual fashion of
Greek artists, and both naturally made their home for a time in
Athens. Zeuxis availed himself of the innovation of Apollodorus
and probably carried it farther. Indeed, he is credited by one
Roman writer with being the founder of the new method. The
strength of Parrhasius is said to have lain in subtlety of line,
which would suggest that with him, as with Polygnotus, painting
was essentially outline drawing. Yet he too can hardly have
remained unaffected by the new chiaroscuro.

Easel pictures now assumed a relative importance which they had
not had a generation earlier. Some of these were placed in temples
and such conformed in their subjects to the requirements of
religious art, as understood in Greece. But many of the easel
pictures by Zeuxis and his contemporaries can hardly have had any
other destination than the private houses of wealthy connoisseurs.
Moreover, we hear first in this period of mural painting as
applied to domestic interiors. Alcibiades is said to have
imprisoned a reluctant painter, Agatharchus (cf. page 278), in his
house and to have forced him to decorate the walls. The result of
this sort of private demand was what we have seen taking place a
hundred years later in the case of sculpture, viz.: that artists
became free to employ their talents on any subjects which would
gratify the taste of patrons. For example, a painting by Zeuxis of
which Lucian has left us a description illustrates what may be
called mythological genre. It represented a female Centaur giving
suck to two offspring, with the father of the family in the
background, amusing himself by swinging a lion's whelp above his
head to scare his young. This was, no doubt, admirable in its way,
and it would be narrow-minded to disparage it because it did not
stand on the ethical level of Polygnotus's work. But painters did
not always keep within the limits of what is innocent. No longer
restrained by the conditions of monumental and religious art, they
began to pander not merely to what is frivolous, but to what is
vile in human nature. The great Parrhasius is reported by Pliny to
have painted licentious little pictures, "refreshing himself"
(says the writer) by this means after more serious labors. Thus at
the same time that painting was making great technical advances,
its nobility of purpose was on the average declining.

Timanthes seems to have been a younger contemporary of Zeuxis and
Parrhasius. Perhaps his career fell chiefly after 400 B. C. The
painting of his of which we hear the most represented the
sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis, The one point about the picture
to which all our accounts refer is the grief exhibited in varying
degrees by the bystanders. The countenance of Calchas was
sorrowful; that of Ulysses still more so; that of Menelaus
displayed an intensity of distress which the painter could not
outdo; Agamemnon, therefore, was represented with his face covered
by his mantle, his attitude alone suggesting the father's poignant
anguish. The description is interesting as illustrating the
attention paid in this period to the expression of emotion.
Timanthes was in spirit akin to Scopas. There is a Pompeian wall-
painting of the sacrifice of Iphigenia, which represents Agamemnon
with veiled head and which may be regarded, in that particular at
least, as a remote echo of Timanthes's famous picture.

Sicyon, in the northeastern part of Peloponnesus--a city already
referred to as the home of the sculptor Lysippus--was the seat of
an important school of painting in the fourth century. Toward the
middle of the century the leading teacher of the art in that place
was one Pamphilus. He secured the introduction of drawing into the
elementary schools of Sicyon, and this new branch of education was
gradually adopted in other Greek communities. A pupil of his,
Pausias by name, is credited with raising the process of encaustic
painting to a prominence which it had not enjoyed before. In this
process the colors, mixed with wax, were applied to a wooden panel
and then burned in by means of a hot iron held near.

Thebes also, which attained to a short-lived importance in the
political world after the battle of Leuctra (371 B.C.), developed
a school of painting, which seems to have been in close touch with
that of Athens. There were painters besides, who seem to have had
no connection with any one of these centers of activity. The
fourth century was the Golden Age of Greek painting, and the list
of eminent names is as long and as distinguished for painting as
for sculpture.

