late archaic and early greek sculpture

Download Late Archaic and Early Greek Sculpture

Post on 27-May-2017

218 views

Category:

Documents

4 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

  • 4 ANNUAL LECTURE ON ASPECTS OF ART

    schools, and thus we often lack a sound criterion for a piecewhich we may suspect to have been imported into theWest.

    One other difficulty is perhaps worth mentioning: therarity of references by ancient authors to the artists ofSicily and South Italy. But this is hardly to be regardedas a disadvantage. If you wish to study the activity of amainland artist, Ageladas of Argos, for example, you cantake your choice of half a dozen more or less contradictorystatements picked from the more or less corrupt texts ofhalf a dozen more or less biased ancient writers. Betterno chart than a false one. And although literary traditionsare not always so garbled as this, there is really no sounderevidence than that which may be culled from the solidobjects of bronze, marble, silver, and terracotta. The chiefmethod used must of necessity be that of comparison ofstyles, and this is sometimes fallible. Yet, in the main, itis trustworthy. To take a recent example, Langlotz hasstudied many of the surviving archaic Greek marbles andbronzes, and has arranged them in groups according tosimilarities of style. Some of his attributions are doubtful,but there are few scholars who will not admit that eachgroup contains a nucleus of works resembling each other.I

    But even if resemblances are established, what do theyimply? What may be the relationship of two pieces ofsculpture which look like each other? Was one made bythe same artist as the other? Or was it made by anotherartist working in the same school? Or was it made by an

    r In his llligriechische Bildhauerschulen. If a demonstration of the poten-tial accuracy of such arrangements be needed-an easy scepticism to-wards them has becorne customary in certain quarters-let the sceptictake all the pictures from Punch for the last two or three (or the lastfifty) years, obliterate the artist's names, and then ask any one witha reasonably keen eye for the style to arrange them in stylistic groups,.At least ninety per cent. of the pictures can be correctly attributed, anda number of modifications brought about by one artist's knowledge of

    another's work can be indicated. This is not an exact analogy, for

    tradition worked rather differently in Greecel but it is a useful com-

    parison.

    GREEK SCULPTURE IN SICILY AND SOUTH ITALY 5artist of some workshop abroad, imitating the importedproducts of that school, or perhaps actually taking histraining from an immigrant of that school? Or again, mayit have been the work of an emigrant himself from theoriginal school, gradually changing its style and his ownas his personality developed in a new environment? O.,finally, is it simply a question of time, and the generalsimilarity due to those impalpable factors, the ceaselesspermeation of which through all the world produces whatwe call the spirit of the age, and affects everyone irrespec-tive of nationality? The task may well seem hopeless. I donot think it is hopeless if we work from the certain or fairlycertain to the less certain. Let us see how far the evidenceleads us.

    The remains which concern us do not consist only ofsculpture in the narrower sense, that is, marble sculptureand bronze statuary. There are coins, and there are terra-cottas. The sculptures and bronzes are comparatively few,and they are untrustworthy evidence in so far as they mayhave been imported. For the absence in ancient records ofSicilian and South Italian sculptors' names may corre-spond to a real absence of sculptors: and one of the reasonsfor believing that much of the sculpture was not madelocally is that marble must have been scarce and expensive.There are no quarries in these regions, and it is easier toimport a statue than the rough block, which weighs nearlytwice as much.r

    Sculpture is scarce. But both terracottas and coins areextremely numerous, and both have special value asevidence-the coins, because they bear the name of the

    ' Even old-established schools in Greece, like that of Argos, which

    were distant from supplies of marble' must have worked mainly in

    bronze perforce. The difficulty of transport without railways or

    metalled roads must have made marble precious indeed for the towns

    situated inland. By sea it was easier, and Aegina, whilst normally

    favouring bronze, seems to have had little trouble in obtaining the

    material for her pedimental sculptures.

  • 6 ANNUAL LBCTURE ON ASPECTS OF ART

    city by which they were issued; the terracottas, because,although they were commonly exported, yet if a statuetteor a plaque is proved to be of local clay it is almost cer-tainly of local manufacture.I The value of this evidenceis somewhat lessened because foreign artists might be im-ported who would work in the local clay, or moulds forterracottas might be imported. So with coins, a foreignengraver might be brought in, and occasionally even a pairof dies for coins.2 But obviously the dies for the ordinaryissues of coinage must, from mere convenience, have beenmade in the city itself, where they could be supervised,and the improper use of them prevented.

