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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

F. B. Tarbell, A History of Ancient Greek Art

The transitional period of Greek Sculpture. 480-450 B. C.

Olympia monuments

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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Page 2

(...) The workmanship here displayed is rapid and far from faultless. Unlike the Aeginetan pediment-figures and those of the Parthenon, these figures are left rough at the back. Moreover, even in the visible portions there are surprising evidences of carelessness, as in the portentously long left thigh of the Lapith. It is, again, evidence of rapid, though not exactly of faulty, execution, that the hair is in a good many cases only blocked out, the form of the mass being given, but its texture not indicated. In the pose of the standing figures, with the weight borne about equally by both legs, we see a modified survival of the usual archaic attitude. A lingering archaism may be seen in other features too; very plainly, for example, in the arrangement of Apollo's hair. The garments represent a thick woolen stuff, whose folds show very little pliancy. The drapery of Sterope should be especially noted, as it is a characteristic example for this period of a type which has a long history She wears the Doric chiton, a sleeveless woolen garment girded and pulled over the girdle and doubled over from the top. The formal, starched-looking folds of the archaic period have disappeared. The cloth lies pretty flat over the chest and waist; there is a rather arbitrary little fold at the neck. Below the girdle the drapery is divided vertically into two parts; on the one side it falls in straight folds to the ankle, on the other it is drawn smooth over the bent knee.

Another interesting fact about these sculptures is a certain tendency toward realism. The figures and faces and attitudes of the Greeks, not to speak of the Centaurs, are not all entirely beautiful and noble. This is illustrated by Fig. 109, a bald- headed man, rather fat. Here is realism of a very mild type, to be sure, in comparison with what we are accustomed to nowadays; but the old men of the Parthenon frieze bear no disfiguring marks of age. Again, in the face of the young Lapith whose arm is being bitten by a Centaur, there is a marked attempt to express physical pain; the features are more distorted than in any other fifth century sculpture, except representations of Centaurs or other inferior creatures. In the other heads of imperiled men and women in this pediment, e.g., in that of the bride, the ideal calm of the features is overspread with only a faint shadow of distress.


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