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156

(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 - Antique Statues - 1. The Aphrodite of Melos

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I 56 ROMAN DA YS.
nobly-developed woman’s form. In the whole, and in
every part, one finds " the full-blown flower of womanly
beauty." In every contour there is a moderation that
includes luxuriance and excludes weakness. To the flesh,
the words of Homer have been applied, " it blooms with
eternal youth ;" and anything comparable to it, will not
have been seen, be it in the sculptured works of the old
or the new. Even the manner in which the outer skin,
the " epidermis," is reproduced in the marble, is praised
as unsurpassable. After rubbing with pumice-stone, to
let the chisel skim lightly over the surface of the marble,
was customary with the Hellenic sculptors of the good
period, when they wished to produce the effect of a skin
warm with life, and soft as velvet. On far too many an-
tique works, however, this outer skin has been destroyed
by polishing. But here, nothing of the kind has taken
place : the naked parts shine like an elastic cellular tissue,
in the warm tint of the Parian marble.
Durin<j the general enthusiasm, the French art-critics
had not forgotten the requirements of their science. It
belonged to them to find out whom the statue represents,
to what master, school or time it should be ascribed, and
in what action it had originally been engaged. Above
all, the last question forced itself upon the beholder ; for
the statue, as it was when it was set up in the Louvre,
lacked arms, and will probably lack them always.
Whom does this statue represent ? A doubting Ger-
man or a cautious Italian would probably have begun by
asking, not what goddess he had before him, but if it were
a goddess. For while the work in its entirety shows that
it came into existence at a time when the ideal types of
the gods had long since reached their full development,
the features of the Melian statue vary so much from the

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