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165

(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. 165
statue ; and this must be something more than an accident.
The most beautiful, or to speak more accurately, the only
beautiful statue of Ares to be found, as far as I know, is
that in the Villa Ludovisi—a youth buried in romantic
dreams, with sword in hand and a roguish Eros at his
feet—but when I call him Ares, it is only out of respect
for those high authorities in the world of beauty who
have named him so ; for his features, which recall those
of the " Apoxyomenos," belong rather to the type of the
athletes than of the gods; and the whole seems to me a
figure-piece representing simply a young hero, choosing
and hesitating between warlike feats and love. In the
Louvre is another so-called Ares, a short-legged and
rather clumsy form, of Roman fashioning ; and the other
statues of Ares, which have come down to our day, in-
cluding the imperial statues after the Ares model, stand
for artistic worth not very much higher than this. In
general, it would seem as if Hellenic art in its better days
unwillingly, and without enthusiasm, busied itself with
the god of war. Raised to the dignity of an Olym-
pian, he was yet by birth a Thracian alien, to whom the
Hellene never became quite reconciled. He had few
temples, in Hellas. The poets never could file off the
stupidity and coarseness that from his barbaric cradle
went with him ; nay, caused him on the very battlefield,
where he ought by prerogative to shine, to draw the
shorter straw, not only in competition with the goddess
of wisdom, but with mortal heroes, also. The old Athe-
nian traditions place him before a human tribunal, which
judges him guilty of murder and violence. As far as we
can perceive from classic literature, from Pausanias and
others, he was seldom, as an independent theme, subject
of the Hellenic sculptors’ chisel. Pausanias mentions

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