Hegel's Lectures on Aesthetics. Part 3
In contrast to the inorganic nature of spirit which is given its appropriate artistic form by architecture, the spiritual itself now enters so that the work of art acquires and displays spirituality as its content. We have already seen the necessity for this advance; it is inherent in the very nature of the spirit which differentiates itself into its subjective self-awareness and its objectivity as such. Architectural treatment does make the inner subjective life glint in this externality but without being able to make it permeate the external through and through or to make the external into that completely adequate expression of spirit which lets nothing appear but itself. Art therefore withdraws out of the inorganic, which architecture, bound as it is to the laws of gravity, labours to bring nearer to an expression of spirit, into the inner and subjective life, and this life now enters on its own account in its higher truth and not intermingled with the inorganic. It is along this road of spirit’s return into itself out of matter and mass that we encounter sculpture.
But the first stage in this new sphere is not yet spirit’s reversion into its inner self-conscious life as such, at which point the presentation of the inner life would require expression in an ideal mode; on the contrary, here the spirit grasps itself at first only by still expressing itself in bodily form and in that form possesses an existence homogeneous with itself. The art which takes this level of the spirit as its content is called upon to shape spiritual individuality as an appearance in matter and indeed in what is material properly and directly. Speech, after all, or language is a self-manifestation of spirit in externality, but in an objectivity which, instead of counting as something directly and concretely material, is a communication of spirit only as sound, as the movement and Vibration of a whole body and the abstract element, i.e. air. Whereas what is directly corporeal is spatial matter, e.g. stone, wood, metal, clay in complete three-dimensional space; but the shape appropriate to spirit is, as we have seen, its own body through which sculpture actualizes the spirit in all the spatial dimensions.
From this point of view sculpture is at the same stage as architecture in so far as it gives shape to the perceptible as such, to matter in its material and spatial form. But all the same it differs from architecture in that it does not remould the inorganic, as the opposite of spirit, into a spiritually created purposeful environment with forms which have their purpose outside themselves; on the contrary, it gives to spirit itself, purposive as it is and independent in itself, a corporeal shape appropriate to the very nature of spirit and its individuality, and it brings both – body and spirit – before our vision as one and the same indivisible whole. The sculptured shape is therefore emancipated from the architectural purpose of serving as a mere external nature and environment for the spirit and it exists simply for its own sake. But despite this freedom, a sculpture does nevertheless remain essentially connected with its surroundings. Neither a statue nor a group, still less a relief, can be fashioned without considering the place where the work of art is to be put. A sculptor should not first complete his work and only afterwards look around to see whither it is to be taken: on the contrary, his very conception of the work must be connected with specific external surroundings and their spatial form and their locality. For this reason sculpture retains a permanent relation with spaces formed architecturally. For the earliest purpose of statues was to be images in temples and set up in the interior of the cell, just as in Christian churches painting for its part provided altar-pictures; and in Gothic architecture too the same connection appears between sculptures and their position. Yet temples and churches are not the sole place for statues, groups, and reliefs; halls, staircases, gardens, public squares, gates, single columns, triumphal arches, etc., are likewise animated and, as it were, peopled by works of sculpture, and, quite independently of this wider environment, each statue demands a pedestal of its own to mark its position and terrain. On the connection between architecture and sculpture this may suffice.
If we go on to compare sculpture with the other arts, it is especially painting and poetry that come into consideration. Both single statues and groups present us with man as he is, with spirit completely in the shape of the body. Thus sculpture seems to have the mode truest to nature for representing the spirit, while painting and poetry seem to be unnatural because painting uses only flat surfaces instead of the three visible spatial dimensions which the human form and other things in nature actually occupy; and still less does speech express the corporeal, for by its utterance it can communicate only ideas of it.
Nevertheless, the truth is precisely the opposite. While a sculpture does indeed seem to have the advantage on the score of naturalness, this naturalness and corporeal externality presented in terms of heavy matter is precisely not the nature of spirit as spirit. As spirit, its own proper existence is its expression in speech, deeds, actions which are the development of its inner life and disclose to it what it is.
