The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

4AG

POLYCLEITUS.

from Lucian, the poets of the Anthology, and other writers. Even while he lived Polycleitus was ranked among the very first artists : Xeno-phon makes Socrates place him on a level, as a statuary, with Homer, Sophocles, and Zeuxis in their respective arts. (Mem. i. 4. § 3.) The Socrates of Plato also speaks of him in terms which imply an equality with Pheidias. (Protag. p. 311, c.)

Of the artists who succeeded him, Lysippirs especially admired him, and declared that his Doryphorus was his own teacher (Cic. Brut. 86). In fact Lysippus stood in much the same relation to the Arrive school of Polvcleitus as Praxiteles

c* «,

to the Attic school of Pheidias and Alcamened.

An interesting anecdote is told by Aelian ( V. H. xiv. 8), respecting the manner in which Polycleitus proved the superiority of the rules of art to popular opinion. He made two statues, one of which he finished to his own mind, and the other he exposed to public view, and altered it according to the opinions expressed by the spec­tators. He then exhibited the statues together. One of them was universally admired ; the other was derided. " You yourselves," exclaimed the

\i '

artist, " made the statue you abuse ; I made the one you admire.'' Plutarch relates a saying of Polycleitus, that the work was the most difficult when the clay model had been brought to appa­rent perfection. (Quaest. Conv. ii. 3. p. 636, c.)

The disciples of Polycleitus were Argius, Aso-podorus, Alexis, Aristeides, Phrynon, Dinon, Athenodorus, Demeas Clitorius, Canachus II., and Pericleitus. (Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19; Pans. vi. 13. § 4 ; see the articles.)

Plato refers to the two sons of Polycleitus, as being also statuaries, but of no reputation in com­parison with their father : he does not, however, mention their names. (Protag. p. 328, c.)

Polycleitus was not only celebrated as a sta­tuary in bronze, but also as a sculptor in marble, as an architect, and as an artist in toreutic. His works in these departments will be mentioned presently. His fame as a toreutic artist was so great that he was considered, according to Pliny, to have perfected the art, which Pheidias had com­menced, but had left incomplete : — " toreuticen sic erudisse [ judicatur^ ut Phidias aperuisse." (H. JV. /. c. 2.) There are a few passages in which Polycleitus seems to be spoken of as a painter; but they are insufficient to establish the fact. (See Sillig, Catal. Artif. s.v.)

Polycleitus wrote a treatise on the proportions of the human body, which bore the same name as the statue in which he exemplified his own laws, namely, Kav£v (Galen, frepl r<av Ka9' eIinroKpd.Tr)v ko.i nA.oTooi/a, iv. 3, vol. iv. p. 449, ed. Kuhn),

The following were the chief works of Poly­cleitus in bronze. The kind of bronze which he chiefly used was the Aeginetan ; whereas his con­temporary Myron preferred the Delian. (Plin. //. JV". xxxiv. 2. s. 5 ; Diet, of Ant. s. v, Aes.)

1. The Spear Bearer (Doryphorus)^ a youthful figure, but with the full proportions of a man (viriliter puerum, Plin. H. N. xxxiy. 8. s. 19. § 2). There can be no doubt that this was the statue which became known by the name of Canon, because in it the artist had embodied a perfect representa­tion of the ideal of the human figure, and had thus, as Pliny says, exhibited art itself in a work of art. Pliny, indeed, appears to speak of this

POLYCLEITUS.

Canon as something different from the Doryphorns; but that it really was this statue is plain from the statement already quoted from Cicero respecting Lysippus, and from other passages in the ancient writers (Cic. Orat. 2 ; Quintil. v. 12. § 21 ; Galen, vol. i. p. 566, vol. iv. p. 606). Lucian describes the proportions of the human figure, as exhibited in the Canon of Polycleitus, in terms which completely confirm the explanation given above of the term quadrata, as applied to his works, and which amount to this ; that the figure should be moderate both in height and stoutness. (Lucian. de Salt. 75, vol. ii. p. 309.) Quintilian describes the figure as alike fit for war or for ath­letic games (/. c.).

2. A youth of tender age, binding his head with a fillet, the sign of victory in an athletic contest (diadumenum molliter juvenem^ Plin. I.e. ; Lucian. Philops. 18, vol. iii. p. 46). This work was valued at a hundred talents (Plin. /. c.). The beautiful statue in the Villa Farnese is no doubt a copy of it (Gerhard, Ant. Denkmaler, Cent. i. pi. 69 ; M'uller, Denkm'dler d. alt. Kunst, vol. i. pi. 31, rig. 136).

3. An athlete, scraping himself with a strigil (destringentem se, Plin. /. c.).

4. A naked figure, described by Pliny as tain incessentem; ,an obscure phrase, which is explained by some to mean challenging to the game of tali (Harduin, ad loc,\ by others, trampling down, or spurning away, an opponent in the pancratium. (Jacobs,ad Philost. p. 435 ; Muller, Arch. d. Kunst, § 120, n. 3.)

5. A group of two naked boys playing at fa/z, known by the name of Astragalizontes. In Pliny's time this group stood in the Atrium of Titus, and was esteemed by many as one of the most perfect works of statuary. The British Museum contains a portion of a similar group in marble, which was found in the baths of Titus in the pontificate of Urban VI11., and which was probably copied, but with some alterations, from the work of Polycleitus. (Townley Marbles, vol. i. p. 304.)

6. A Mercury, at Lysimachia. (Plin. I. c.)

7. A Heracles Ageter, arming himself, which was at Rome in Pliny's time (Plin. /. c. ; but the reading is somewhat doubtful). Cicero also men­tions a Hercules by Potycleitus ; but this seems to have been a different work, in which the hero was represented as killing the hydra (de Orat. ii. 16).

8. A portrait statue of Artemon, surnamed Pe-riphoretos, the military engineer employed by Pericles in the war against Samos (Plin. /. c. ; Plut. Per. 27).

9. An Amazon, which gained the first prize, above Pheidias, Ctesilaus, Cydon, and Phradmon, in the celebrated contest at Ephesus (Plin. H. Ar. xxxiv. 8. s. 19).

To the above list must be added some other works, which are not mentioned by Pliny.

10. A pair of small but very beautiful Cane-phoroe (Cic. in Vert: iv. 3 ; Symmach. Ep. i. 23 ; Amallhea, vol. iii. p. 164).

11. A statue of Zeus Philius at Megalopolis, the dress and ornaments of which were similar to those appropriate to Dionysus (Paus. viii. 31. § 2. s. 4).

12. Several statues of Olympic victors (Paus. vi. § 4, 4. § 6, 7. § 3, 9. § 1, 13. § 4). But it cannot be determined whether these should be ascribed to the elder or the younger Polycleitus. (See below, No. 2.)

Pages
About | First

454

455

456
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.