The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

1069

STAT0ARIA ARS.

sentations of the bodies were likewise neglected. Occasionally, however, excellent and gifted sculp­tors still arose, and adorned the palaces of the em-perors with beautiful groups. Pliny (//". N. xxxvi. 4. § 11) mentions as.such Craterus, Pythodorus, Polydectes, Hermolaus, a second Pythodorus, Ar-temon, and Aphrodisius of Tralles. (See the arti­cles in the Diet, of Biog.} In the time of Nero, who did much for the arts, we meet with Zeno-dorus, a founder of metal statues, who was com­missioned by the emperor to execute a colossal statue of 110 feet high, representing Nero as the Sun. The work was not completely executed, as the art of using the metal had fallen into oblivion. In a. d. 75 the statue was consecrated as a Sol, and was afterwards changed into a statue of Corn-modus by altering the head. (Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 18; Herodian, i. ]5.) The principal sculptured works that were produced during the empire, were, 1. Reliefs on public monuments, such as those adorning the triumphal arch of Titus, which repre­sented the apotheosis of the emperor, and his tri­umph over Judaea. The invention and grouping of the figures are good and tasteful, but the exe­cution is careless. The same may be said of the reliefs of the temple of Minerva in the Forum of Domitian, in-which the drapery in particular is very bad. 2. Statues and busts of the emperors. These may again be divided into classes, and are easiest distinguished by the costumes in which they are represented. They are (a) faithful portraits in the costume of ordinary li-fe (toga\ or in the attire of warriors (statuae thoracatae) generally in an at­titude as if they were addressing a body of men, as, e. g. the colossal statue of Augustus in the palace Grimani. To this class also belong the equestrian statues, and the statues upon triumphal cars with from two to six horses, and sometimes even with elephants, which were frequently made for emperors out of mere vanity, and'without there having been any real triumph to occasion such a work. (Dion Cass. liii. 22 ; Stat. Silv. i. 1 ; Mart. ix. 69 ; Tacit. de Orat. 8. 11 ; Juv. vii. 126 ; Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 10.) b. Such statues as were intended to show the individual in an exalted, heroic or deified character. Among those were reckoned the so-called Achillean statues, which were first made in the time of Augustus; they were naked, and bore a hasta in one hand (Plin. H. N. xxxiv. lOj: and secondly, statues in a sitting position, with the upper part of the body naked, and a pallium co­vering the loins. These statues were intended to represent an emperor as Jupiter, but sometimes also as an Apollo. (Miiller, Arch. § 199.) This method of representing an emperor as a god was at first practised with much good taste. The statues of the ladies of the imperial families are likewise either simple and faithful portraits, or they are idealized as goddesses: specimens of each kind are still extant. The custom adopted in the Mace­donian time, of combining allegorical representa­tions of towns and provinces with the monuments erected in honour of the sovereigns, was sometimes followed by the Romans also, and some of them were made by very distinguished artists. (Strab. iv. p. 192; Miiller, I.e.) In the reign of Trajan were executed the column of Trajan, with sculp­tures representing the victories of this emperor over the Dacians, and other similar works. We also possess a beautiful colossal statue of Nerva in the Vatican, and in the Louvre there is a beau-

STATUARIA ARS.

tiful statua thoracata of Trajan, and several fine busts of the same emperor.

Down to the reign of Hadrian statuary had be­come more and more confined to the representation of subjects of a common nature, so that at length we scarcely find anything else but the records of victories in the reliefs on the public monuments, and the various kinds of statues of the emperors and the members of .their families. But in the reign of Hadrian the arts seemed to begin a new aera. He himself was undoubtedly a real lover and connoisseur of art, and he encouraged it not only at Rome, but in Greece and Asia Minor. The great Villa of Hadrian below Tivoli, the ruins of which cover an extent of ten Roman miles in circumference, was richer in works of art than any other place in Italy. Here more works of art have been dug out of the ground than anywhere else within the same compass. , Hadrian was fond of the ancient forms in art as well as in language, and many works in the archaic style still extant may have been executed at this time. Some statues made at this time combine Egyptian stiffness with Grecian elegance; and, especially, the representa­tions of Egyptian deities, such as that of Isis, are half Greek and half Egyptian. But, by the side of this strange school, there existed another, in which the pure Greek style was cultivated, and which has produced works worthy of the highest admiration. Foremost among these stand the statues and busts of Antinous, for whom the emperor entertained a passionate partiality, and who was represented in innumerable works of art. The colossal bust of Antinous in the Louvre is reckoned one of the finest works of ancient art, and is placed by some critics on an equality with the best works that Greece has produced. The two centaurs of black marble on the Capitol probably belong to the reign of Hadrian: one of them is executed in an old and noble style, and is managed by a little Eros riding on his back ; the other looks more like an intoxicated Sat}rr. There are also some very good works in red marble which are referred to this period, as that material is not known to have been used before the age of Hadrian.

As the arts had received such encouragement and brought forth such fruits in the reign of Ha­drian, the effects remained visible for some time during the reigns of the Antonines. Antoninus Pius built the great villa at Lanuvium, of which ruins are still extant, and where many excellent Avorks of art have been discovered. But sophistry and pedantic learning now began to regard the arts with the same contempt as the ignorance of the Romans had formerly done. The frieze of a tem­ple, which the senate caused to be erected to Antoninus Pius and Faustina, is adorned with griffins and vessels of very exquisite workmanship ; but the busts and statues of the emperors show in many parts an affected elegance, while the features of the countenance are tasteless and trivial copies of nature. The best among the extant works of this time are the equestrian statue of M. Aurelius of gilt bronze, which stands on the Capitol, and the column of M. Aurelius with reliefs represent­ing scenes of his war against the Marcomanni. The busts Avhich we possess of M. Aurelius, Faus­tina, and Lucius Verus, are executed with very great care, especially as regards the hair. The number of extant busts of the Antonines amounts to above one hundred ; and the rate at which busts

Pages
About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index

1068

1069

1070
letter/word  
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.