In this regard, sculpture must retire in favour of poetry especially. It is true that in visual art the corporeal is brought before our eyes in plastic clarity, but poetry too can describe the outlines of the human form, hair, brow, cheeks, build, clothing, posture, etc., though, true, not with the precision and exactitude of sculpture. But this deficiency is made up by imagination which does not need such definitive and detailed accuracy for producing a plain idea of an individual. Besides, imagination brings the man before us above all in action, with all his motives, the complications of his fate and circumstances, all his feelings and speech, with a disclosure of his thoughts as well as what happens to him in the world. This is what sculpture is incapable of doing except in a very imperfect way, because it can portray neither the subjective inner life in its own private depth of feeling and passion, nor, as poetry can, a series of its expressions, but only the universal element in an individual so far as the body can express that; it provides only a specific moment with nothing to follow it, something motionless without the progress of a living action.
In these respects sculpture is inferior to painting too. For, in painting, the expression of spirit acquires a superior and more definite accuracy and vividness, owing to the colour of the face and its light and shadow, not only in the natural sense of a purely material exactitude but above all in the sense of affording an appearance of facial and emotional significance. Therefore we could suppose at first sight that sculpture would need, with a view to Coming nearer to perfection, to combine its own advantage of being three-dimensional with the different advantages of painting: is it just a caprice to have decided to give up painting’s colour? Is it an inadequacy or unskillfulness in execution which confines itself to one feature of externality, i.e. its material form, and abstracts from the rest, just as, e.g., silhouettes or engravings are a mere pis-aller? The answer is that there can be no question of any such caprice in true art. The shape which is the subject of sculpture remains in fact only one abstract aspect of the concrete human body; its forms lack any variety of particular colours and movements. Nevertheless this is no accidental deficiency, but a restriction of material and mode of portrayal imposed by the very conception of art. For art is a product of the spirit, and indeed of the spirit in its higher level as thinking, and the subject-matter imposed on itself by a work of art like sculpture is a specific content and therefore requires a mode of presentation abstracted from other sorts of artistic realization. It is with art here as it is with the different sciences: the sole subject-matter of geometry is space, of jurisprudence law, of philosophy the unfolding of the eternal Idea and its existence and self-awareness in things; philosophy alone develops these topics in their difference and different forms, while none of the sciences mentioned brings completely before us what is called ‘concrete actual existence’ in the ordinary sense of these words.
Now art, as shaping what originates in the spirit, proceeds gradually, and separates what is separated in thought, in the real nature of the thing, but not in its existence. Therefore it maintains each of its stages fixedly in order to develop it in its own peculiar character. So in the conception of what is material and spatial, the element of visual art, we must distinguish and separate the corporeal as a three-dimensional totality from its abstract form, i.e. the human shape as such, and its more detailed particular character in relation to the variety of its colouring. In relation to the human form the art of sculpture stops at the first of these stages, for it treats that form as a stereometrical body in its three-dimensional shape. Now the work of art, belonging as it does to the field of what is sensuously perceived, must exist for someone’s apprehension, and particularization begins at once with this. But the first art concerned with the form of the human body as an expression of spirit gets no further with this existence for someone’s apprehension than the first still universal mode of existence in nature, i.e. pure visibility and what is in general illumined, without bringing into the presentation that bearing on darkness where the visible is inherently particularized and becomes
colour. It is here, in the necessary course of art, that sculpture stands. For while poetry can embrace the totality of appearance in one and the same element, i.e. in our ideas, visual art must accept the separation of this totality into its parts.
