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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
IX. CLASSICAL CIVILIZATION
» Contents of this ChapterPage 30
THE GREEK GENIUS IN SCULPTURE
The greatest achievement of the Greeks in art was their sculpture. Roman artists surpassed them in the creation of massive architectural works; modern artists have surpassed them in painting. In sculpture the Greeks still remain unexcelled.
LOSS OF THE MASTERPIECES
The existing remains of Greek sculpture are very scanty. The statues of gold and ivory vanished long ago. The bronze statues, formerly numbered by thousands, have nearly all gone into the melting pot. Sculptures in marble were turned into mortar or used as building materials. Those which escaped such a fate were often ruined by wanton mutilation and centuries of neglect. The statues which we still possess are mainly marble copies, made in Roman times from Greek originals. It is as if the paintings by the old masters of Europe, four centuries ago, were now known only in the reproductions by modern artists of inferior powers.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy