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Notes on Greek Sculpture

  • Ernest A. Gardner


There is probably no sculptor as to whose work our notions have been more completely revolutionised in recent times than Myron. This change is due partly to new discoveries, but more to the identification of statues already known and exhibited. It is above all Myron's treatment of the head that has been hitherto inadequately realised, and for this the Massimi head, widely known through casts and photographs, is to a great degree responsible. The somewhat dull and heavy expression of this head does indeed remind us of Pliny's words, ‘ipse tarnen corporum tamen studiosus animi sensus non expressisse (videtur).” And the copyist who made this statue may very probably have been influenced by some such commonplace of artistic criticism. But the recent identification of two more extant works of Myron, the Perseus of the Antiquarium at Rome (Plate V) and the Athena in Frankfort, together with the replicas of the head of this last statue in Dresden and in the Vatican cellars, have completely changed our impressions as to his style, and are likely to have far-reaching results. Another statue that has recently come to be attributed generally to Myron is the well-known Cassel Apollo and its numerous replicas in various museums—notably a head in Vienna (Fig. 1) and another in the National Museum at Athens. All of these show the simplicity and severity of the art of the earlier part of the fifth century, together with a certain dignity and richness of effect which lead up to the work of Phidias. Above all, there is a fullness of intellectual and even spiritual life about them which contrasts strangely with the Massimi head. Correct inferences as to the style of Myron had already been drawn by Furtwängler and others. And it is particularly interesting to note in this connexion how Furtwängler traced the influence of Myron upon Cresilas. The expression which that sculptor gave to statues like the Diomed and the Amazon was especially admired by ancient critics in his wounded figures.



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1 This mounting is modern, as stated by Mrs. Strong, Burlington Catalogue 1904, p. 5.

2 Ibid., Pl. XXXIV.

3 See plate in The Works of Canova, by Henry Moses.

4 J.H.S. II., p. 55.

5 Reproduced in J.H.S. 1903, Pl. VIII, IX.

6 Benndorf, , Gr. und Sicil. Vasenbilder, p. 62.

7 Ἐφ. Ἀρχ., 1885, p. 117, Pl. 5, cf. Benndorf, . Gr. und. Sicil. Vasenbilder, Taf. 32.

Notes on Greek Sculpture

  • Ernest A. Gardner


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