Therefore on the one side we have objectivity which, not being the proper shape of the spirit, confronts it as inorganic nature. This object is changed by architecture into a merely indicative symbol, and the spiritual meaning which it indicates lies outside it. The extreme opposite of objectivity is subjectivity, the heart, feeling in the entire range of all its particular agitations, moods, passions, inner and outer movements, and deeds. Between these two extremes we meet with spiritual individuality which at this stage is definite indeed but not yet deep enough to comprise the inwardness of the subjective heart. What preponderates in individuality here is not personal individuality but the substantive universal element in the spirit and its aims and characteristics. In its universality it is not yet absolutely driven back into itself as a single spiritual unit, for as this middle term, issuing from the objective, from inorganic nature, it has the corporeal within itself as the proper existence of the spirit in the body belonging to it and manifesting it. In this external object which is no longer the mere opposite of the inner life, spiritual individuality is to be presented, yet not as aliving body, i.e. one continually referred back to the point of unity implied in the spiritual individual, but as a form envisaged and presented as external; into this mould the spirit is poured, yet without coming out of this externality to appear in its withdrawal into itself as something inward.
These considerations determine the two points mentioned above: instead of taking for its expression in a symbolic way modes of appearance merely indicative of the spirit, sculpture lays hold of the human form as the actual existence of the spirit. Nevertheless, however, as the representation of unfeeling subjectivity and of ‘emotion not yet particularized, sculpture is content with the shape as such in which the point of subjectivity is spread out. This is also the reason why sculpture does not present the spirit in action on a series of movements which have and accomplish a purpose or in undertakings and deeds in which character is displayed; and why, on the contrary, it presents the spirit as it were remaining objective and therefore, principally, in a repose of form in which movement and grouping is only the first and easy beginning of action but not a complete presentation of a person drawn into all the conflicts of inner and outer struggles or involved with the external world in so many ways. Therefore since a sculpture after all brings before our eyes the spirit which, though immersed in the body, must be visibly manifest throughout the whole shape, it lacks the point where the person appears as person, i.e. the concentrated expression of soul as soul, the flash of the eye, as will be explained in more detail later. On the other hand, the subject of sculpture – individuality with its inner side not yet differentiated and particularized in a variety of ways – does not yet need for its appearance the painter’s magic of colour which by the delicacy and variety of its shades can make visible the whole wealth of particular characteristics, the entire emergence of the spirit in its inner life, and the whole concentration of mind in the glance of the eye that reveals the soul. Sculpture must not adopt material unnecessary for the specific stage at which it stands. Consequently it avails itself not of a painter’s colours but only of the spatial forms of the human body. On the whole a sculpture is uniformly coloured, hewn from white marble and not from something variously coloured; it also has metals at command as material, this original matter, self-identical, undifferentiated, a so-to-say congealed light without opposition and without the harmony of different colours.
It is the great spiritual insight of the Greeks to have grasped and firmly retained this position. It is true that there do occur even in Greek sculpture, to which we must confine ourselves in the main, examples of polychrome statues, but in this matter we must distinguish art as it begins and ends from what it has achieved at its real summit. In the same way we must discount what religious tradition has dragged into this art and what does not properly belong to it. We have already seen in the case of the classical form of art that it did not immediately portray the finished ideal which provided its fundamental determinant but had first to strip away much that was inappropriate and foreign to it. The same is true about sculpture. It must go through many preliminary stages before coming to perfection and its beginning differs in many ways from the summit it reaches. The oldest sculptures are painted wood, like the Egyptian idols, and the same is true even in the case of the Greeks. But things of this kind must be excluded when it is a matter of keeping to the fundamental nature of sculpture. Therefore it cannot be denied at all that many examples of painted statues occur, but the purer artistic taste became, the more did it ‘give up that display of colour which was inappropriate to it; instead with wise deliberation it used light and shade in order to meet the spectator’s eye with greater suppleness, repose, clarity, and pleasure’ (Meyer, op. cit., i. 119). In contrast to the purely uniform colour of marble, not only may many bronze statues be cited of course, but, still more important, the greatest and finest works which, like, e.g., the Zeus of Phidias, were polychromatic [because chryselephantine]. Yet I am not discussing the abstraction of a complete absence of colour; ivory and gold are always coloured without the use of a painter’s colour. And, in general, different productions of a specific kind of art do not always keep in fact to the fundamental nature of that art in abstract immutability, for they come into living relation with varied purposes, acquire local positions of various kinds and therefore become connected with external circumstances which once again modify the basic type. So, for instance, sculptures were often made from rich materials like gold and ivory; they were placed on magnificent thrones or stood on pedestals framed artistically and with prodigal luxuriousness and were provided with costly ornamentation in order to give the people who looked at such magnificent works an enjoyment of their power and richness. In particular, while sculpture is in and by itself a more abstract art, it does not always remain in this abstraction but brings with it incidentally from its origin much that is traditional, hidebound, and localized, but it is also adapted to the living needs of the people: for an active man requires an entertaining variety and wants employment in many directions for his vision and ideas. It is the same with a reading of Greek tragedies which also gives us the work of art in its more abstract form. When they are given a further existence externally, then performance is added with living characters, costume, stage decorations, dances, and music. In a similar way a sculpture in its real external appearance is not destitute of varied accessories; but here we are concerned only with sculpture proper as such, for those externals ought not to hinder us from becoming conscious of the inmost nature of the thing itself in its specific determinate character and in abstraction from anything superadded.
