صور الصفحة

Besides the preceding busts which we have thought deserving of a fuller description, are a few more, whose character appears to be mythological; we shall briefly enumerate them here. They are— a bust of a Muse crowned with laurel, and found at Frascati; a bust from a statue of Dionysus; two busts of Bacchantes; a bust of a female Satyr, bequeathed by Mr. Payne Knight; a bust of a laughing Satyr; a head ofa boy, apparently a youthful Pan; a bust resembling Sappho; and a bust supposed to be one of the Dioscuri, but more probably of Mercury, discovered near Rome.

III.—Portrait Busts Of Greek Personages.

The Museum is not rich in that class which we have ventured to term ideal heads, or representations of celebrated persons, but contains a few specimens which, from accidental circumstances, have obtained an European celebrity. Of these, the best known and probably the most remarkable is No. 25, a terminal head of Homer, representing the poet as of advanced age, but with a mild and dignified character. The portrait of Homer has not been preserved to us on coins, but the general resemblance between this bust and a terminus preserved at Naples, and inscribed with the name of the poet, and with three Greek inscriptions in his honour, naturally leads to the conclusion that they are both intended for one and the same person. This bust is elaborately executed, and in general treatment is not unlike the Laocoon. It was found in 1780, among some ruins on the site of the ancient Baise.

T. 90 is a bust of Sophocles, the Greek tragedian, in excellent preservation, but by no means remarkable for its artistic beauty. It is probably a copy, in Roman times, from some Greek original. There is a bust of Sophocles in the Vatican, and a medallion in the Farnese Palace, which bear a considerable resemblance to this bust. This marble was found near Genzano, in 1775.

T. 91 is a bust of Pericles, helmeted, and inscribed with his name in Greek characters. The workmanship is good, and it is probably a copy in Roman times from some good Greek original. It exhibits the peculiarity which is said to have been that of Pericles —a remarkably long head, for which reason Plutarch observes that he was usually represented helmeted. This head was found in 1781, about a mile from Tivoli, in the Pianella di Cassio. A repetition of the same head, in a more finished but less ancient style of sculpture, was found in the same excavation. It was helmeted, and bore, besides the name of Pericles, that also of his father Xanthippus, and his designation, as Athenian.

[graphic][merged small][graphic][merged small][graphic][graphic][merged small][ocr errors]

No. 42 is a terminal head of Periander, the son of Cypselus, tyrant of Corinth. It has been ascribed to this personage, who was called one of the seven wise men of Greece, because, in 1777, another terminal head, bearing a strong resemblance to it and inscribed with his name at full length, was found in the Villadi Cassio, atTivoli. The head in the Museum was formerly in the palace of Pope Sixtus V., in the Villa Montalto.

T. 89 is a terminal bust of Epicurus, the founder of the Philosophic sect which was known by his name. It is doubtful whether this marble is to be considered as a Greek original or as a Roman copy; but we incline to the latter opinion. The name which has been given to it has been determined by the discovery, in 1742, while the foundation of the Church of St. Mary was being dug, of the heads of Epicurus and his friend Metrodorus, joined back to back, and inscribed with their names in Greek characters. A small bust of Epicurus in bronze, with his name inscribed on it, was subsequently found at Herculaneum. The Museum head probably belonged to a statue. It was found at Rome, in the Villa Casali, near the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, in 1775. T. 92 is a bust which has been called that of Hippocrates, the celebrated Coan physician, because it has great resemblance to the head which appears upon a coin of Cos, struck in his honour by the people of that island. There has, indeed, been some doubt whether the coin was genuine : the balance of opinion seems, however, to be in its favour. It is now in the French Collection, and in a poor state of preservation, the two first letters only of the name being visible upon it. This bust is considered to be a good specimen of late Greek workmanship. It was found in 1770, near Albano, among some ruins supposed to indicate the site of a villa of Marcus Varro, who, according to Pliny, possessed a large collection of portraits of illustrious men in his library. With this bust was found also another, No. 44, an unknown terminal head, crowned with a narrow diadem. It was probably designed to represent one of the Greek poets, and has been, not unnaturally, supposed to be a young head of Homer. There is, however, little similarity between the features of this head and those of other known heads of Homer. The head is entire; the terminus modern.

With these busts may be classified, two heads presented by Col. Leake, and both of genuine Greek workmanship; the one a head of Homer or of Moschion; the other inscribed with the name of the orator ^schines: both were found at Bitolia, the ancient Pelagonia.

A bust of Diogenes, bequeathed by Mr. Payne Knight; T. 266, a bust of Demosthenes, with his mouth opened as though about to speak; T. 244, a bust of Aratus, found among the ruins of the villa of Marcus Varro; and a bronze head the size of life, supposed to represent some Greek poet. It was brought to England in the beginning of the seventeenth century, for the collection of Thomas, Earl of Arundel, and afterwards passed through the hands of Dr. Mead and the Marquess of Exeter to the British Museum. This bust is in perfect preservation, and is executed in a very Bust of Diogenes. fine style.

[graphic][graphic][merged small][merged small]

IV.—Finest Statues or The Roman Period, From Augustus To Hadrian.

The statuary art of Roman times possesses much less artistic interest than in the more purely Greek periods; and the best specimens preserved in the Museums of Europe are without doubt either copies from fine Greek originals or the separate studies of Greek artists resident in Rome, or in other great cities of the empire. As such they have their value in the general history of art, while in many cases they also preserve to us representations of statues and earlier works, which would have otherwise perished and been wholly lost to us.

Of these, the first we shall notice, as undoubtedly a work of the best Roman period, is a repetition of the celebrated Venus Of The Capitol, presented by King William IV. in 1834. The goddess appears to be about to enter the bath, her drapery being thrown on a vase which stands by her side; her hair is gathered in a double knot upon her head, and is tied behind her neck, a small portion of it falling upon her shoulders. The height of the figure is about 6 feet 3 inches.

We will take next T. 16, another statue of Venus entirely naked, and with her head inclined to the right, and her body slightly bending forwards. The drapery which covered her appears to have been just laid aside, but is kept from falling by being confined between her lower limbs. Her hair is short, and bound round by several narrow fillets; and her feet are shod with sandals. Both arms are modern, and their present position doubtful. They were restored under the superintendence of Mr. Gavin Hamilton, who imagined that the figure anciently held a mirror in the left hand. As there is a slight projection on the right side of the chin, it has been supposed by others that this statue represents Angerona, the goddess of Silence, and that the forefinger of the right hand has been raised to the chin, as if in the attitude of imposing silence. The head was originally broken off, but has been rightly attached to the figure. This statue was found in 1775, in an ancient bath at Ostia. Like the preceding, it therefore probably denotes the preparation of Venus for the bath.

The next we take is a statue, T. 44, which has been called a Caryatid, but is more correctly a Canephora. It is a female statue, larger than life, with a modius upon its head. Like the Canephora in the Elgin Room, it has probably been one of the supports of the portico of an ancient building. The drapery, which is very simple,

« السابقةمتابعة »