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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - The Roman Emperors in Marble - 5. Nero

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under the conditions touched on above ; and beauty was
and remained for him the chaplet around the cup of de-
sires. He had no gain to gather from her for the man
within. An imagination playing with pretty forms, does
not fortify him who loses sense of duty when the duty
seems hard, and benevolence when it requires self-sac-
The story of the water-shoot that Greek art shot forth
in Rome remains, in spite of the wealth of galleries, still
in obscurity ; and has certainly not gained in clearness
by theattempts that were previous to the year 1870 made,
in honor of a later Caesarism, to change the shoot into the
full leafage of the tree. One cannot so nicely determine,
therefore, what influence the Neronic era exercised upon
art in Rome ; but that it had a remarkable one, may the
more readily be taken for granted, that the art history
of imperial Rome, more than any other, must resemble
the chronicle of the whims and fancies that followed one
upon another at court, and which the leading judges of
art and the Maecenases faithfully set up to themselves
as models. It is clear that the taste under Nero was
another than that under Augustus. The more severe
style and the sobriety that were still observed by the
Augu.stan age, yielded to a wish to astonish with the
colossal, and captivate with a pleasing and piquant nat-
uralness. Under Hadrian, a learned eclecticism ruled,
with a predilection for idealism ; under the Antonines,
idealism, in a stiff, and if I may say so. Stoic form. Ideal-
ism, more and more feeble and calculated, clears the field
subsequently for a realism that sometimes touches the
limit of the coarse. Art, slave of the high-born, fell, as
was fitting, more and more into the power of their slaves.
Under Septimius Severus, even technical skill has de-

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