Proceeding now to the detailed division of this section, we find that sculpture is so much the centre of the classical form of art that here we cannot accept, as we could in the case of architecture, the symbolic, classical, and romantic as decisive differences and the basis of our division. Sculpture is the art proper to the classical ideal as such: of course sculpture too has stages at which, e.g. in Egypt, it is invaded by the symbolic form of art; but these are really only historical preliminaries, not differences inherent in the real conception and essence of sculpture, because owing to the manner of their placing and the use made of them these productions rather devolve on architecture than belong to the proper purpose of sculpture. In a similar way sculpture transcends itself when it becomes an expression of the romantic art-form, and only when it took to imitating Greek sculpture did it acquire its proper plastic type again. Consequently we must look elsewhere for a division.
In view of what has been said already, the centre of our treatment is derived from the manner in which it is through sculpture that the Greek ideal attains its most adequate realization. But before we can get to this development of ideal sculptures, we must first show what content and what form properly pertain to the character of sculpture as one of the particular arts and which therefore lead it to present the classical ideal in the spiritually permeated human figure and· its abstractly spatial form. On the other hand the classical ideal rests on individuality, substantive indeed but nevertheless essentially particularized, with the result that sculpture takes for its content not the ideal of the human figure in general but the determinate ideal, and so separates into different modes of portrayal. These differences affect, partly the treatment and portrayal as such, partly the material in which the treatment is carried out and which by its varying character introduces new and further particular differences into the art, and with these there is then connected a final difference, namely the stages in the historical development of sculpture.
In the light of these considerations our inquiry will take the following course:
First, we are concerned solely with the general determinants of the essential nature of the content and form employed: these determinants arise from the very conception of sculpture.
Secondly, the classical ideal is analysed in more detail in so far as it attains by sculpture its most artistically appropriate existence.
Thirdly, and lastly, sculpture expands into the use of different kinds of portrayal and material, and opens out into a world of separate works in which in one way or another the symbolic and romantic art-forms assert themselves too, while in the middle between them the classical form is the genuinely plastic one.
Sculpture in general comprises the miracle of spirit’s giving itself an image of itself in something purely material. Spirit so forms this external thing that it is present to itself in it and recognizes in it the appropriate shape of its own inner life.
What we have to consider in this connection concerns
First, the question what manner of spiritual life is capable of portraying itself in this element of a purely visible and spatial shape;
Secondly, how spatial forms must be shaped in order to make the spiritual known in a beautiful and corporeal figure; what we have to see in general is the unity of the ordo rerum extensarum and the ordo rerum idealium, the first beautiful unification of soul and body, in so far as the spiritual inner life expresses itself in sculpture only in its existence as body.
Thirdly, this unification corresponds with what we have already come to know as the ideal of the classical art-form, so that the plasticity of sculpture turns out to be the real and proper art of the classical ideal.
The element in which sculpture creates its productions is, as we have seen, spatial matter in its original and still universal existence; in this material no particularization is employed for artistic use except the three universal spatial dimensions and the elementary spatial forms which those dimensions are capable of receiving when they are being shaped in the most beautiful way. To this more abstract aspect of the visible material there peculiarly corresponds, as content, the objectivity of spirit in its self-repose, i.e. the stage at which spirit has not distinguished itself either from its universal substance or its existence in body and therefore has not withdrawn into the self-awareness of its own subjectivity. Here there are two points to distinguish.
