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PHEIDIAS.

nearly half a century earlier, it is incredible, first, that the notices of his earlier productions should be so scanty as they are, and next, that his fame should be so thoroughly identified as it is with the works which he executed at this period. Such an occasion as the restoration of the sacred monuments of Athens would, we may be sure, produce the artist whose genius guided the whole work, as we know that it did produce? a new development of art itself; and it is hardly conceivable that the master spirit of this new era was a man of nearly seventy years old, whose early studies and works must have been of that stiff archaic style, from which even Calamis, who (on this hypothesis) was much his junior, had not entirely emancipated him­self. This principle, we think, will be found to furnish the best guide through the conflicting tes­timonies and opinions respecting the age of Pheidias. Several writers, the best exposition of whose views is given by Thiersch (Ueberdie Epochen der lildenden Kunst unter den Grieehen, p. 113, &c.), place Pheidias almost at the beginning of the fifth century b. c., making him already a young artist of some distinction at the time of the battle of Marathon, b. c. 490 ; and that on the following grounds. Pausanias tells us (i. 28. § 2) that the colossal bronze statue of Athena Promachus, in the Acropolis of Athens, was made by Pheidias, out of the tithft of the spoil taken from the Medes who dis­embarked at Marathon; and he elsewhere mentions other statues which Pheidias made out of the same spoils, namely, the group of statues which the Athenians dedicated at Delphi (x. 10. § 1), and the acrolith of Athena, in her temple at Plataeae (ix. 4. § 1). It may be observed in passing, with respect to the two latter works, that if they had exhibited that striking difference of style, as com­pared with the great works of Pheidias at Athens, which must have marked them had they been made some half century earlier than these great works, Pausanias would either not have believed them to be the works of Pheidias, or he would have made some observation upon their archaic style, and have informed us how early Pheidias began to work. The question, however, chiefly turns upon the first of the above works, the statue of Athena Promachus, which is admitted on all hands to have been one of the most important productions of the art of Pheidias. The argument of Thiersch is, that, in the absence of any statement to the con­trary, we must assume that the commission was given to the artist immediately after the victory which the statue was intended to commemorate. Now it is evident, at first sight, to what an extra­ordinary conclusion this assumption drives us. Pheidias must already have been of some reputation to be entrusted with such a work. We cannot suppose him to have been, at the least, under twenty-five years of age. This would place his birth in b.c. 515. Therefore, at the time when he finished his great statue of Athena in the Par­thenon (b. c. 438), he must have been 77 ; and after reaching such an age he goes to Elis, and un­dertakes the colossal statue of Zeus, upon com­pleting which (b, c. 433, probably), he had reached the 82nd year of his "age ! Results like these are not to be explained away by the ingenious argu­ments by which Thiersch maintains that there is nothing incredible in supposing Pheidias, at the age of eighty, to have retained vigour enough to be the sculptor of the Olympian Zeus, and even the lover

PHEIDIAS.

of Pantarces (on this point see below). The utmost that can be granted to such arguments is the esta­blishment of a bare possibility, which cannot avail for the decision of so important a question, espe­cially against the arguments on the other side, which we now proceed to notice.

The question of the age of Pheidias is inseparably connected with one still more important, the whole history of the artistic decoration of Athens during the middle of the fifth, century b. c., and the consequent creation of the Athenian school of per­fect sculpture ; and both matters are intimately associated with the political history of the period. We feel it necessary, therefore, to discuss the subject somewhat fully, especially as all the recent English writers with whose works we are acquainted have been content to assume the conclusions of Mliller, Sillig, and others, without explaining the grounds on which they rest ; while even the reasons urged by those authorities themselves seem to admit of some correction as well as confirmation.

The chief point at issue is this:—Did the great Athenian school of sculpture, of which Pheidias was the head, take its rise at the commencement of the Persian wars, or after the settlement of Greece subsequent to those wars ? To those who under­stand the influence of war upon the arts of peace, or who are intimately acquainted with that period of Grecian history, the mode of stating the question almost suggests its solution. But it is necessary to descend to details. We must first glance at the political history of the period, to see what oppor­tunities were furnished for the cultivation of art, and then compare the probabilities thus suggested with the known history of the art of statuary and sculpture.

In the period immediately following the battle of Marathon, in b. c. 4.90, we may be sure that the attention of the Athenians was divided between the effects of the recent struggle and the prepara­tion for its repetition ; and there could have been but little leisure and but small resources for the cultiva­tion of art. Though the argument of Mu'ller, that the spoils of Marathon must have been but small, is pretty successfully answered by Thiersch, the proba­bility that the tithe of those spoils, which was dedi­cated to the gods, awaited its proper destination till more settled times, is not so easily disposed of: indeed we learn from Thucydides (ii. 13) that a portion of these spoils (ova\« M^Siwa) were reckoned among the treasures of Athens so late as the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. During the occupation of Athens by the Persians, such a work as the colossal statue of Athena Promachus would, of course, have been destroyed in the burning of the Acropolis, had it been already set up ; which it stirely would have been, in the space of ten years, if, as Thiersch supposes, it had been put in hand immediately after the battle of Marathon. To assume, on the other hand, as Thiersch does, that Pheidias, in the flight to Salamis, succeeded in carrying with him his un-

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finished statue, with his moulds and implements, and so went on with his work, seems to us a mani­fest absurdity. We are thus brought to the end of the Persian invasion, when the Athenians found their city in ruins, but obtained, at least in part, the means of restoring it in the spoils which were divided after the battle of Plataeae (b. c. 479). Of that part of the spoil which fell to the share of Athens, a tithe would naturally be set apart for sacred uses, and would be added to the tithe of

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