mistakes begin, and also where their causes become apparent. The selection was influenced to a great degree by the difficulty of obtaining the illustrations as. The story of art by E. H. Gombrich, , Phaidon Publishers, distributed by Oxford University Press edition, in English. The Story of Art, one of the most famous and popular books on art ever written, has been a world bestseller for over four decades. Attracted by the simplicity and .
|Language:||English, Spanish, French|
|ePub File Size:||22.37 MB|
|PDF File Size:||14.87 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Regsitration Required]|
Digital Library of India Item soundofheaven.info: Gombrich dc. soundofheaven.infope: application/pdf soundofheaven.info: The Story Of Art. The Story of Art-E. H. Gombrich - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or view presentation slides online. The Story of Art-E. H. Gombrich. The Story of Art by Gombrich Art eBook (1) - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online.
Matthew for the altar of a church in Rome. We have a curious habit of thinking that nature must always look like the pictures we are accustomed to. The ancient Peruvians liked to shape certain vessels in the form of human heads which are strikingly true to nature Fig. Sometimes they even believe that certain animals are related to them in some fairy-tale manner. It was to mark and honour the house of a powerfiil chieftain. No king and no people would have gone to such expense.
Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. Don't already have an Oxford Academic account? Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.
It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account.
Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article navigation. Volume The Nottingham Trent University.
Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. Article PDF first page preview. Issue Section:. You do not currently have access to this article. Download all figures. Pictures and statues. Their huts are there to shelter them from rain. Instead of beginning with the Ice Age.
I still feel a vague reluctance to harm it. The further we go back in histon. In the past the attitude to paintings and statues was often simikr. Among these primitives. He would be a poor judge of houses who did not know the requirements for which they were built. Suppose we take a picture of our favourite cricketer or film star from today's paper—would we enjoy taking a needle and poking out the eyes?
I do not think so. All that is needed is the will to be absolutely honest with ourselves and see whether we. The same apphes if we leave towns and cities and go to the peasants or. But apart from. They were not thought of as mere works of an but as objects which had a definite function. However well I know with my waking thoughts that what I do to his picture makes no difference to my friend or hero. Negroes in Africa are sometimes as vague as httle children about what is a picture and what is real.
These paintings are as old as any v: There are other tribes who have regular festivals when. In the first place. Museum fiir Volkerkunde trace of human skill. It is m uch more likely that these are the oldest relics of that universal behef in the power of picturemaking. Most of these paintings are astonishingly vivid and lifelike. They date from the Ice Age or thereabouts. But it is very unlikely that they were made for the purpose of decorating the walls of these dark caves.
Of course. There are still primitive peoples who use nothing but stone implements and who scratch pictures of animals on rocks for magic purposes. Many tribes have special cerem. Sometimes they even believe that certain animals are related to them in some fairy-tale manner.
But with children there is always the grown-up B world about them. Again we have not to go far to think of parallels. Its principal features are laid down by custom. It sounds strange enough.
They have all learned their significance from former generations and are so absorbed in them that they have httle chance of stepping outside it and seeing their behaviour critically.
All this may seem to have little to do with art. It is very much as if children played at pirates or detectives till they no longer knew where playacting ended and reality began. Should this branch get a candle?
Is there enough tinsel on top? Perhaps to an outsider the whole performance would look rather strange. For the savage there is no such other world to spoil the iUusion. No living lions are kept on Trafalgar Square—but the British Lion still leads a vigorous hfe in the pages of Punch. The point of a national flag is not to be a beautifully coloured piece of cloth which any maker can change according to his fancy—the point of a wedding ring is not to be an ornament which can be worn or changed as we think fit.
Many of the artists' works are meant to play a pan in these strange customs. We all have behefs which we take as much for granted as the 'primitives' take theirs—usually so much so that we are not even aware of them imless we meet people who question them. For it seems that they sometimes live in a kind of dream-world in which they can be man and animal at the same time.
Even up to our own times. Let us think of the Christmas tree. The Romans believed that Romulus and Remus had been suckled by a she-wolf. They are not expected to change these things. Each family. Only recently a number of bronze heads have been discovered in Nigeria which are the most convincing likenesses of negroes that can be imagined Fig.
