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"Agricola et minio suffusus, Bacche, ru-
which contradicts the solid painting.
to this Nicias-whether he was the
But to suppose that Praxiteles and Phidias could endure to submit their loveliest works to be stuccoed and solidly painted over with vermilion, seems to us to suppose a perfect impossibility. That they could not have willingly allowed the defilement we have shown by the nature of their work, all the nicety of touch and real proportion of parts lying under the necessity of alteration, and consequently damage thereby. Whatever apparent proof might be adduced that such statues were painted-and we doubt the proof, as we will endeavour to show we do not hesitate to say that the daubings and plasterings must have been the doing of a subsequent less cultivated people, and possibly at the demand of a vulgarised mobocracy. The clown at our pantomimes is the successor to the clown who smeared his face with wine-lees, and passed his jokes while he gave orders to have his idol painted with vermilion. Yet though it must be impossible that Phidias or Praxiteles would have allowed solid coats of paint or stucco, or both, to have ruined the works of their love and genius, under the presuming title "historical evidence an anecdote is culled from the amusing gossip Pliny, to show what Praxiteles thought of it. "There is a passage in Pliny which is decisive, as soon as we understand the allusion. Speaking of Nicias (lib. xxxv. cap. 11), he says that Praxiteles, when asked which of his marble works best satisfied him, replied, "Those which Nicias has had under his hands." "So much," adds Pliny, "did he prize the finishing of Nicias" (tantum circumlitioni ejus tribuebat). This "finishing of Nicias," by its location, professes to be a translation from Pliny, which it is not. Had the writer adopted the exact wording of the old English translation, from which he seems to have taken the former portion of the sentence, it would not have suited his purpose, but it would have been more fair: it is thus, "So much did he attribute
The meaning of this passage hangs on the word circumlitio. Winckelmann follows the mass of commentators in understanding this as referring to some mode of polishing the statues.
unto his vernish and polishing"-"But Quatremère de Quincey, in his
In making this confession, it would have been as well to have referred to Pliny himself for the meaning. Pliny uses the verb illinebat, in grammatical relation to circumlitio, in the sense of varnishing, in that well-known passage in which he speaks of the varnish used by Apelles-" Unum imitari nemo potuit, quod absoluta opera illinebat atramento ita tenui," &c.
magnificent work Le Jupiter Olympien, satisfactorily shows this to be untenable, not only "because no sculptor could think of preferring such of his statues as had been better polished, but also because Nicias being a painter, not a sculptor, his services must have been those of a painter." If these are the only "becauses" of Quatremère de Quincey, they are anything but satisfactory; for a sculptor may esteem all his works as equal, and then prefer such as had the advantage of Nicias's circumlitio. Nor does the because of Nicias being a painter at all define the circumlitio to be a plastering with stucco, or a thick daubing with vermilion; for, be it borne in mind, this vermilion painting is always spoken of as a solid coating. As to Nicias's services, "What were they?" asks the author of the Historical Evidence in Mr Jones's Apology. "Nicias was an encaustic painter, and hence it is clear that his circumlitio, his mode of finishing the statues, so highly prized by Praxiteles, must have been the application of encaustic painting to those parts which the sculptor wished to have ornamented. For it is quite idle to suppose a sculptor like Praxiteles would allow another sculptor to finish his works. The rough work may be done by other hands, but the finishing is always left to the artist. The statue completed, there still remained the painter's art to be employed, and for that Nicias is renowned."-Indeed! This is exceedingly childish: first the truism that one sculptor would not have another to finish his work-of course, not; and then that the work was not finished until the painter had regularly, according to his best skill and art -which art and skill were requiredbeen employed in the painting it as he would paint a picture, "for which he was renowned;"-that is, variously colour all the parts till he had variously coloured hair and eyes, and put in varieties of flesh tones, show the blue veins beneath, and all that a painter renowned for these things was in the habit of doing in his pictures. If this be not the meaning of this author, and the object of Mr Owen Jones in making such a parade
