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For the Literary Magazine.
ACCOUNT OF STATUES, BUSTS, &c. IN THE COLLECTION OF THE ACADEMY OF ARTS. NEW,
under whose shade the god was born. It is adorned with fruit, and the serpent ascending it is the symbol of life and health, of which Apollo was the god. This statue, the most perfect of all that time has spared, was found about the close of the fifteenth century, on Capo de
The Pythian Apollo: called the Anzo, twelve leagues from Rome,
THE Son of Latona, in his rapid course, has just overtaken the serpent Python. The mortal dart is already discharged from his dreadful bow, which he holds in his left hand, and from which his right is just withdrawn; the motion impressed on all his muscles is still preserved. Indignation sits on his lip, but on his countenance the certainty of victory is imprinted, and his eye sparkles with satisfaction at having delivered Delphos from the monster which ravaged its coasts.
His hair, lightly curled, flows in ringlets down his neck, or rises with grace to the summit of his head, which is encircled with the strophium, the distinguishing band of gods and kings. His quiver is suspended by a belt across his left shoulder. His robe (chlamys) attached to the shoulder, turned up on the left arm only, is thrown back, shewing to greater advantage his divine form. The glow of youth enlivens his elegant person, in which nobleness and agility, with vigor and elegance are sublimely blended, preserving a happy medium between the delicate form of Bacchus, and the more firm and masculine lines of Mercury.
Apollo, the vanquisher of the serpent Python, is the subject of an ingenious fable, invented by the ancients to express the genial influence of the sun that renders the air more salubrious, by correcting the infectious exhalations of the coasts of which this reptile is the emblemevery thing in this £gure, nay the very trunk of the tree indroduced to support it, presents some interesting allusion. This trunk is that of the ancient olive tree, of Delos,
on the margin of the sea, in the ruins of the ancient Antium, a city celebrated for its temple of fortune, and for the rival villas built by the emperors and embellished with the master pieces of art.
Julius the second, while a cardinal, purchased this statue, and placed it, in the first instance, in the palace he occupied near the church of the holy apostles; but shortly after having attained the pontificate, he removed it to the Belvedere of the Vatican, where for three centuries it remained the admiration of the world; when a hero, guided by victory, arrived to transplant and fix it, perhaps forever, on the banks of the Seine.
It is a question for antiquaries and naturalists to determine, from what quarry the marble of this Apollo has been cut. The statuaries of Rome, who from their occupation have an extensive knowledge of ancient marbles, have invariably deemed it an ancient Grecian marble, although of a quality very different from the most known species. On the contrary, the painter Mengs, has asserted that this statue is of the marble of Luni or Ca☛ rara, the quarries of which, were known and worked in the time of Julius Cesar. Citizen Dolomicu a learned mineralogist, is of the same opinion, and he pretends to have found in one of the ancient quarries of Luni, fragments of marble resembling that of the Apollo. Notwithstanding these authorities, this subject may still be considered as vcry doubtful.
The beauty of the statues of Antinous, and the perfection of sculpture at that time evidently demonstrate that until the epoch of Adrian at least, the Grecian school furnish
NEW-YORK ACADEMY OF ARTS.
ed artists worthy to be compared
The author of this chef d'oeuvre
Venus of the Capitol. VENUS, the queen of love and the goddess of beauty, is here represented as just from the bath; her divinely graceful form is unembarrassed by drapery, her hair collected behind displays the beauties of her polished neck, and her head gently inclines to the left, as smiling affably upon the graces who are about to attire her. At her feet stand a vase of perfumes covered partially with a fringed drapery. The value of this Statue is heightened by its perfect preservation.... it was found in Rome, about the middle of the last century, between the Quirinal and Viminal Mounts, and was placed in the capitol, of Benedict XIV.
NO. III. Laocoon. LAOCOON, the son of Priam and Hecuba, and priest of Apollo, inflamed by love for his country, violently opposed the reception of the wooden horse within the walls of Troy. To awaken his country men to the impending danger, he dared to hurl his javelin against the fatal machine, consecrated to Minerva. Enraged at his temerity, those of the gods hostile to Troy, resolved to punish him, and shortly after, as Laocoon, crowned with laurel, was sacrificing to Neptune on the beach, two enormous serpents, emerged from the waves, and instantly sprang upon his two chi!dren, who had accompained him to the altar. The distracted father flies to their aid: in vain he struggles against these monsters, they enclose him with his sons....they roll themselves around their bodies....
they crush them in their coils....they teeth....in spite of their efforts to tear them with their venomous disengage themselves, this unforvictims of an unjust vengeance, fall tunate father with his sons, the at the altar of the god....and turning their distracted eyes towards heaven, expire in the most cruel agonies.
