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about 01. 82 to 92, or b. c. 452—412. A furttier confirmation of this date is furnished by Plato's mention of the sons of Polycleitus, as being of about the same age as the sons of Pericles. (Pro-tag, p. 328, c.)
Of his personal history we know nothing further. As an artist, he stood at the head of the schools of Argos and Sicyon, and approached more nearly than any other to an equality with the great head of the Athenian school, whom he was even judged to have surpassed on one occasion, in the celebrated competition of the Amazons. (See below, and pheidias. ) The essential difference between these artists was that Pheidias was unsurpassed, nay perfect, in making the images of the gods, Polycleitus in those of men. The one embodied in his Athena and Olympian Zeus, for all subsequent ages, the ideal standard of divine majesty ; the other expressed, in his Doryphorus, the ideal perfection of human beauty. It is not, however, surprising that, in the estimation of many, the beauty of Polycleitus should even have been preferred to the more unapproachable majesty of Pheidias, in an age when art, having reached its climax, was on the point of beginning to degenerate. Nay, even Polycleitus himself was, by some, placed below Myron in some respects (Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19. § 3); and his forms were thought by the artists of the age of Alexander susceptible of greater grace. If, therefore, we find, in writers of a still later period, expressions which appear to refer to the works of Polycleitus as retaining something of the stiffness of an early period of art, we must not at once conclude that such passages, even if they are rightly interpreted, refer to some earlier artist of the same name.
Among the statements of Pliny respecting Polycleitus is the following (H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19. § 2) : —" Proprium ejus est, ut uno crure insisterent signa^ excogitasse; quadrata tamen ea esse tradit Varro et paene ad unum exemplum." (The word quadrata, which Sillig formerly suspected, is confirmed by the authority of the Bamberg MS.) This passage has exercised the critical skill of most of the writers on art. Thiersch regards it as obviously characterising the style of one of the early improvers of the art ; and he therefore supposes that the artist of whom Varro made this statement was the oldest artist of the name, Polycleitus of Sicyon, whom, according to him, Pliny has confounded with the more celebrated Polycleitus of Argos. But the language of Varro, properly understood, neither requires nor sustains any such hypothesis. The mere mechanical difficulty in statuary, of making a standing figure rest its weight on one leg, may have been, and probably had been, overcome before the time of Polycleitus ; but it was, as we understand Varro, a distinguishing feature of his works, that he did this without in any way interfering with those proportions and that repose, which constituted the perfection of his art. It was not, of course, for an artist like Pheidias to poise his divinities upon one leg ; but Polycleitus, the inventor of the perfect canon of the human form, would naturally devote careful study to an attitude, which adds so much to the life-like expression of a figure, while, on the other hand, he refrained from any tampering with his own established proportions, and avoided the dangers into which the free use of this attitude might lead an artist too eager for variety. Some writers
think ,that Varro intended to censure Polycleitus on the ground that he adhered so strictly to his own canon as to introduce too much uniformity into his works ; but the passage (to sajr nothing of its only referring to those statues of Polycleitus which rested on one leg) does not appear to be in the tone of censure*, and if it were, we should rather suspect the soundness of Varro's judgment, than of Polycleitus's practice on such a point. In fact, this appears to be the very point in which Myron was inferior to Polycleitus ; that the former, in his eagerness for variety, transgressed, in his choice of subjects, in his proportions, and in his attitudes, those high principles of art to which Polycleitus always adhered.
The word quadrata, in the above passage, demands further explanation. It is clearly meant to describe a certain proportion of the human figure, and may be roughly explained as expressing a robust middle stature, in opposition to a tall and slender stature. The meaning is clearly shown by Pliny's description (I. c. § 6) of the style of proportion practised by Lysippus, who, he says, made the heads smaller than the ancients made them, the bodies more slender and less fleshy, and thus the whole statue apparently taller "' quadratas veterum staturas permutando." Vitruvius gives a canon of proportion, according to which the length of the outstretched arms is equal to the height of the statue, so that the whole figure may be enclosed in a square; but it does not seem that there is any precise reference to this canon in the term quadrata, as used by Pliny. (Bbttiger, Andeu-tungen, p. 120 ; Schorn, Studien, p. 300.)
The praises which the ancients heap upon Polycleitus are numerous and of the highest order. According to Pliny (I.e.), he was considered to have brought the art of statuary to perfection ; and the same judgment is passed upon his works by Cicero, who expressly gives him the preference over Myron (Brut. 18 ; comp. de Orat. iii. 7, Acad. ii. 47, De Fin. ii. 34, Tusc. i. 2, Paradox. v. 2). Dionysius of Halicarnassus praises him, in conjunction with Pheidias, for those qualities which he expresses by the phrase Kara to (re/j.vov koi fjL^ya\6r€x^ov Kal d£i(a(j.aTiK6i>. (De Isocr. p. 95, Sylburg.) Quintilian (xii. 10) tells us that his works were distinguished by accurate execution (diligentia) and beauty (decor) above those of all others ; but that he was thought to be deficient in grandeur (pondus). But even this fault is mentioned with the qualification " ne nihil detrahatur •" and the critic proceeds to explain that it applies to his preference for human subjects over divine, and, among the former, for youthful figures, and that the deficiency is ascribed to him chiefly in comparison with Pheidias and Alca-menes: —" Nam ut humanae formae decorem addiderit supra verum, ita non explevisse deorum auctoritatem videtur. Quin aetatem quoque gra-viorem dicitur refugisse, nihil ausus ultra leves genas. At quae Polycleto defuerunt, Phidiae atque Alcameni dantur." The breasts of his statues were especially admired. (Rhet. ad Herenn. iv. 6.) Several other passages might be added
* Perhaps, however, this censure may be implied in another passage of Varro, in which he says " Neque enim Lysippus artificum pftorum potius est vitiosa secutus quam artem," de L. L< ix. 18, ed. Mil Her.
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