The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Toreutic Art (continued)

642

TOREUTIC ART.

sens represents a stag attacked by a dog (Od. xix 226). The cup of Nestor is pierced with rivets of gold, has four handles with two golden doves to each handle, and two supports running from the base of the cup to the lower part of the bowl, de­signed to strengthen the central stem (//. xi 632, with Dr. Leaf's note). The struc­ture of this singular cup was the theme of learned disquisitions in ancient times (Athenseus, 489); it has now been made intelligible by the early cups discovered at Mycenae and Csere(Helbig, Das Homerische Epos aus den Denkmalern erlautert, p. 272). In the cup from Mycenae (Schlie-mann's Mycence, fig. 346; Schuchhardt, Schliemann's Excavations, fig. 240), we see the supports continued into the handles above them, and even two doves as orna­ments on the top of the handles. Else­where in Homer a lebes (in II. xxiii 885, Od. iii 440), and a crater (in Od. xxiv 275), are described aa " adorned with flowers," i.e. with the lotus-flowers and rosettes characteristic of archaic decoration (Schlie-mann, Jtfycence, fig. 344). The shield of Achilles, as wrought by Hephaestus, is an elaborate work, including numerous figures distributed over separate compartments and inlaid in various kinds of metal. The metal facing has apparently a bronze ground, inlaid with gold, silver, and kyanSs ; and the designs may be best regarded as resembling the peculiar combination of Egyptian and Assyrian styles which was introduced into Europe by the Phoenicians (H. xviii 478-607, ed. Leaf; cp. Helbig, I.e., chap, xxxi, and Murray's Greek Sculp­ture, chap. iii).

In the Homeric age the articles in metal which were most highly prized are gene­rally described as imported from abroad. Thus the silver crater given as a prize at the funeral games of Patroclus is the work of Sidonian craftsmen (H. xxiii 743). It is the king of the Sidonians who sends a crater to Menelaus (Od. iv 616; II. xxiii 741). The tripods and basket of Helen are said to have been brought by Menelaus from Egypt (Od. iv 126). The cuirass, as well as the chariot, of Agamemnon, are described as a present from the king of Cyprus (11. xi 24).

According to Greek mythology, the first blacksmiths were the Idcean Dactyli(q.v.); the first goldsmiths, the Telchlnes (q.v.). The legends about the latter imply that the forms and processes of the art were trans­mitted to Greece from the East. They are

described as dwelling in turn in Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus, Cos, Lycia, and in various cities of Greece, especially at Sicyon, which, according to Pliny (xxxvi 4), was long the home of all kinds of manufacture in metals. Working in metal was after­wards much advanced by two important inventions, (1) that of casting in moulds, attributed to a Samian artist Rhoecug, son of Phlleas, and his son TheSdorus; and (2) that of soldering, ascribed to Glaucus of ChiSs (Pausanias, x 16 § 1), who waa also famed for his skill in hardening and soften­ing iron (Plutarch, De Def. Orac. 47).

The toreutic art is described by Pliny as having been founded by Phidias (xxxiv 54) and brought to perfection by Pol}"clitus (56). For the former, it is sufficient to refer to the chryselephantine statue of Zeus at Olympia, and that of Athene in the Par­thenon. Among other sculptors who were also tdreuta; may be mentioned Calamls, Myron, Euphranor, BSethus, Stratomcus, Ariston, Eunicus, Hecataeus, Posidonlus, Paslteles, and ZenGdorus. The artists who excelled in the chasing of silver (argentv ccelando) are enumerated by Pliny (xxxiii 154-157), who observes that no one had attained renown by the chasing of gold. The first named is Mentor, the most cele­brated of all, and with him Acragas, BoetTius (Cicero, Verr. 2 iv 32, hydriam Boe'thi manu factam prceclaro opfrS et grandi pondere), and Mys (q.v.). The last of these executed in bronze, from the designs of Parrhasius, the battle of the Centaurs and Lapithae which adorned the shield of the Athene PromachSs of Phidias (Pausanias, i 28, 2). Pliny's second group includes Calamls and Antlpater, who is probably mentioned by mistake for Dlodorus (An-thologia Grceca i 106,16). His third group consists of StratOnlcus and Tauriscus, both of Cyzlcus; AristOn and Eunicus of Mytllene; and lastly Hgcdtceus. In the next we have PasltelCs (in the time of Pompey); also Pdsldmlus of Ephesus, with Hedystrdchides, ZOpyrus, and Pythias. After these, he adds, there was an artist named Teucer, famous as a cmstarlus, a worker of plaques in low relief. Thereupon, he continues, art fell into abeyance, and only works ascribed to the old masters were of any account, even when the design had been almost worn out by use. The age of imitations and forgeries followed. The work of Calamis wag skilfully copied by ZenSdSrns (Pliny, xxxiv 47), the sculptor of the colossal bronze statue of Nero (ib. 45).

Pages
About | First | Index

641

642

643
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.