He takes the impression it makes as a token of its magic power. British Museum fact that a thing was difficult to make does not necessarily prove that it is a work of art. There is no need to. Just a circle for the head. We should never forget. There is increasing evidence that imder certain conditions native artists can produce work which is just as correct in the rendering of natiu-e as the best work done in any an class.
Does it not look unbearably sad? The poor creature cannot see. Primitive art works on just such pre-estabhshed lines. A wooden pole with these few essential forms is to him new and different. The Maoris of New Zealand. They seem to be many centuries old. Carved wooden lintel from a Maori dueftaafs house. Perhaps we should retiun to ourselves and the experiments we can aU perform. Let us take a piece of paper or ink-bloner and scrawl on it any doodle of a face.
If we realize with what simple tools these works are made we can only manxl at the patience and sureness of touch which these primitive craftsmen have acquired through centuries of speciahzation. We feel we must 'give it eyes'—and what a reUef it is when we make the two dots and at last it can look at us!
To us all this is a joke. But to us. It is important to realize this from the outset. It is not their standard of craftsmanship which is different from ours. But this proof of native skill should warn us against the beUef that their work looks odd because they cannot do it any better. If it were so. Then look at the eyeless doodle. British Museum Strange Beginnings 27 are roughly indicated by this fibre braid. Fig 25 shows the figure of a Polynesian 'God of War' called Oro. AU we see is a piece of wood covered with woven fibre.
We are still not quite in the realm of art. Wood covered with sinnet. God of War. British Museum Bronze head of a negro. Excavated in Nigeria. British Museum Strange Beginnings a.
Let us make the nose a circle and the mouth a scroll. For it taught him to build up his figures or faces out of those forms which he Uked best and which were most suited to his particular craft.
Let us change the shape of the eyes from dots to crosses or any other form which has not the remotest resemblance to real eyes. Worn by members of a secret society. Elema District. A ritual mask from Ken. She was so flattered at these unexpected offerings that she thought of herself as a powerful witch. Among the Red Indians of North America. As hunters. A Haida Red Indian chiefiatn's house. Museum of Natural History. In some parts of the world primitive artists have developed elaborate systems to represent the various figures and totems of their myths in ornamental fashion.
Fig 27 is a model of a chieftain's house among the Haida tribe of Red Indians with three so-called totem poles in front of it. A mask with an eagle's beak just is an eagle. We may see only a jumble of ugly masks.
Here it is: Once there was a young man in the town of Gwais Kun who used to laze about on his bed the whole day till his mother-in-law remarked on it. After a model in the American. When the young man undeceived her at last. New York fantastic or repulsive this 'ghost' may look to us. But they regard one such feature as quite sufficient.
The monster was caught. To us the legend itself is nearly as odd and incoherent as its representation. The mask below the entrance is one of the whales the monster used to eat. The human figures at the end are the children the hero used as bait. The mask with the beak over her is the bird who helped the hero.
The big mask above the entrance is the monster. Head of the Deaih-god. When the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors of the sixteenth century arrived. To us such a work may seem the product of an odd whim. All the participants in this tragedy are represented on the central pole. It is frequently so with works of primitive art.
It took years to cut these huge poles with the primitive tools at the disposal of the natives. From a Maya altar. However little may be known about the exact meaning of such carvings.
After the cast in the British Museum who have rediscovered these works and have tried to get at their secrets have taught us enough to compare them with other works of primitive cultures. All that remains to us of the great civilizations of ancient America is their 'art'. It was to mark and honour the house of a powerfiil chieftain. Without explanation we may not be able to see the point of these works on which so much love and labour were spent. For there are many great works of this kind dating from the strange begiimings of art whose exact explanation is probably lost for ever but which we can still admire.
The ancient Peruvians liked to shape certain vessels in the form of human heads which are strikingly true to nature Fig. The Aztec Rain-god Tlaloc. In these tropical zones rain is often a question of life or death Scholars think that it represents the rain-god.
If most works of these civilizations look weird and imnatural to us. We also know that in earher centuries the Mayas of Central America had built big cities and developed a system of writing and of calculating calendars which is anything but primitive. Like the negroes of Nigeria the pre-Columbian Americans were perfectly capable of representing the htiman face in a lifelike manner.