The most famous of all was Apelles. He was a Greek of Asia Minor
and received his early training at Ephesus. He then betook himself
to Sicyon, in order to profit by the instruction of Pamphilus and
by association with the other painters gathered there. It seems
likely that his next move was to Pella, the capital of Macedon,
then ruled over by Philip, the father of Alexander. At any rate,
he entered into intimate relations with the young prince and
painted numerous portraits of both father and son. Indeed,
according to an often repeated story, Alexander, probably after
his accession to the throne, conferred upon Apelles the exclusive
privilege of painting his portrait, as upon Lysippus the exclusive
privilege of representing him in bronze. Later, presumably when
Alexander started on his eastern campaigns (334 B.C.), Apelles
returned to Asia Minor, but of course not even then to lead a
settled life. He outlived Alexander, but we do not know by how

Of his many portraits of the great conqueror four are specifically
mentioned by our authorities. One of these represented the king as
holding a thunderbolt, i.e., in the guise of Zeus--a fine piece of
flattery. For this picture, which was placed in the Temple of
Artemis at Ephesus, he is reported, though not on very good
authority, to have received twenty talents in gold coin. It is
impossible to make exact comparisons between ancient and modern
prices, but the sum named would perhaps be in purchasing power as
large as any modern painter ever received for a work of similar
size. [Footnote: Nicias, an Athenian painter and a contemporary of
Apelles, is reported to have been offered by Ptolemy, the ruler of
Egypt, sixty talents for a picture and to have refused the offer.]
It has been mentioned above that Apelles made a number of
portraits of King Philip. He had also many sitters among the
generals and associates of Alexander; and he left at least one
picture of himself. His portraits were famous for their truth of
likeness, as we should expect of a great painter in this age.

An allegorical painting by Apelles of Slander and Her Crew is
interesting as an example of a class of works to which Lysippus's
statue of Opportunity belonged (page 239). This picture contained
ten figures, whereas most of his others of which we have any
description contained only one figure each.

His most famous work was an Aphrodite, originally placed in the
Temple of Asclepius on the island of Cos. The goddess was
represented, according to the Greek myth of her birth, as rising
from the sea, the upper part of her person being alone distinctly
visible. The picture, from all that we can learn of it, seems to
have been imbued with the same spirit of refinement and grace as
Praxiteles's statue of Aphrodite in the neighboring city of
Cnidus. The Coans, after cherishing it for three hundred years,
were forced to surrender it to the emperor Augustus for a price of
a hundred talents, and it was removed to the Temple of Julius
Caesar in Rome. By the time of Nero it had become so much injured
that it had to be replaced by a copy.

Protogenes was another painter whom even the slightest sketch
cannot afford to pass over in silence. He was born at Caunus in
southwestern Asia Minor and flourished about the same time as
Apelles. We read of his conversing with the philosopher Aristotle
(died 322 B.C.), of whose mother he painted a portrait, and of his
being engaged on his most famous work, a picture of a Rhodian
hero, at the time of the siege of Rhodes by Demetrius (304 B.C.).
He was an extremely painstaking artist, inclined to excessive
elaboration in his work. Apelles, who is always represented as of
amiable and generous character, is reported as saying that
Protogenes was his equal or superior in every point but one, the
one inferiority of Protogenes being that he did not know when to
stop. According to another anecdote Apelles, while profoundly
impressed by Protogenes's masterpiece, the Rhodian hero above
referred to, pronounced it lacking in that quality of grace which
was his own most eminent merit. [Footnote: Plutarch, "Life of
Demetrius," Section 22.] There are still other anecdotes, which give an
entertaining idea of the friendly rivalry between these two
masters, but which do not help us much in imagining their artistic
qualities. As regards technique, it seems likely that both of them
practiced principally "tempera" painting, in which the colors are
mixed with yolk of eggs or some other sticky non-unctuous medium.
[Footnote: Oil painting was unknown in ancient times.] Both
Apelles and Protogenes are said to have written technical
treatises on the painter's art.

There being nothing extant which would properly illustrate the
methods and the styles of the great artists in color, the best
substitute that we have from about their period is an Etruscan
sarcophagus, found near Corneto in 1869. The material is
"alabaster or a marble closely resembling alabaster." It is
ornamented on all four sides by paintings executed in tempera
representing a battle of Greeks and Amazons. "In the flesh tints
the difference of the sexes is strongly marked, the flesh of the
fighting Greeks being a tawny red, while that of the Amazons is
very fair. For each sex two tints only are used in the shading and
modeling of the flesh. ... Hair and eyes are for the most part a
purplish brown; garments mainly reddish brown, whitish grey, or
pale lilac and light blue. Horses are uniformly a greyish white,
shaded with a fuller tint of grey; their eyes always blue. There
are two colors of metal, light blue for swords, spear-heads, and
the inner faces of shields, golden yellow for helmets, greaves,
reins, and handles of shields, girdles, and chain ornaments."

