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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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ANTIQUE STATUES. I
55
Louvre. Judges of art, lovers of art, and inquisitive
people flocked to the Louvre, to see and enjoy. Poets
came and were enraptured. And they were poets who
knew how to give their rapture words: Chateaubriand,
de Lamartine, Victor Hugo. " Never has Greece given
us a more striking proof of her greatness," exclaimed the
first of these. It was generally said that no other than
Praxiteles could have created this glorious statue ; and
long before a more thorough investigation could be made,
this surmise had settled into an article of faith, not least
with King Louis XVIII himself.
Much of what was then said in praise of the master-
piece, was repeated by a younger generation of writers,
by Alfred de Musset, Heinrich Heine, Theophile Gautier,
and is still repeated, to-day, on perfectly valid grounds,
by the foremost judges of art, though scarcely any one
will now believe that he has a work of Praxiteles before
him. The oftener one sees the Melian Venus, the more
readily will one with a laugh excuse the idolatrous wor-
ship Heine offered her. It is not to be denied, that as
one approaches this statue, one is surprised by the grand-
iose lines and elastic forms that the marble displays, and
one cannot look long into that passionless face, where
loftiness of soul, pride and womanly gentleness are mani-
fest, or upon that figure of the noblest symmetry, rounded
by health, strength and loveliness, or receive the impres-
sion of that serious and dignified bearing, from which
every thought of attracting the eye is as far removed as
possible, without feeling that one breathes as it were a
purer air, and is animated by a chaste warmth.
Briefly, in every stroke of the chisel, art judges will
discover evidence of the fine perception the Hellenic
master had for every expression, even the slightest, of a

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