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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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not to that of the other at the spring. And in this case
the torch-bearer, in relation to Narcissus, may be the
genius of death with the torches of the perishable and
the enduring: to Antinous, Hadrian’s genius, that gave
his beloved friend death and immortality.
To the myth-interpreters of that time, Narcissus was
not self-love. The reflected image with which he fell in
love, was the ideal ; and the spring, the cold wave of
reality, which every one encounters when he would take
that ideal to his heart. The expression, in Narcissus, is
therefore that of wasting away. He cannot approach the
ideal before decay has consumed everything earthly in his
being. In Antinous, art has expressed another but nearly-
related feeling. Antinous has something pantheistic in
him. He seems, without intermission, to look fixedly
into the Heraclitan stream of life. As man, before his
apotheosis, he grieves over the annihilation that inevita-
bly comes to every single thing, and asks with anxiety :
whence and whither ? until every question is resolved
into dreams that flow on with the stream. After his
apotheosis, he has, through the loving sacrifice of himself,
found the key to the riddle of life and death, and secure
in its possession, looks down with imperturbable calm into
the flood of hollow seeming that hurries past him. The
master who made the San Ildefonso group has sought to
fuse into one, these two sentiments. That he has done
so with as clear a purpose as that with which he has
united the two types, can nevertheless not be affirmed.
Great artists are philosophers without knowing it. The
thoughts of the time, as far as they admit of expression,
are translated by them, in form and color.
But if the artist have, as it seems to me, wished to
give us an Antinous-Narcissus in action, he has made his

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