    I Admirable studies have already been made on the coins, notably

    by English scholars ofthe older generation, whose names are everywherefamiliar-Head, Percy Gardner, Evans, Hill (references in Hill, Coinsof Ancient Sial7, passim). Many of the terracottas have been publishedby the father of archaeology in Sicily and South Italy, Professor Orsi,to whom every archaeologist who works there must be grateful. But sofar we lack a systematic classification of all the known pieces-thosemade for the adornment of architecture are as important as the rest-by the evidence of the clay used in their manufacture. Thus my ownsuggestions of the origin of certain pieces, being based on the pro-venience and the style rather than on the clay, are tentative, and I donot stress this section of the evidence, though it is clearly of greatimportance. So important is it that any one who has handled a largenumber of these terracottas and is then given a new find of them canrapidly sort them (naturally with some borderJine pieces) into importsfrom Greece; imports from elsewhere in Sicily and South Italy; localmanufactures: and this gives excellent criteria for the study of otherworks of art. Miss M. Wynn Thomas, who has been working for someyears on South Italian and Sicilian terracottas, has generously givenme access to her material and leave to reproduce her photographs of twopieces (figs. 7 and 8), with the assurance that they are of Tarentine clay.

    2 By foreign is meant not, or not necessarily, a man of non-Greekblood, but rather a Greek from abroad, as distinct from the colonistpvrho may have been more or less in or more or less out of touch withGreece for some hundreds of years. This factor of distance, fruitful inmisunderstandings even to-day, potent enough to make the characterof art in the British Dominions notably different from that of themother country, must have been potent also in antiquity.

    GREEK SCULPTURB IN SICILY AND SOUTH ITALY 7Moreover, coins provide a firm basis for study in the link-

    ing of dies. These die-sequences are a valuable check on style.Comparisons of various die-sequencesr with sequences ob-tained by arranging the coins according to their supposedstylistic development show that the stylistic arrangementis sound for general trend, but cannot be trusted to withina few years for actual dating. The die-sequences on thewhole do not run counter to the style-sequences, but theyfrequently cut across them.

    Before turning to any of the solid remains, it will be aswell to recall the history of the period-roughly the lastyears of the sixth century and the first half of the fifth.What historical records we have are important in that theyprofess to give several fixed dates and facts; but they arenothing more than a sketch, and exact detail cannot besatisfactorily filled in.

    The end of the sixth century sees tyrants succeedingoligarchs through most of Sicily, and then two tyrantssucceeding many, Theron of Acragas, and Gelon, first ofGela, afterwards-in 485-of Syracuse and most of EasternSicily. The battle of Himera, in which these two defeatedthe Carthaginians, is believed to have been fought on thesame day as Salamis, and took the place of Salamis inthe minds of Western Greeks. Diodorus tells us that theamount of slave-labour from the prisoners captured thereenabled the cities of Sicily to enrich and adorn themselves.z

    r These comparisons I have been enabled to make by the kindness ofMr. E. S. G. Robinson of the British Museum, and ofMr. H. Herzfelder.Mr. Herzlblder has worked out the sequences of the Catanaean coins,and most generously placed his results at my disposal; Mr. Robinsonhas helped me in many ways on innumerable occasions.

    I take this opportunity of thanking Professor J. D. Beazley, Mr. H.G. G. Payne, and Sir George Hill for help the value of which is notless because its exact scope cannot be defined.

    " We may thus expect (and do, indeed, find, at least in the coins) anoutburst ofartistic activity. It is an interesting speculation how far therace of these captive workmen affected the work on which they wereemployed.

  • B ANNUAL LECTURE ON ASPECTS OF ART

    Hieron succeeded Gelon, and proceeded to make mattersvery hard for the Ionian cities north of Syracuse. In 476he transferred the inhabitants of Sicilian Naxos to Leon-tini, and turned out the people of Catana, replacing themby settlers of his own and calling the new city Aetna.Hieron died in 467, and was succeeded by Thrasybulus.Within a year Thrasybulus had most of the cities of Sicilyin revolt and was himself driven out. There followed avery troubled time, ended by a general congress and agree-ment in 46r. Catana became Chalcidian again, theNaxians returned to their city, and there ensued a p

Recommended

View more >