of it, he or the writer writes without any fixed ideas, and all this assumption, all this absurd theory, is after all built upon a word which these people are determined to misunderstand, and yet upon which they cannot help but express the doubt. But why should there be any doubt at all? As far as we can see, the word is a plain word, and explains itself very well, and even expresses its modus operandi. A writer acquainted with such a schoolboy book as Ainsworth's Dictionary might have relieved his mind as to any doubts or forced construction of circumlitio; he might have found there, that the word comes from Lino, to smear, from Leo, the same—and that Circum in the composition shows the action, the mode of smearing. Nay, he is referred to two passages in Pliny, the very one from which the quotation in the Historical Evidence is taken, and to another in the same author, Pliny-and authors generally explain themselves—where the word is used in reference to the application of medicinal unguents. We can readily grant that the ancient sculptors did employ recipes of the most skilful persons in making unctuous varnishes, which they rubbed into the marble as a preservative, and also to bring out more perfectly the beauty of the marble texture-not altogether to hide it. It may be, without the least concession towards Mr Owen Jones's painting theory, as readily granted that they gave this unctuous composition a warm tone, with a little vermilion, as many still do to their varnishes. Pliny himself, in his 33d book, chap. vii., gives such a recipe: White Punic wax, melted with oil, and laid on hot; the work afterwards to be well rubbed over with cere-cloths. To return to the "Circumlitio," we have the word, only with super instead of circum, used in the application of a varnish by the Monk Theophilus, of the tenth century, who, if he did not take the word from Pliny, and therefore in Pliny's sense, may be taken for quite as good Latin authority. After describing the method of making a varnish of oil and a gum-" gummi quod vocatur fornis"-he adds, "Hoc glutine omnis pictura superlinita, fit et decora ac
omnino durabilis." The two words Superlitio and Circumlitio,*—the first applicable to such a surface as a picture; the last to statues, which present quite another surface. But if it could be proved-and it cannot-that the works of Praxiteles were in Mr Owen Jones's sense painted over, would that justify the colouring the frieze of the Parthenon, the work of Phidias, who preceded Praxiteles more than a century, during which many abominations in taste may have been introduced? We are quite aware that, at a barbarous period, images of gods, probably mostly those of wood, were painted over with vermilion, as a sacred colour and one of triumph. We extract from the old translation of Pliny this passage:-" There is found also in silver mines a mineral called minium, i. e. vermilion, which is a colour at this day of great price and estimation, like as it was in old time; for the ancient Romans made exceeding great account of it, not only for pictures, but also for divers sacred and holy uses. And verily Verrius allegeth and rehearseth many authors whose credit ought not to be disproved, who affirm that the manner was in times past to paint the very face of Jupiter's image on high and festival daies with vermilion : as also that the valiant captains who rode in triumphant manner into Rome had in former times their bodies covered all over therewith; after which manner, they say, noble Camillus entered the city in triumph. And even to this day, according to that ancient and religious custom, ordinary it is to colour all the unguents that are used in a festival supper, at a solemne triumph, with vermilion. And no one thing do the Censors give charge and order for to be done, at their entrance into office, before the painting of Jupiter's image with minium." Yet Pliny does not say much in favour of the practice; for he adds -"The cause and motive that induced our ancestors to this ceremony I marvel much at, and cannot imagine what it should be." The Censors did but follow a vulgar taste to please the
vulgar, for whom no finery can be too fine, no colours too gaudy. However refined the Athenian taste, we know from their comedies they had their vulgar ingredient: there could be no security among them even for the continuance in purity of the genius which gave them the works of Phidias and Praxiteles; nor were even these great artists perhaps allowed the exercise of their own noble minds. The Greeks had no permanent virtuesno continuance of high perceptions: as these deteriorated, their great sim→ plicity would naturally yield to petty ornament. They of Elis, who appointed the descendants of Phidias to the office of preserving from injury his statue of Jupiter Olympius, did little if they neglected to secure their education also in the principles of the taste of Phidias. The conservators would in time be the destroyers; and simply because they must do, and know not what to do. When images
their innumerable idols-were carried in processions, they were of course dressed up, not for veneration, but show. We know that in very early times their gods were carried about in shrines, and, without doubt, tricked up with dress and daubings, pretty much as are, at this day, the Greek Madonnas. Venus and Cupid have descended down to our times in the painted Madonna and Bambino. Whatever people under the sun have ever had paint and finery, temples, gods, and idols have had their share of them. We need no proofs, and it is surprising we have so few with respect to the great works of the ancients, that these corruptions would take place. It is in human nature: barbarism never actually dies; it is an ill weed, hard entirely to eradicate, and is ready to spring up in the most cultivated soils. The vulgar mind will make its own Loretto: imagination and credulity want no angels but themselves to convey anywhere a "santa casa;" nor will there be wanting brocade and jewels, the crown and the peplos, for the admiration of the ignorant. Are a few examples, if found and proved, and of the best
• "Circumlitio."-See Mr Henning's evidence before Committee of House of Commons on the preservation of stone by application of hot wax penetrating the stone, and his mode of using it, similar to the encaustic process.
