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158

(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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158 ROMAN DAYS.
rodite was the fairest woman in Olympus ; the French
art-critics and poets, that the fairest woman must be
Aphrodite.
So comes the question, by whom it was made. As a
beginning, all agreed that only one of the greatest Hel-
lenic masters, one of those whose names are in every man’s
mouth, could be author of the work. They had, then,
to choose between Phidias, Polyclete, Myron, Scopas,
Praxiteles, Lysippus. We are, to be sure, at this very
hour, in spite of increased discoveries and more search-
ing investigations, in want of guidance, to distinguish
with any certainty between all these masters and their
schools—sharp as the boundary lines undoubtedly are
between Phidias and Myron, for instance, or Polyclete
and Lysippus. Even the art judges of the antique time,
who had opportunity to see and compare works of Scopas
and Praxiteles, hesitated between the one and the other,
when the report of the master was doubtful, and the work
did not bear his name. But—" la Venus de Milo " was
by Praxiteles. As it is troublesome to have only a pos-
sibility, where one would have certainty, and as no un-
challengeable witness could be conjured out of Elysium
to testify the contrary, so—the Louvre undoubtedly pos-
sessed a work by the same hand that had created the
Cnidan Aphrodite, that illustrious work, for the possession
of which a Bithynian king in vain offered to pay the
Cnidan national debt. King Louis XVIII, his court,
and the whole public, talked of " Praxiteles’ masterpiece,"
when they spoke of the Melian Venus. The Louvre had
thus obtained a compensation for the treasures of beauty
which the French had been obliged to return to their
rightful owners. At what price, was not mentioned, and

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