The Ancient Library

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On this page: Sculpture (continued)



Romans in the middle of the 2nd century, Rome became the headquarters of Greek artists, whose work, though without novelty in invention, had many excellences, especially in perfect mastery of technique. Of the artists of the 1st century b.c. and the early imperial times the following are worthy of mention: ApOLLONius of Athens (Belvedere torso of Hercules at Rome), glycon (Farnese Hercules at Naples, see cut, art. heracles), and CLEdMENfis (Venus de"1 Medici at Florence), though the works of all these are more or less free repro­ductions of the creations of earlier masters; also agasias of Ephesus, sculptor of the Borghese Gladiator in the Louvre at Paris, a very fine work in the spirit of the Per-gamene school (see cut under agasias).

In the same period pas!teles, an Italian Greek of great versatility, attempted a regeneration of art on the basis of careful study of nature and of earlier productions. This movement in favour of an academic eclecticism was continued by Pasiteles' pupil, stephanus, who has left us a youth­ful figure (Villa Albani), and Stephanus' pupil MENfiLAUS, the artist of the fine

(16) * ORESTES AND ELECTRA. (Rome, Villa Ludoviai.)

group called Orestes and Electra (fig. 16). There was a revival of Greek art in the first half of the 2nd century a.d. under Hadrian, when a new ideal type of youth­ful beauty was created in the numerous

representations of the imperial favourite Antlnous (see cut under antinous).

The artistic work of the Romans before the introduction of Greek culture was under Etruscan influence. The art of that people was chiefly displayed in pottery and the closely connected craft of bronze-founding, which they developed with great technical skill and for which they had a special predilection. They not only filled their towns with quantities of bronze statues, Volsinii alone containing about 2,000 at the time of its conquest by the Romans in 265 b.c. [Pliny, xxxiv 34], but provided Rome also for a long time with works of the kind. Judging from the extant monuments, such as the Mars of Todi at the Vatican, the Boy with a Goose under Ms Arm at Leyden, and the Robed Statue of Aldus Mltellus at Florence, the character of their art seems wanting in freedom of treatment and in genuine in­spiration. After the conquest of Greece, Greek art took the place of Etruscan at Rome; and, thanks to the continually in­creasing love of magnificence among the Romans, which was not content with the adornment of public buildings and squares, but sought artistic decoration for private dwellings, a brisk activity in art was de­veloped, whereof numberless extant works give evidence. Beside the Greek influence, to which we owe many copies of the masterpieces of Greek art gradually accu­mulated in Rome, a peculiarly Roman art arose. This was especially active in portrait sculpture.

Portrait statues were divided, according as they were in civil or military costume, into Mgata; and larlcatce or thoracato?. (ldrtca=th$rax, a coat of mail). To these were added in later times the so-called AchillSce, idealized in costume and pose [Pliny, xxxiv §§ 8, 118]. It was customary to depict emperors in the form of Jupiter or other gods, and their wives with the attributes of Juno or Venus. Of the innumerable monuments of this description special mention is due to the statue of Augustus in the Vatican (fig. 17); the marble equestrian statues of Balbus and his son at Naples (found at Herculaneum); the bronze equestrian statue of M. Aurelius on the square of the Capitol at Rome; the seated statues of Agrippina the elder in the Capitoline Museum, and the younger at Naples.

Hand in hand with portrait sculpture went the art of historical reliefs. In ac-

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