times-which is not clear-to establish the theory as good in taste, or in any way part of the intention of the great sculptors? If authorities adduced, and to be adduced, are worth anything, they must go a great deal farther. Take, for instance, a passage from Pausanias, lib. ii. c. 11: Καὶ Ὑγείας δ' ἐσι κατα ταυτον αγαλμα οὐκ αν οὐδὲ τοῦτο ἴδοις ῥᾳδίως, οὕτω, περιεχουσιν ἀυτὸ κόμαι τε γυναικὼν άΰ κειρονται τῇ θεῶ, καὶ ἐσθῆτός Βαβυλωνίας τελapaves." And after the same manner is a statue of Hygeia, which you may not easily see, it is so completely covered with hair of the women who have shorn themselves in honour of the goddess, and also with the fringes of the Babylonish vest." Here, surely, is quite sufficient authority for Mr Jones to procure ample and variously-coloured wigs for the Venus de Medicis, and other statues, and to order a committee of milliners to devise suitable vesture. Images of this kind were mostly made of wood, easy to be carried about; and were often, doubtless, made likest life, for the deception as of the real presence of a deity. The view of art was lost when imposture commenced. Mr Jones admits that the Greek sculptors did not intend exact imitation, but his theory goes so close to it, it would be difficult to say where it stops short. Indeed, he had better at once go the whole way, or we may better say, "the whole hog," with bristle brushes, for when he has got rid of the "prejudice" in favour of white marble, his spectators will be satisfied with nothing less than wax-work.
We remember hearing, in a remote village, the consolation one poor woman gave another" Look up to them pretty angels, with their lovely black eyes, and take comfort from 'em." These were angels' heads in plaster, round the cornice, which the church-wardens, year after year, with the official taste and importance of the Roman Censors, had caused to be so painted when, as they announced on a tablet, they "beautified" the church. Of late years we have been removing the whitewash from our cathedrals, thicker, by repetition, than Mr Owen Jones's prescribed coats of stucco. Should his theory prevail, we shall be again ashamed of stone; white-lime
VOL. LXXVI.-NO. CCCCLXVII.
will be restored until funds shall be found for stucco, inside and out, as preparation for Mr Jones's bright blue and unmitigated vermilion and gold. It is frightful to imagine Mr Owen Jones and his paint-pot over every inch of Westminster Abbey, inside and out.
