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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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THE ROMAN EMPERORS IN MARBLE. 6l
and must resign herself to her fate. The goddess of love,
indeed, was the ancestral mother of the Julian race ; and
so her attributes, if not her beauty, go down to every
mother by the Caesarian fireside, in a manner like that
in which the pope inherits St. Peter’s keys, perhaps with-
out inheriting his faith. And thus the artist has to im-
mortalize her undraped charms ; and he does it truthfully,
so that the little cupid, who with finger to mouth stands
there at the foot of the statue, cannot possibly whisper
to these charms anything but—veil yourselves !
One may say, besides, that the subtlest flattery were
to confine himself to the truth, which ought to be good
enough not to need correction by art.
This was in any case required by prudence ; for would-
be wits and satirists were very numerous on the market,
and in the assembly-rooms, and at the bath, where the
imperial statues were exhibited. Flattery would have
challenged ridicule. The grounds on which Sturleson
bears favorable testimony of the ancient songs of the ex-
ploits of great men, when the songs were sung before
the men themselves, are valid also with regard to the
faithfulness of the imperial statues: a variation from truth,
based on vanity and apparent to all
—" that would have
been mockery, but not praise."
Only in the statues and reliefs that portray an empe-
ror in his apotheosis, can idealization be discovered ; and
that, such as would transfigure nature without correct-
ing it.
We must believe, therefore,’ that Claudius had these
attractive features. All his statues, by various chisels,
and of different degrees of merit, unanimously bear wit-
ness to this. And it is not contradicted by his biogra-
ohers. They have, indeed, made merr^’ over his pedantic

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