The Ughtning in the slo. Perhaps even his eyes might be seen as coiled serpents. It was certainly fitting to form the image of the rain-god out of the body of the sacred snakes which embodied the power of lightning. If we look more closely at the figure of Tlaloc we see. About A. British Museum Gaffron CoUecnon crops may fail and they may have to stane. If we ponder the strange mentahty which created these vmcaimy idols we may begin to imderstand how image-making in these early civilizations was not only connected with magic and reUgion but was also the first form of writing.
The sacred serpent in ancient Mexican art was not only the picture of a rattlesnake but could also develop into a sign for lightning and so into a character by which a thunderstorm could be commemorated or.
We also get an inkling of the reasons which may sometimes have led to this method. We see how far the idea of 'building up' a face out of given forms can lead away from our ideas of Ufelike sculpttire. No wonder that the god of rains and thunderstorms assumes in their minds the shape of a terrify-ingly powerful demon. However remote and mysterious they seem. They tell us of a land which was so thoroughly organized that it was possible to pile up these gigantic mounds of stone in the lifetime of a single king.
Crete There is no direct tradition which hnks these strange beginnings with our own days. Australian native. In any case they would presence his sacred body from decay. ME form of an exists everywhere on the globe. The pyramids soaring up to the sky would probably help him to make his ascent.
We know verj' httle about these mysterious origins. The Great Pyramid of Gizeh. Everj-one knows that Egj'pt is the land of the pjTamids. Built about B.
No king and no people would have gone to such expense. The king was considered a divine being who held sway over them. That is why they prevented the corpse from decaying by an elaborate method of.
There is a solemnity and simplicity' about them which one does not easily forget. Some of these early portraits from the pyramid age. He was concerned only with the essentials. Art for Eternity. Everj-svhere round the burial chamber. But it is not only these oldest rehcs of human architecture which tell of the role played by age-old behefs in the story of art.
Nor are they as Ufelike as the naturalistic portraits of the artists of Nigeria. The observation of nature. At first these rites were reserved for kings. It was for the miimmy of the king that the pyramid had been piled up.
Perhaps it is just because of this strict concentration on the basic forms of the human head that these portraits remain so impressive. So they ordered sculptors to chisel the king's portrait out of hard. One sees that the sculptor was not trying to flatter his sitter.
Painting of a Pond. From a tomb in Thebes. We can study it best in the rehefs and paintings that adorned the walls of the tombs.
Instead of real servants. If we had to draw such a motif we might wonder from which angle to approach it. There are many children's drawings which apply a similar principle. The fishes and birds in the pond. The Egyptians had no compunction about this problem. But the Egyptians were much more consistent in their application of these methods than children ever are.
So both feet are seen from the inside. The word 'adorned'. The shape and character of the trees could be seen clearly only from the sides. To us these rehefs and wall-paintings provide an extraordinarily vivid picttire of Hfe as it was hved in Egypt thousands of years ago. They were sacrificed. Perhaps this is conneaed with the different purpose their paintings had to serve. What mattered most was not prettiness but completeness. The top half of the body. It was the artists' task to preserve everjthing as clearly and permanently as possible.
British Museum This combination of geometrical regularity and keen observation of nature is characteristic of all Egyptian art. About B. They preferred the clear outline from the big toe upwards. So they did not set out to sketch nature as it appeared to them from any fortuitous angle. They would simply draw the pond as if it were seen from above.
They merely followed a rule. But if we think of the himian eye we think of it as seen from the front. The head was most easily seen in profile so they drew it sideways. In such a simple picture we can easily understand the artist's procedure.
Their method. But arms and feet in movement are much more clearly seen sideways. For how could a man with his arm Toreshortened' or 'cut off' bring or receive the required offerings to the dead? The point is that Egyptian art is not based on what the artist could see at a given moment. It was out of these forms which he had learned. Superintendent of the Priests. Priest of Horus. Priest of Anubis.
Museum Art for Eternity. On the left side we see him hunting wild-fowl with a kind of boomerang. A Wall from the tomb of Chnenihotep near Bern Hassan. We sometimes call a man a 'big boss'. On top of the door Chnemhotep is seen again.
His name. Royal Acquaintance. Chief of all the Divine Secrets. As we imderstand the. The inscriptions in hierogh'phs tells us exactly who he was. Prince of Menat Chufu. Confidential friend of the King. The trapper sat hidden behind a screen of reed. When the birds had settled down on the bait.
Every bird or fish or butterfly is drawn with such truthfulness that zoologists can still recognize the species. The Egyptian artist began his work by draiving a network of straight lines on the wall.
The inscription round the door records the days on which offerings are to be given to the dead. We even begin to realize the great advantages of the Egyptian method. At least my own do. And yet all this geometrical sense of order did not prevent him from observing the details of nature with amazing accuracy. Behind Chnemhotep is his eldest son Nacht. It is worth while taking a pencil and trying to copy one of these 'primitive' Egyptian drawings. For the Egyptian sense of order in every detail is so strong that any little variation seems to upset it entirely.
On the right side. It is one of the greatest things in Egyptian art that all the statues. Portrait head of limestone. Once more we can observe the conventions of the Egyptian artist who lets the water rise among the reeds to show us the clearing with the fish. Kunsthistorisches Museum over them. I think when we have become accustomed to looking at these Egyptian pictures we are as little troubled by their unrealities as we are by the absence of colour in a photograph.
Below is an amusing episode with one of the men who had fallen into the water being fished out by his mates. Here it was not only his great knowledge which guided the artist. The inscription says: It is very difficult to explain in words what makes a style. Nothing in these pictures gives the impression of being haphazard. Our attempts always look clumsy. We call such a law. When the palace of their king at Cnossos was excavated some fifty years ago. The Egyptian style was a set of very strict laws which every artist had to learn from his earliest youth.
He had to cut the images and symbols of the hieroglyphs clearly and accurately in stone. The rules which govern all Egyptian art give every individual work the effect of poise and austere harmony. No one wanted anything different. He did not wish to pay homage to the many strangely shaped gods of his people. He was a king of the Eighteenth Dynasty. He broke with many of the customs hallowed by an age-old tradition. Ahknaton's successor was Tutankhamen. For him only one god was supreme.
Only one man ever shook the iron bars of the Egyptian style. He called himself Akhnaton. Some of his portraits show him as an ugly man Fig. Everything that was considered good and beautiful in the times of the pyramids was held to be just as excellent a thousand years later. Every artist also had to learn the art of beautiful script. This king. Some of these works are stiU in the modem style of the Aton rehgion—particularly the back of the king's throne Fig.
Seated statues had to have their hands on their knees. On the contrary. His wife is no smaller than he is. But once he had mastered all these rules he had finished his apprenticeship. On an island overseas. It is not impossible that this reform of art in the Eighteenth Draasty was made easier for the king because he could point to foreign works that were much less strict and rigid than the Egyptian products.
In them none of the solemn and rigid dignin. This is at least partly due to accident. The art of. Already during the reign of Tutankhamen the old beliefs were restored. Many Egyptian works in our museums date from this later period. The main reason is probably that these. Gilt and painted woodwork from the throne found in his tomb.
New thanes were introduced and new tasks performed. A dagger from Mycenae. We all know from. Even sculpture in stone was comparatively rare. There were no stone quarries in these valleys. Made about B.
Museum Art for Etemiiy bviildings such as tanples and palaces. Museum But this opening up of Egyptian art did not last long. The Egyptian style. Fragmattof Ur. Made abou: Graves of this penod have recently been discovered. Monument of King Karam-sin found in Susa. Perhaps they thought that. Perhaps the idea behind these monuments was not only to keep the memon. In later times such monuments developed into complete picture-chronicles of the king's.
We do not know exactly what these fabulous animals were meant to signify. Though artists in Mesopotamia were not called upon to decorate the walls of tombs. In early times. They look rather like our heraldic beasts. They are kept in the British Museum. In any case. The best preserved of these chronicles dates from a relatively late period. There we see all the episodes of a well-organized campaign.
But as we look more carefully we discover a curious fact: Museum centun. But perhaps we can take a slightly more charitable view of these old Assyrians. Perhaps they did not want to represent wounded Assyrians for some such strange reason. On all these monuments which glorify' the warlords of the past. As one looks at them.. The art of boasting and propaganda was well advanced in these early days..