(a) Spirit as spirit is always subjectivity, inner self-knowledge, the ego. But this self can detach itself from what in knowing, willing, imagining, feeling, acting, and accomplishing constitutes the universal and eternal content of the spirit, and retain a hold on its own particular and fortuitous character. In that event it is subjectivity itself which comes into view because it relinquishes the objective and true content of the spirit and relates itself to itself as spirit in only a formal way, with no content. For example, in the case of self-satisfaction I can of course in a way regard myself quite objectively and be content with myself for doing a moral action. Yet, as self-satisfied, I am already ignoring what the action concretely was; as this individual, this self, I am abstracting myself from the universality of the spirit in order to compare myself with it. In this comparison, the concurrence of myself with myself produces the self-satisfaction in which this determinate self, precisely as this unit, rejoices in itself. A man’s own ego is present in everything that he knows, wills, and carries out; only it makes a great difference whether in his knowing and acting his prime concern is his own particular self or what constitutes the essential content of consciousness, whether a man is immersed with his whole self undividedly in this content or lives steadily dependent
on his own subjective personality.
(α) If what is substantive is thus disdained, a person, as subject, succumbs to the world of inclination where everything is abstract and separate, to the caprice and fortuitousness of feeling and impulse; the result is that, involved in the perpetual movement from one specific action or deed to another, he is a victim of dependence on specific circumstances and their changes and, in short, cannot avoid being tied to other persons and things. It follows that the person in these circumstances is purely finite and contrasted with the true spirit. Now if nevertheless he persists in this opposition, and the consciousness of it in his knowing and willing, and so clings to his subjective life alone, then, apart from the emptiness of his fancies and his image of himself, he falls into the ugliness of passions and idiosyncrasy, into viciousness and sin, into malice, ill-will, cruelty, spite, envy, pride, arrogance, and all the other perversities of human nature and its empty finitude.
(β) This whole sphere of subjective life is eo ipso excluded from sculpture which belongs solely to the objective side of spirit. By ‘objective’ here we are to understand what is substantial, genuine, imperishable, the essential nature that the spirit has without giving way to what is accidental and perishable, to that sphere to which the person surrenders himself if he relates himself exclusively to himself alone.
(γ) Yet the objective spirit cannot, as spirit, acquire reality without self-consciousness. For the spirit is spirit only as subject or person. But the position of the subjective within the spiritual content of sculpture is of such a kind that this subjective element is not expressed on its own account but shows itself as entirely permeated by what is substantive and objective and is not reflected back out of it into itself. Therefore the objective does have self-consciousness but a self-knowledge and volition not freed from the content which fills it but forming with it an inseparable unity.
The spiritual in this completely independent perfection of what is inherently substantial and true, this undisturbed and unparticularized being of the spirit, is what we call divinity in contrast to finitude as dispersal into fortuitous existence, differentiation, and fluctuating movement. From this point of view, sculpture has to present the Divine as such in its infinite peace and sublimity, timeless, immobile, without purely subjective personality and the discord of actions and situations. If sculpture does proceed to give closer definition to a man’s figure or character, then in this event it must lay hold simply on what is unalterable and permanent, i.e. the substance, and only the substance, of his determinate characteristics; it must not choose for its content what is accidental and transient, because in its objectivity the spirit does not enter this changing and fleeting world of particulars which comes on the scene with a subjectivity conceived as individuality and no more. In a biography, for example, which relates the various fortunes, adventures, and acts of an individual, this history of diverse complications and arbitrariness usually ends with a character-sketch which summarizes this extensive detail in some such general quality as ‘goodness, honesty, bravery, intellectual excellence’ etc. Descriptions like these report what is permanent in an individual, whereas the additional particular details belong only to the accidents of his career. This permanent element is what sculpture has to portray as the one and only being and existence of individuality. Yet out of such general qualities it does not make mere allegories at all, but forms individuals whom it treats and shapes in their objective spiritual character as complete and perfect in themselves, in independent repose, exempt from relation to anything else. In sculpture the essential basis in every individual figure is what is substantive, and neither subjective feeling and self-knowing nor any superficial and alterable characteristic may gain the upper hand anywhere; what must be brought before our eyes in undimmed clarity is the eternal element in gods and men, divested of caprice and accidental egotism.
