**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Marbles Of Aegina
by [?]

And together with this touching power there is also in this work the effect of an early simplicity, the charm of its limitations. For as art which has passed its prime has sometimes the charm of an absolute refinement in taste and workmanship, so immature art also, as we now see, has its own attractiveness in the naivete, the freshness of spirit, which finds power and interest in simple motives of feeling, and in the freshness of hand, which has a sense of enjoyment in mechanical processes still performed unmechanically, in the spending of care and intelligence on every touch. As regards Italian art, the sculpture and paintings of the earlier Renaissance, the aesthetic value of this naivete is now well understood; but it has its value in Greek sculpture also. There, too, is a succession of phases through which the artistic power and purpose grew to maturity, with the enduring charm of an unconventional, unsophisticated freshness, in that very early stage of it illustrated by these marbles of Aegina, not less than in the work of Verrocchio and Mino of Fiesole. Effects of this we may note in that sculpture of Aegina, not merely in the simplicity, or monotony even, of the whole composition, and in the exact and formal correspondence of one gable to the other, but in the simple readiness with which the designer makes the two second spearmen kneel, against the probability of the thing, so as just to fill the space he has to compose in. The profiles are still not yet of the fully developed Greek type, but have a somewhat sharp prominence of nose and chin, as in Etrurian design, in the early sculpture of Cyprus, and in the earlier Greek vases; and the general proportions of the body in relation to the shoulders are still somewhat archaically slim. But then the workman is at work in dry earnestness, with a sort of hard strength in detail, a scrupulousness verging on stiffness, like that of an early Flemish painter; he communicates to us his still youthful sense of pleasure in the experience of the first rudimentary difficulties of his art overcome. And withal, these figures have in them a true expression of life, of animation. In this monument of Greek chivalry, pensive and visionary as it may seem, those old Greek knights live with a truth like that of Homer or Chaucer. In a sort of stiff grace, combined with a sense of things bright or sorrowful directly felt, the Aeginetan workman is as it were the Chaucer of Greek sculpture.