You just appear. Perhaps even they w ere still ruled by the old superstition which has come into this story so often: Wall-painting from a tomb in Thebes. IT was in the great oasis lands. Xo one knows exactly who the people were who ruled in Crete. They were the hiding-places oi adventurous seamen. Designed by iktinls. The main centre of these areas was originally the island of Crete. These regions were not subject to one ruler. An Egyptian craftsman at work on a golden sphinx.
We only know that. The space between these beams is called metope. These crossbeams are called architraves. Probably the earliest of such temples were built of timber. British Museum of Greece and to the shores of Asia Minor. About the year B. These ends were usually marked with three sUts. We can see traces of the timber structure in the upper pan. In the first few centuries of their domination of Greece the art of these tribes looked harsh and primitive enough.
The wooden props were turned into columns which supported strong crossbeams of stone. The mourning of the dead. This was the tribe to which the Spartans. If the builders had used simple square pillars. There is. He is lying on his bier. The astonishing thing in these early temples. From a Greek vase in the 'Geometric Style' made about B. The Greek tribes had settled down in various small cities and harbour-towns. Athens m Attica became by far the most famous and the most important in the history of art.
It was here. Though some of these temples are large and imposing. In faa. Found in Delphi. The result is that they look almost as though they were elastic. One feels that they were biult by human beings. Statue of a Youth. It almost seems as if they were Hving beings who carried their loads with ease. The painters followed suit. These painted vessels are generally called vases.
Museum most astonishing revolution in the whole history of art bore fruit. They had set out on a road on which there was no turning back. But the Greek artists were not easily frightened by these difficulties. The painting of these vases developed into an important industry in Athens. Every Greek sculptor wanted to know how he was to represent a particular body. We know Uttle of their work except what the Greek writers tell us.
When Greek artists began to make statues of stone. But their bodies are no longer drawn in the. Perhaps he did not quite succeed. The smile might look like an embarrassed grin. The only way in which we can form a vague idea of what Greek painting was like is by looking at the pictures on pottery.
We know that before that time the artists of the old Oriental empires had striven for a peculiar kind of perfection. It is hard to tell when and where this revolution began—perhaps roughly at the time when the first temples of stone were being built in Greece.
In the early vases. The experiments of the Greek artists sometimes misfired. He was obviously interested in finding out what knees really looked like. Once this revolution had begun. But it also shows that the artist who made this statue was not content to follow any formula.
One discovered how to chisel the trunk. The sculptors in their workshops tried out new ideas and new ways of representing the human figure. We see the two heroes from Homer. The Greeks began to use their eyes. The Egyptians had based their art on knowledge. Their eyes still look as seen from in front. They had tried to emulate the art of their forefathers as faithfully as possible.
It was no longer a question of learning a ready-made formula for representing the human body. Both figures are still shown strictly in profile. The Great Awakening Achilles and Ajax. Yet another would discover that he could make a face come alive by simply bending the mouth upwards so that it appeared to smile.
The painter had obviously tried to imagine what it would really look like if two people were facing each other in that way.
He was no longer afraid of showing only a small part of Achilles' left hand, the rest being hidden behind the shoulder.
He no longer thought that anything he knew to be there must also be shown. Once this ancient rule was broken, once the artist began to rely on what he saw, a veritable landslide started. It was a tremendous moment in the history of art when, perhaps a Httle before B. A Greek vase Fig. We see a yoimg warrior putting on his armour for battie. His parents on either side, who assist him and probably give him good advice, are still represented in rigid profile.
The head of the youth in the middle is also shown in profile, and we can see that the painter did not find it too easy to fit this head on to the body, which we see from the front.
The right foot, too, is still drawn in the 'safe' way, but the left foot is foreshortened —we see the five toes Uke a row of five littie circles. It may seem exaggerated to dwell for long on such a small detail, but it really meant that the old art was dead and buried. Greek vase in the 'Biacp. C Vatican. Museum The Great Awakening. The Warrior's Leavetaking. After a vase of the 'Redfigiired Style' signed by edthymides, about B. Munich, Antiquarium saw an object. And immediately beside the foot he showed what he meant.
