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198

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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198 ROMAN JJAtX
Of all the works of art that point to Antinous, there
is none so hard to interpret as the San Ildefonso group
in the museum at Madrid. Formerly the property of
queen Christina, who bought it in, at Rome, it came with
the Odescalchi collection to Spain, where it long stood
in the palace from which it has obtained its name.*
Two youths, entirely nude, crowned with wreaths, stand
side by side, both looking toward the same point, with
the gaze inclined downwards, as if towards an abyss that
yawns a short distance from them, in front. One, some-
what elder and more strongly built, holds with the right
hand a torch to the fire upon an altar ; the left hand is
closed around another torch that rests upon his shoulder.
The features express solemn repose. The younger has
his left arm around the other’s neck and leans towards
him with sorrowing trustfulness. The weight of the
body rests upon the left foot, while the right, drawn
back, touches the ground only with the tips of the toes.
The youth, who has something of longing in his looks,
bends forward with drooping head and attentive gaze.
It is as though he would in silent wonder and not with-
out trembling, pierce with his eye the darkness of an
abyss, out of which a voice is calling to him to come.
And it is plainly his purpose to go ; if he wonder and
feel that he shudders, it is not at death, but at that which
is great, mysterious and unfathomable, in the riddle of
his fate. It is resolution, without defiance or levity

deliberate, and of devotion ready for the sacrifice.
To the group belongs as attribute a small, archaically
modelled Persephone, the goddess of death, with the
* The author has only seen copies : two in marble, at Paris and Naples,
and two plaster casts, one in the Dresden museum, the other in that ol
Berlin.

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