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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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was found. In this, I differ from preceding interpreters,
who think that such a grand work of art must have had
a more briUiant fatherland than the Httle-mentioned
Cycladean rock. An area of two Swedish miles, a hand-
ful of inhabitants, that is and that was Melos ! A little
spot like this on the outskirts of the Hellenic world, occu-
pied by olive-growers and sea-folk, who lived and strug-
gled for their material existence, a commonwealth the
name of which is associated with the melon, but not with
the art history of Hellas—how can we believe that our
Aphrodite had her home from the beginning there ?
This was probably the train of thought, when, with-
out farther ceremony, Melos was made to forfeit the first
right of ownership in the most beautiful work of sculp-
ture at the Louvre, and it was taken for granted, that
some time in the lapse of ages it had been " dragged
thither. Investigation has its rules, however ; and one
of them is, that an antique is assigned to the land where
it has been found, unless strong reasons advocate an ex-
ception. Exceptions often occur, but do not abolish the
rule; without which, the doors would be opened to
boundless caprice. But here are only apparent reasons.
Melos herself has refuted them.
For first and foremost, our Aphrodite is not the only
prominent work that was discovered in that ground.
Seven years after it was found, another discovery was
made, less talked of, but hardly less fitted to astonish
those who here expected a sterile soil for art. In the
ruined walls of a temple of ^Esculapius, a colossal statue
of the god of medicine was found ; and this statue is
reckoned among the best works we have, of Hellenic
art. More than one good yEsculapius has come down to
us ; but in none of them appears, as in this, the majesty

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