Such is the pathetic subject of this admirable group, one of the most perfect works which the chissel has composition, design, and sentiment; ever produced, the master-piece of and the impression of which, can only be enfeebled by commentary.
palace of Titus, on the Esquiline It was found in the ruins of the Mount, during the pontificate of Julius II. Pliny, who speaks of it To this writer we owe the knowwith admiration, saw it in this place. ledge of the three skilful sculptors who executed it. Their names are Agesander, Polydorus, and Athenederus. Agesander was probably the father of the two others; they flourished in the first age of the vulgar æra. The group is composed of five blocks so artificially united, that Pliny believed them to be but a single piece. The right of the children are wanting. arm of the father and the two arms
Gladiator of the Borghese Palace.
ly denominated the "Gladiator of THIS statue has been impropercharacters of its inscription it apthe Borghese Palace." From the pears to be of greater antiquity than any other characterized by the name of the artist. History gives us of Ephesus, author of this chef us no particulars relative to Agasid'oeuvre; but the work which he has left, bears the strongest testimony of his merit.
vedere we are struck with the subIn the statue of the Apollo of Bellimity of ideal beauty. The group of the Laocoon offers us a representation of natural beauties unassisted by imagination: the former which, from probability, passing may be compared to an epic poem,
the bounds of truth, leads to the marvellous; the latter to faithful history, which in the exposition of truth, makes choice of the most refined ideas, and most elegant expression.
The head of this figure shews that nothing but the truth of nature has been consulted in its formation; no traces of the ideal beauty of the Apollo are to be found, and his whole air is that of a man in the full vigour of mature age, whose muscles are strengthened by habitual activity, and whose body is hardened by exercise.
Antiquarians are divided in their judgment of this figure; some have supposed it a discobolus, or throw er of the disk; but others with more probability have pronounced it, a statue erected to the honour of some Grecian warrior, who had signalized himself in a dangerous position: this appears perfectly to coincide with the attitude of the figure, which is at the same time actively offensive and defensive; on the left arm the strap of the buckler which he is supposed to carry is seen; the right arm is supposed to hold a javelin: his looks are directed upwards, as if defending himself from a danger threatening from above: this position militates against the idea of its being the statue of a fighting gladiator, as his opponent may be supposed on horseback: besides, it is believed the honour of a statue was never granted to a gladiator of of the public arena; and this production is supported anterior to the institution of gladiators in Greece. This statue as well as the Apollo, was discovered in the city of Antium, the birth place of the emperor Nero, which he embelished at an enormous expense.
Castor and Pollux, CASTOR and POLLUX, were twin brothers, and sons of Jupiter and Leda. Mercury, immediately after their birth, carried them to Pallena, where they were educated, and as soon as they had arrived at the years of maturity, they embarked
with Jason on the Argonautic expedition. In this adventure, they both behaved with signal courage; the latter conquered and slew Amycus, in the combat of the cestus, and was ever after considered the god and patron of boxing and wrestling....the former distinguished himself in the management of horses. After their return from Colchis they cleared the Hellespont and the neighbouring pass from pirates, from which circumstance they have always been deemed the protectors of navigators.
They made war against the Athenians, to recover their sister Helen whom Theseus had carried away, and from their clemency to the conquered, they acquired the surname of Anaces or Benefactors.
They were invited to the nuptial feasts of Lycas and Idus, where becoming enamoured with the brides, (the daughters of Leucippus)....a battle ensued in which Lycas fell by the hand of Castor, who was killed by Idas. Pollux revenged the death of his brother in the blood of Idus. Pollux tenderly attached to his brother, and inconsolable for his loss, intreated Jupiter either to restore Castor to life, or permit him to resign his own immortality; Jupiter listened benignly to his prayer, and consented that the immortality of Pollux should be shared with his brother, and that it should be alternately enjoyed by them. This act of fraternal love, Jupiter rewarded by making the two brothers constellations in heaven, under the name of Gemini, which never appear together, but when one rises the other sets.
THIS fine statue has been supposed to represent Germanicus, son of Drusus and Antonia. The style of the hair indicates indeed a Roman personage; but it cannot be this prince, for the medals and other monuments we have of him represent him very differently. A more attentive examination of
this figure discovers an analogy with that of Mercury; the extended position of the right arm, the chlamys thrown over the left, which holds the caduceus, and rests on a tortoise, consecrated to this god as the inventor of the harp, favour this idea. But a more reasonable conjecture may perhaps be admitted, that, under these forms, and with the attributes of the god of eloquence, the ingenious artist has pourtrayed a Roman orator, celebrated for his success in the
IN the person of Pandora were united all the perfections of her sex, but these were eclipsed by the superior excellencies of Hermaphrodite, the son of Venus and Hermes, (as his Greek name imports) who, to the unrivalled beauty of his mother, united the genius, wit, and elegance of his father. Such is the interesting pourtrait that poetry has given us of Hermaphrodite, and sculpture has ventured to materialize and exhibit this refined idea in the animated form which here claims our admiration; this noble competition of the poets and artists of antiquity, shews us the clevation to which the aits had then attained. Poetry had exhausted the richness of her imagination in creating Hermaphrodite ....in blending the characteristics of masculine grace and beauty, with the soft and swelling contour of the female form. This ideal union warmed the genius of the sculptor, and the stubborn marble, under his animating chissel, started almost into existence.