He drew the youth's shield, not in the shape in which we might see it in our imagination as a roimd, but seen from the side, leaning against a wall. Greek artists snll tried to make their figures as clear in outline as possible, and to include as much of their knowledge of the human body as would go into the picture without doing violence to its appearance. They stiU loved firm outlines and balanced design.
They were far from tn'ing to copy any casual glimpse of nature as they saw it. Only they no longer considered it sacred in every detail. It is the time when people in the Greek cities began to question the old traditions and legends about the gods, and inquired without prejudice into the nature of things.
It is the time when science, as we understand the term todzy, and philosophy first awoke among men, and when the theatre first developed out of the ceremonies in honour of Dionysus. Artists worked with their hands, and they worked for a hving.
They sat in their foundries, covered with sweat and grime, they toOed hke ordinary- naxxies, and so they were not considered full members of the Greek societj-. It was at the time when Athenian democracy' had reached its highest level that Greek art came to the summit of its development.
After Athens had defeated the Persian invasion, the people, under the leadership of Pericles, began to build again what the Persians had destroyed. In B. Pericles was no snob. The ancient writers imply that h; treated the artists of his time as his equals. The fame of Pheidias is foimded on works which no longer exist. There are many passages like the following from Jeremiah x. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
They are upright as the pakntree, but speak not: Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
But his words would apply almost exacdy to the works of Pheidias, made only a few centuries after the prophet's lifetime. Athena Parthenos.
Roman marble copy after a big temple statue made by pheidias between and B. Athens, National Museum that thousands and tens of thousands of worshippers may have approached them with hope and fear in their hearts—wondering, as the prophet says, whether these statues and graven images were not really at the same time gods themselves. The sculptures in our museums are, for the most part, only secondhand copies made in Roman times for travellers and colleaors as souvenirs, and as decorations for gardens or public baths.
We must be very grateful for these copies, because they give us at least a faint idea of the famous masterpieces of Greek an; but unless we use our imagination these weak imitations can also do much harm. They are largely responsible for the widespread idea that Greek art was hfeless, cold and insipid, and that Greek statues had that chalky appearance and vacant look The Great Azi: Hercules carrying the Heorcetis. From the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Olympiaj Museum which reminds one of old-fashioned drawing classes.
The only copy of the great idol of Pallas Athene, for instance, which Pheidias made for her temple in the Parthenon Fig. We must mm to old descriptions and try to picture what it was like: There was also plenty. There were griffons on the golden helmet of the goddess, and the eyes of a huge snake which was coiled inside the shield were, no doubt, also marked by shining stones.
It must have been an awe-inspiring and tincanny sight when one entered the temple and suddenly stood tace to face with this gigantic statue. There was no doubt something almost primitive and savage in some of its features, something which still linked an idol of this kind with the ancient superstitions against which the prophet Jeremiah had preached.
But alreadv these primitive ideas about the gods as formidable demons who dwelt in the statues had ceased to be the main thing. Pallas Athene, as Pheidias saw her and as he fashioned her statue, was more than the mere idol of a demon. The Athene of Pheidias was hke a great human being.
The temple in Oh-mpia is the older one; it was perhaps begun round about B. That was a task which even Hercules could not, or would not, perform. On this relief Atlas is shown returning with the golden apples to Hercules, who stands taut beneath his htige load.
Athene, his amning helper in all his deeds, has put a cushion on his shoulder to make it easier for him. In her right hand she once held a metal spear. The whole storj- is told with a wonderful simplicity and clarity. We feel that the artist still preferred to show a figure in a straightforward attitude, from the front or side. Athene is shown squarely facing us, and only her head is turned sideways towards Hercules.
It is not difficult to sense in these figures the lingering influence of the rules which governed Egyptian an. For these rules had ceased to be a hindrance, cramping the artist's freedom. The old idea that it was important to show the structure of the body—its main hinges, as it were, which help us to realize how it all hangs together—spurred the artist on to explore the anatomy of the bones and muscles, and to build up a convincing picture of the human figure which remains visible even under the flow of the draper.
The way, in faa, in which Greek artists used the draper " to mark these main divisions of the body still shows what importance they attached to the knowledge of form. It is this balance between an adherence to rules and a freedom within the rules which has made Greek art so much admired in later centuries. It is for this that artists have returned again and again to the masterpieces of Greek art for guidance and inspiration.
