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161

(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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ANTIQUE STATUES. l6l
that, in the best view of the case, they had seen it in a
vision. The work was by Praxiteles.
One of the few who suspected that all was not as it
should be, was the distinguished inquirer, Mr. de Long-
p6rier. Many years passed, however, before he found
himself in a position to undertake an investigation in the
Louvre itself. He has searched the vault of the museum,
even dug under its floor, in the hope of finding the miss-
ing marble tablet with the artist’s name. But in vain.
He has since openly expressed the opinion that the
Messrs. Percier and Fontaine mentioned, had purposely
destroyed the inscription. The barbarity with which at
that time memorials of antiquity were treated, as he says,
leaves no room for doubt that they were capable of this.
In a letter from the year 1868, he writes to professor
Friederichs in Berlin :
" I know both Messieurs Debay
intimately enough to be positively sure that neither of
them understood a word of Greek. So they could not
have invented the inscription."
One thing is sure : the pedestal of the statue had un-
dergone a change in the workshop of the Louvre. What
is left of the old pedestal has been fitted into newly added
blocks of marble. Another thing is also sure : publicly,
and in writing, no one dared challenge Debay’s drawing—
-
in which is to be read on the pedestal in distinct letters
the inscription reproduced above—although an occasion
to do so often presented itself. Mr. de Marcellus who
every now and then wrote about the Melian Venus,
something that was at the same time a hymn of praise to
himself, and ought to have borne as motto the Virgilian
" Tu Marcellus eris," even he mentions that the younger
Debay copied the statue in the laboratorium of the
Louvre, and that it was that drawing which Count de

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