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Agasander and his sons.

upon the two moles which formed the entrance of the harbour. As the city, however, had two harbours-the main one, and a second one much smaller, within which their fleets were secured, it seems more natural to suppose that this Colossus was placed at the entrance of the latter one, as the space between the legs at the base could not have greatly exceeded fifty feet; a space too narrow to be the entrance to the main harbour. There was a winding staircase within, reaching to the top of the statue, whence might be seen Syria and the ships that went to Egypt. It was erected 300 B. C., and, after having stood about fifty-six years, was thrown down by an earthquake, being broken off below the knees. In the year 672 of the Christian era, it was sold, according to Cedrenus, by the Saracens, who were masters of the island, to a Jewish merchant of Edessa, who loaded nine hundred camels with the brass.


Agasander and his sons Athenadorus and Polydorus, of Rhodes, produced the celebrated group of the Laocoon, about the time of Lysippus, according to the authority of some; others assign the reign of Titus. It represents Laocoon, a priest of Apollo, during the Trojan war. While offering a bullock to Neptune, accompanied by his two sons, two huge serpents issued from the sea and fastened upon his sons. While endeavouring to save them, Laocoon was himself wound in their folds, and the three were together crushed death. The serpents were sent by Minerva, as a punishment to Laocoon for having dissuaded the Trojans from admitting into the city the fatal wooden horse which the Greeks had dedicated to Minerva.

The group represents the agonized father, and his youthful

The Laocoon.-Decline of Grecian art.

sons, one on each side of him, writhing in the complicated folds of the serpents. Intense mental suffering is portrayed in the countenances, while the physical strength of all the three is evidently sinking under the irresistible power of the huge reptiles, wreathed round their exhausted limbs. One son, in whose side a serpent has fixed his deadly fangs, seems to be fainting; the other, not yet bitten, tries (and the futility of the attempt is faithfully shown) to disengage one foot from the serpent's embrace. The father, Laocoon himself, is mighty in his sufferings; every muscle is in extreme action, and his hands and feet are convulsed with painful energy, yet there is nothing frightful, disgusting, or contrary to beauty, in the countenance. Suffering is faithfully and strongly depicted there, but it is rather the exhibition of mental anguish than of the repulsive and undignified contortions of mere physical pain. The whole of this figure displays the most intimate knowledge of anatomy, and of outward form; the latter selected with discretion, and freed from any vulgarity of common individual nature. Indeed, the single figure of Laocoon may be fairly referred to, as one of the finest specimens existing of that combination of truth and beauty which is so essential to the production of perfect sculpture, and which alone can ensure for it lasting admiration. The youths are of a smaller standard than the proportion of the father—a liberty hardly justifiable, but taken probably with the view of heightening the effect of the principal figure. The right arm of Laocoon is a restoration. It is not certain what modern artist has the merit of this restoration, though it is thought that the arm it now bears was the plaster-model of Michael Angelo, who was charged with the task of adding a marble one, but left it unfinished in a fit of despair.

Gradually, Grecian art declined from its high excellence.

Causes of declension.-Alexandria.—Seleucia.

The causes are obvious: the prevalence of luxury, and consequent corruption of morals; the internal changes and commotions, and the infringements upon civil liberty from the time of Alexander, and its final loss after the subjection of Greece to the Romans. There were, however, in this period, some skilful artists, as Arcesilaus and Pasitiles, who were led to Rome by the superior patronage that city afforded.

Had not the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucidæ of Asia, shown themselves at this crisis the liberal patrons of art, Greek sculpture must have fallen, never to rise again. Under the successors of Alexander, in ypt, Alexandria became a second Athens. The anatomical studies and dissections of Hierophilus and Eostratus in the Alexandrine school, introduced into the sculpture of this period a greater precision of anatomical detail, without injuring the breadth of the masses. As a proof of the number of Greek artists who flocked to that capital, and the splendid encouragement bestowed on art, it may be sufficient to allade to the magnificent pageant and cavalcade of Ptolemy Ph..ladelphus, in which hundreds of statues were borne in the procession. In a large tent, prepared for the occasion, were to be seen the representations of animals of all kinds, executed by the most celebrated masters. To the same era may be referred the works of Grecian art, in Egyptian basalt and porphyry, which, from the specimens and fragments that remain, must have been in the finest style of art. The Seleucidæ of Asia were no less munificent; but whether from the remote situation of the city of Seleucia, or other causes, the arts never reached the same excellence as in Egypt. The epoch of art closed, both in Egypt and Asia, about the 124th Olympiad.

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Roman sculpture.-Zenodorus.-Antinous.

Roman Sculpture.

On the subjugation of the Greeks, their arts passed, as it were, into the hands of the Romans, by whom, however, sculpture was honoured and furnished with opportunities for its employment, rather than actually acquired and practised. In the early periods of the republic, distinguished merit was rewarded with statues, and the mythological system of worship afforded constant scope for the exercise of talent in that line. After the second Punic war, a great number of splendid works of sculpture were brought to Rome from captured cities-Syracuse, Capua, Corinth, and Carthage; also from Etruria and Egypt. Greece abounded in the treasures of art, handed down to her from the renowned ages; her temples and palaces were crowded with inestimable works, and the new rulers found the transfer of such productions a more expeditious and less hazardous process of acquisition, than the tardy alternative of requiring original productions from cotemporary artists. These, therefore, being driven to mere expedients for a livelihood; inferior classes of art became predominant. Among the artists who practised sculpture in Rome, we may mention Zenodorus, who, having cast a colossal Minerva in Cisalpine Gaul, was called to Rome by Nero, to make a colossal statue of himself, 110 feet high; which was dedicated to the sun on the downfall of that emperor. The four beautiful horses of brass above the chief entrance of the church of St. Mark, at Venice, were also cast during the reign of this tyrant. One of the most perfect statues of the age of Hadrian, is Antinous, who, having cast himself into the Nile to fulfil an oracle and propitiate the gods in favour of Hadrian, the emperor, to testify his gratitude,

Greek and Roman artists.

erected numerous statues to his memory, and built a city, which he named after his favourite.

With the advancement of wealth, the Romans devoted greater and greater expense to the ornamenting of their temples, their public and private buildings, their gardens, and their grounds.

The Capitolium, (particularly the temple of Jupiter, included in it,) the Comitium, and the Rostra, were, in a special manner, adorned with statues. Inspectors were appointed, whose business it was to guard the edifices thus ornamented from injury and plunder, a duty afterwards assigned to a particular magistrate.

One great reason why the arts never attained the same high standard in Rome which they had reached in Greece, was, undoubtedly, because in Greece, the artist was not only incited to the utmost pitch of inspiration by the enthusiastic applause of his countrymen, and, above all, by the priceless crown of bay, the high award of the Olympic tribunal, that passed not as the jewelled diadem of kings, from head to head, but was hung up in the temple of Fame, never to fade, never to be alienated-was not only incited to exalted effort by the sympathy and admiration which his works elicited, but he was sustained and encouraged by the high personal esteem and appreciation which his talents procured him-by the influence and station which success brought him as a man, as well as an artist. The noblest names of Greece, were rendered brighter by the fame acquired in imbodying the refined conceptions of the mind in the workmanship of the hand; while in Rome, the artist was merged in his works, and these were mere appendages of pomp and luxury; hence few names of Roman artists have come down to us, while the galaxy of Grecian art is bright with stars of undying lustre.

In the last half of the second century after Christ, there was an obvious decline of good taste in sculpture, and soon after the

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