The tj-pe of work which Greek artists were frequentiy asked to do may have helped them to perfect their knowledge of the human body in action. A temple like that of Olympia was surrounded by statues of victorious athletes dedicated to the gods. To us this may seem a strange custom for, however popular ouur champions may be, we do not expect them to have their poruaits made and presented to a church in thanksgiving for a victory achieved in the latest match.
They were much more closely connected with the rehgious beUefs and rites of the people. It was to find out on whom this blessing of victoriousness rested that the games were originally held, and it was to commemorate and perhaps to perpetuate these signs of divine grace that the winners commissioned their statues from the most renowned artists of the time. The Great Awakening Head of the bronze statue of j Delphi, Museum Diggings in Olj'mpia have unearthed a good many of the pedestals on which these famous statues rested, but the statues themselves have disappeared.
They were mostly made of bronze and were probably melted down when metal became scarce in the Middle Ages. Only in Delphi has one of these statues been found, the figure of a charioteer whose head is shown in Fig. It is amazingly different from the general idea one may easily form of Greek art when one only looks at copies. The hair, eyes and lips were sHghtly gilt which gave an effect of richness and warmth to the whole face.
And yet such a head never looked gaudy or Milgar. We can see that the artist was not out to imitate a real face with all its imperfections but that he shaped it out of his knowledge of the himian form. We do not know whether the charioteer is a good likeness— probably it is no 'likeness' at all in the sense in which we understand the word.
But it is a convincing image of a human being, of wonderful simphcity and beauty. Works like this which are not even mentioned by the classical Greek writers remind us what we must have lost in the most famous of these statues of athletes such as the 'Discus Thrower' by the Athenian sculptor Myron, who probably belonged to the same generation as did Pheidias.
Various copies of this work have been found which allow us at least to form a general idea of what it looked like Fig. He has bent down and swung his arm backwards so as to be able to throw with greater force. At the next moment he will spin round and let fly, supporting the throw with a turn of his body.
But this has proved less easy than they had hoped. They had forgonen that Ai5Ton's statue is not a 'still' from a sports reel but a Greek work of art. Standing in front of the statue and Thinking only of its outlines we become suddenly aware of its relation to the tradition of Egyptian art.
But imder his hands this old. Discus 7: Roman marble copy, after a bronze siarue by M y R o K. Mvmich,, Gh-ptothek The Great Awakening 6i. Detail from the marble frieze of the Parthenon. Londonj British Museum. About n. What matters is that Myron conquered movement just as the painters of his time conquered space. Detail from the procession of horsemen. Instead of fitting these views together into an unconvincing likeness of a rigid pose.
Of all Greek originals which have come down to us the sculptures from the Parthenon reflect this new freedom perhaps in the most wonderful way. Whether or not this corresponds to the exact movement most suitable for throwing the discus is hardly relevant. The Parthenon Fig. We do not know who the sculptors were who made these decorations of the temple. The first we see in our fragment is the horses. Foreshortening no longer presented a great problem to the artist.
The arm with the shield is drawn with perfect ease. He has retained something of the artistic wisdom of arrangement which Greek art derived from the Egj-ptians and from the training in geometrical patterns which had preceded the Great Awakening. Soon we see that the same must also have been true of the human figures. However much he may have enjoyed this conquest of space and movement.
However Uvely and spirited the groups have become. There were always games and sports displays during these festivities. British Museum of the goddess. To us the colour and texture of fine marble is something so wonderful that we would never want to cover it with paint. Not only is part of the surface broken off. But all these new discoveries do not 'run away' with the artist. It is such a display that is shown in Fig. We can imagine from the traces that are left how freely they moved and how clearly the muscles of their bodies stood out.
National iViuseum great periods show this wisdom and skill in the distribution of figures. The Greek rehef has shed all these awkward limitations. The bronze foundry tcith sketches on the wall. The Egj'ptian work. From a Greek bowl. Greek Sculptor's Xforkshop. The relief shows Hegeso. Tombstone of Hegeso. It is a quiet scene which we might compare to the Egyptian representation of Tutankhamen on his throne with his wife adjusting his collar page Man at work on a headless statue.