Let us take a nearer view of the
historical evidence. We are told,
"Ancient literature abounds with references and allusions to the practice of painting and dressing statues. Space prevents their being copiously cited here.". We venture to affirm, that the lack of existence is greater than the lack of space, if by ancient literature is meant the best literature
the literature contemporary with the works of the great sculptors. There were poets and historians-can any quotation be given at all admissible as evidence? It is extraordinary that the advocates for the theory, if it were true, can find no passages in the poets. Is there nothing nearer than what Plato puts into the mouth of Socrates? "Let it be remembered that Socrates was the son of a sculptor, and that Plato lived in Athens, acquainted with the great sculptors and their works; then read this passage, wherein Socrates employs by way of simile the practice of painting statues
Just as if, when painting statues, a person should blame us for not placing the most beautiful colours on the most beautiful parts of the figure-inasmuch as the eyes, the most beautiful parts, were not painted purple but black,-we should answer him by saying, Clever fellow, do not suppose we are to paint eyes so beautifully that they should not appear to be eye.'-PLATO, De Repub., lib. iv. This passage would long ago have settled the question, had not the moderns been preoccupied with the belief that the Greeks did not paint their statues; they therefore read the passage in another sense. Many translators read pictures' for 'statues.' But the Greek word Avdpias signifies' statue,' and is never used to signify picture.' It means statue, and a statuary is called the maker of such statues-AvdpavтOTOLOS. (Mr Davis, in Bohn's English edition of Plato, avoids the difficulty by translating it human figures')."--Mr Lloyd, in his remarks upon this passage, confesses
that it does not touch the question concerning the painting the flesh, but refers to the eyes, lips, and ornaments. We object not to admit more than this, and, as we have before observed, that certain images, mostly of wood, were painted entirely, excepting where clothed; and, for argument's sake, admitting that Socrates alluded to these common images, if we may so speak, the ancestors of our common dolls, should we be justified in building a theory subversive of all good taste upon such an ambiguity? For nothing is here said of marble statues; and there is nothing to show that marble statues are meant. The writer in the "Apology" says, with an air of triumph, that Avopias always means statue, and never picture; but these were figures, that he would call statues, of wood and of clay, and of little valuea kind of marketable goods for the vulgar, as we have already shown. But if the writer is determined to make them marble statues, and of the best, he might certainly have made his case the stronger; for when he says, and truly, that Socrates was the son of a sculptor, he forgets that Socrates was himself a sculptor,-and some have supposed him to have been a painter also, but Pliny is of another opinion. The three Graces in the court before the Acropolis of Athens were his work; and it is probably to the demands these Graces made upon his thoughts the philosopher alluded in his dialogue with Theodote the courtesan. She had invited him to her home; he excused himself that he had no leisure from his private and public affairs," and besides," he adds playfully, "I have pia-female friends-at home who will not suffer me to absent myself from them day or night, learning, as they do from me, charms and powers of enticement." So that we may suppose him to have been no mean statuary. Yet, considering that his mother followed the humble occupation of a
midwife, and that consequently his father was not very rich, it may not be an out-of-the-way conjecture to suppose that the family trade may have had its humbler employments, of which the painting images may have borne a part. Ships had their images as well as temples, and we know that the ship's head was "Mλronápños.” The custom has descended to our times. But we are not to take the word put by Plato into the mouth of Socrates-avdplavras-necessarily in the highest sense, and imagine he speaks of such works as those of Phidias or Praxiteles. Although the Greeks did distinguish the several words by which statues were understood, they were not very nice in the observance of the several uses. Avồplavras may have been applied to any representation of the human figure. AvopiarTоTоs, says the Apologist, was a statuary—so may have been said to be Avdpiavronλáons the modellist in clay or wax; but neither word is used by Socrates-simply Avdpiavras, (images). There is not a hint as to how, or with what materials, they were made. The scholiast on the passage in Aristophanes respecting the work of Socrates (the Graces), makes a distinction between ανδριαν ras and ayaλuara-noticing that Socrates was the son of Sophroniscus, Adogós, with whom he took his share in the polishing art, adding that he polished ανδριαντας λίθινες ἐλαξεύε, and that he made the "ayaλuara" of the three Graces. Now, let avôpias be a statue, or human figure, of whatever material, and grant that some such figures had painted eyes, and probably partially coloured drapery, possibly the whole body painted-what then? they might have been low and inferior works. Who would think, from such data, of inferring a habit in the Greek sculptors of painting and plastering all their marble statues-asserting too, so audaciously, that we the moderns have, and not they, a prejudice in
In the Clouds, Aristophanes makes Socrates swear by the Graces-sosyo vñ rás xagiras-twitting him, as the scholiast remarks, upon his former employment, alluding to his work of the Graces.-Clouds, 771.
"Inter statuas Græci sic distinguunt teste Philandro, ut statuas Deorum vocent ένδολα ; Heroum ξοάνα ; Regum άνδριάντας : Sapientum είκελα ; Bene-meritorum Sesvia; quod tamen discrimen auctoribus non semper observatur."-HOFFMANN's Lexicon.