481 GREECE-LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, AND ART.
methods known to the Greeks, namely, the overlaying of a statue with hammered plates of
metal. But the rude works of the primitive artists gave but little prophecy of the
splendors of which this style was capable in the hands of a Phidias. To him also was
attributed the famous group of Niobe-that mother of anguish, smitten by the gods for her
After Phidias, PRAXITELES stands highest among the sculptors of the Greeks. His theme was
passionate love. Venus was his ideal. In five statues he gave her the form of marble. His
Aphrodite Knidos is preserved-in a copy-in the museum at Munich.1
At the head of the sculptors of the time of Alexander the Great stood LYSIPPUS. He
introduced a new quality into statuary -that of an ideal refinement upon nature. His works
show a delicacy in limb and member which could hardly be equaled in those of any other
master. So great was the reputation of this artist that Alexander would be modeled by no
other. His most famous work is the Apoxyomenos, now in the Vatican Museum.
After the time of Lysippus two schools of sculpture arose, the one having its seat in
Pergamon and the other in Rhodes. The artists of these schools followed and imitated their
predecessors; but their works in many instances exhibited original force directed by the
hand of genius. The Pergamine sculptors were specially noted for the realistic effects at
which they aimed in their productions, many of which are wonderful in fidelity. Such is
the celebrated piece representing a dying Gaul in the Roman amphitheater-a work which
evoked from the genius of Byron one of his finest stanzas:
1 The Venus of Melos, by an unknown artist, be- longs to this period, and is regarded as
par excellence the most beautiful piece of Grecian sculpture.
"I see before me the gladiator lie; He leans upon his hand-his manly brow Consents to
death, but conquers agony, And his drooped head sinks gradually low- And through his side
the last drops, ebbing slow From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now The arena swims around him-he is gone, Ere
ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch who won."