The masters of antiquity have left us several statues of Hermaphrodite, this, whose original forms the great ornament of the Borghese palace at Rome, is considered of the most perfect beauty, although that of the Florence gallery has the advantage of having the Antique Bed, with the Lion's Skin, on which the figure reposes. The matrass in this figure is a ridiculous conceit
of the sculptor Bernini, who restored it. It is unnecessary to remark that this figure can have no analogy with those misshapen objects of the human race, who have passed under the name of Hermaphrodites, they are particularly remarked for an unnatural and heterogeneous mixture of hard and unharmonious parts.
THE original of this charming figure is of Parian marble; the correctness of its form, and delicacy of its drapery, entitle it to be called a model of taste. It is clad in a tunic, over which is thrown a mantle, or peplum : both are finished in so masterly a manner, that through the mantle are perceived the knots of the cord which ties the tunic round her waist.
The artist who repaired this statue, having placed in its hand some ears of wheat, the name of Ceres has probably from that circumstance been given to it; otherwise, the virginal character of the head, and simplicity of its headdress, would induce a belief that the muse Clio was intended by it; and that a book should have been placed in the hand, instead of the ears of wheat.
It was taken from the Museum of the Vatican, having been placed there by Clement XIV. It previously ornamented the Villa Mattei on Mount Esquilin.
Venus of the Bath.
IT is not necessary that we should say much to recommend this beautiful little figure to those who can appreciate excellence, and it is rare to see a subject in which it has more charms.
Torso of a Venus.
THIS Torso (or mutilated figure) of a Venus, is of most graceful beauty, and must recommend itself strongly to the amateurs of taste and discernment; we have only to regret, that time has spared us but a fragment of what in its perfect
state must have been a chef d'œuvre engage particular attention, from
of the art.
THIS beautiful figure is known by the name of the Grecian Cupid, who was sometimes, as in this instance, represented under the maturer age of Adolescence, and possessed a character much more mild and reasonable than that attributed to the son of Mars and Venus. The supposition that this statue was intended for a Cupid, is perhaps drawn from the evident marks of its having been originally with wings, one of the attributes of his divinity: but however the intention of the artist may be mistaken as to the subject, it will remain a beautiful monument of the art in the age of its excellence.
THIS fine bust represents the immortal Homer, the father of Grecian poetry, and the ornament of human nature; the diadem which encircles his head is the emblem of the divinity which he merited by his exalted genius, and by which he obtained the honour of his apotheosis. The formation of the eyes, (of admirable execution), indicates the privation of sight, a misfortune under which this celebrated poet is generally supposed to have laboured.
Although the portrait of Homer has always been considered doubtful even among the ancients, it is yet well known that busts similar to this have passed under his name.
Demosthenes. THERE is no reason to doubt that this is a faithful portrait of Demosthenes, the prince of oratory; whose name will live while eloquence in the cause of liberty, shall have power to command veneration.
The Family of Niobe. AMONGST the busts which ornament the Museum, this group, with the head of Niobe, ought to
VOL. I....NO. III.
the acknowledged purity of style which reigns throughout the heads which compose it. The Abbé Winkleman the most classical judge of the arts, has pronounced the head of Niobe to be a model of the highest style of beauty, and Guido, the painter of the graces, made it his peculiar study. The age of their execution is supposed to be that of the highest glory of the arts, that is, in the time of Phidias, but it is not ascertained whether the statues which now compose this interesting group at Florence, are the originals or not. By the jealousy and hatred. of Latona, the children of Niobe fell victims to the darts of Apollo and Diana, and the expression of the head of Niobe, is strongly indicative of such peculiar distress.
NO. XV. Bacchus.
THIS bust of a Bacchus is strikingly beautiful, and offers to the admirers of the art, a fine study of the beau ideal, of the beauty of form divested of any of those affections of the mind which give expression to the countenance, and which, however they may increase its interest with us, tend to remove it from the acknowledged criterion of beauty. The appropriate ornament of the head is in a style peculiarly graceful, and corresponds perfectly with the effeminate softness intended to be expressed..
It is necessary to remark that Bacchus is here represented not as the hero and conquerer of India, but as the voluptuary sunk in the lap of ease and enjoyment; both of which characters are ascribed to him in ancient mythology. Under the first, sculpture has represented him bearded, muscular and active; under the last, as approaching to the luxurious fullness of the female form, and without beard.
By the emblem on the helmet of this figure, we are enabled to identify the goddess Roma, which in other respects might be mistaken