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(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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1 66 ROMAN DA YS.
but few statues of Ares. An Ares of Scopas, another of
Leocares or Timotheus, a third of Alcamenes ; and be-
sides these, an ancient wooden statue, belonging to a
group in Olympia—these are all. That torso from the
left gable of the Parthenon which is thought to be an
Ares, is as Botticher has proved, an Ericthonius. Oftener,
on the contrary, especially during the decadence of art,
he appears coupled with that Aphrodite who is the god-
dess of unrestrained vice, as on the Roman Ara Casali,
in the Vatican. A wretched Roman work in Florence,
and a few others in the galleries of Rome and in the
Louvre, where one or another emperor is portrayed as
Mars and his empress as Venus, presuppose an elder
model, portraying the god seized by the desire for battle,
but held back by her he loves.
Is it possible, then, that the Melian Venus has be-
longed to such a group ? It seems to me that the artist
has with every stroke of the chisel contradicted this idea.
We do not possess from the antique time a single statue
of a woman more proud and noble, more pure and chaste
than this. The whole spirit of the work rejects the hy-
pothesis of Quatremere de Quincy. All the reasons
within us rise and cry aloud against a conception like his.
Give the Thracian a Venus Kallipygos for a companion
figure, or one of those silly Aphrodites who stand in the
galleries to be looked at, busy with the mirror, or the
bath sponge, or with their nails—one of those pre-Offen-
bachian goddesses of love, whose faces reflect a soul in-
capable of a passion for anything but gladiators and
frippery
!
Even external grounds speak against the hypothesis
of Quatremere. If Ares stood by her side in the love rela-
tion which the French art critic has supposed, why then,

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