Our illustration (Fig. 193) is taken from the middle of one of the
long sides of the sarcophagus. It represents a mounted Amazon in
front of a fully armed foot-soldier, upon whom she turns to
deliver a blow with her sword. "Every reader will be struck by the
beauty and spirit of the Amazon, alike in her action and her
facial expression. The type of head, broad, bold, and powerful,
and at the same time young and blooming, with the pathetic-
indignant expression, is preserved with little falling off from
the best age of Greek art. ... In spirit and expression almost
equal to the Amazon is the horse she bestrides." [Footnote: The
quotations are from an article by Mr. Sidney Colvin in The Journal
of Hellenic Studies, Vol. IV., pages 354 ff] The Greek warrior is
also admirable in attitude and expression, full of energy and

Although the paintings of this sarcophagus were doubtless executed
in Etruria, and probably by an Etruscan hand, they are in their
style almost purely Greek. The work is assigned to the earlier
half of the third century B.C. If an unknown craftsman was
stimulated by Greek models to the production of paintings of such
beauty and power, how magnificent must have been the achievements
of the great masters of the brush!

For examples of Greek portrait painting we are indebted to Egypt,
that country whose climate has preserved so much that elsewhere
would have perished. It will be remembered that Egypt, having been
conquered by Alexander, fell after his death to the lot of his
general, Ptolemy, and continued to be ruled by Ptolemy's
descendants until, in 30 B.C., it became a Roman province. During
the period of Macedonian rule Alexandria was the chief center of
Greek culture in the world, and Greeks and Greek civilization
became established also in the interior of the country; nor did
these Hellenizing influences abate under Roman domination. To this
late period, when Greek and Egyptian customs ere largely
amalgamated, belongs a class of portrait heads which have been
found in the Fayyurn, chiefly within the last ten years. They are
painted on panels of wood (or rarely on canvas), and were
originally attached to mummies. The embalmed body was carefully
wrapped in linen bandages and the portrait placed over the face
and secured in position. These pictures are executed principally
by the encaustic process, though some use was made also of
tempera. The persons represented appear to be of various races--
Greek, Egyptian, Hebrew, negro, and mixed; perhaps the Greek type
predominates in the specimens now known. At any rate, the artistic
methods of the portraits seem to be purely Greek. As for their
date, it is the prevailing opinion that they belong to the second
century after Christ and later, though an attempt has been made to
carry the best of them back to the second century B.C.

The finest collection of these portraits is one acquired by a
Viennese merchant, Herr Theodor Graf. They differ widely in
artistic merit; our illustrations show three of the best. Fig. 194
is a man in middle life, with irregular features, abundant, waving
hair, and thin, straggling beard. One who has seen Watts's picture
of "The Prodigal Son" may remark in the lower part of this face a
likeness to that. Fig. 195 is a charming girl, wearing a golden
wreath of ivy-leaves about her hair and a string of great pearls
about her neck. Her dark eyes look strangely large, as do those of
all the women of the series; probably the effect of eyes naturally
large was heightened, as nowadays in Egypt, by the practice of
blackening the edges of the eyelids. Fig. 196 is the most
fascinating face of all, and it is artistically unsurpassed in the
whole series. This and a portrait of an elderly man, not given
here, are the masterpieces of the Graf collection. It is much too
little to say of these two heads that they are the best examples
of Greek painting that have come down to us. In spite of the great
inferiority of the encaustic technique to that of oil painting,
these pictures are not unworthy of comparison with the great
portraits of modern times.

The ancient wall-paintings found in and near Rome. but more
especially in Pompeii, are also mostly Greek in character, so far
as their best qualities are concerned. The best of them, while
betraying deficient skill in perspective, show such merits in
coloring, such power of expression and such talent for
composition, as to afford to the student a lively enjoyment and to
intensify tenfold his regret that Zeuxis and Parrhasius, Apelles
and Protogenes, are and will remain to us nothing but names.


Back to Full Books