(b) The other point to be mentioned is this: since the sculptor’s material makes the portrayal necessarily an external one in a three-dimensional solid, the content of sculpture cannot be spirit as such, i.e. the inner life, immersed in itself and reverting out of the object to close with itself alone, but the spirit which in its opposite, the body, is just beginning to become conscious of itself. The negation of the external is part and parcel of the inner subjective life, and therefore it cannot enter here where the divine and the human are adopted as the content of sculpture only in their objective character. And only this objective spirit, immersed in itself, without any inner subjective life as such, gives free scope to externality in all its dimensions and is bound up with this totality of space. But, for this reason, sculpture must take, as its subject matter, out of the objective content of spirit only that aspect which can be completely expressed in something external and corporeal, because otherwise it selects a content which its material cannot adopt or bring into appearance in an adequate way.
Now, given such a content, the second question is about the bodily forms called upon to express it.
Just as, in the case of classical architecture, the house is as it were the available anatomical skeleton to which art has to give further form, so sculpture for its part finds the human figure available as the fundamental type for its productions. But while the house itself is already a human, if not artistic, invention, the structure of the human frame appears as a product of nature, independently of man. The fundamental type is therefore given to sculpture, not devised by it. But to say that the human form belongs to nature is to use a very vague expression which we must explain more clearly.
In nature, as we saw in our consideration of the beauty of nature, it is the Idea which gives itself its first and immediate existence and it acquires its adequate natural existence in animal life and its complete organization. Thus the organization of the animal body is a product of the Concept in its inherent totality which exists in this corporeal existent as its soul. But as this soul, as the life of the animal merely, the Concept modifies the animal body into extremely varied particular types even if it always regulates the character of each specific type. However, it is a matter for the philosophy of nature to comprehend the correspondence between the Concept and the shape of the body or, more precisely, between soul and body. It would have to showthat the different types of the animal body in their inner structure, shape, and connection with one another, and the different specific organs within the body, conform to the moments of the Concept, so that it would be clear how far it is only the necessary particular aspects of the soul itself which are realized at this stage. Still, to prove this conformity is not our business in this context.
But the human form, unlike the animal, is the body not only of the soul, but of the spirit. Spirit and soul must be essentially distinguished from one another. For soul is only this ideal simple self-awareness of the body as body, while spirit is the self-awareness of conscious and self-conscious life with all the feelings, ideas, and aims of this conscious existent. Granted this enormous difference between purely animal life and the consciousness of spirit, it may seem surprising that spirit’s corporeality, the human body, nevertheless proves to be homogeneous with the animal one. We can remove amazement at such a similarity by recalling that determinate character which spirit decides to give to itself in accordance with its own essential nature, that character in virtue of which it is alive and therefore in itself simultaneously soul and natural existent. Now, as a living soul, spirit by virtue of the same Concept which is immanent in the animal soul gives itself a body which in its fundamental character generally matches the living animal organism. Therefore, however superior spirit is to mere life, it makes for itself its body which appears articulated and ensouled by one and the same Concept as that of the animal body. Further, however, spirit is not only the Idea existent, i.e. the Idea as nature and animal life, but the Idea present to itself as Idea in its own free element of the inner life, and so the spirit fashions its proper objectivity beyond perceptible life-i.e. in philosophy which has no other reality save that of thought itself. Apart from thinking and its philosophical and systematic activity, the spirit does still nevertheless lead a full life in feeling, inclination, imagination, fancy, etc.; this stands in more or less close connection with spirit’s existence as soul and body and therefore has reality in the human body. The spirit makes itself living likewise in this reality appropriate to itself, it glints in it, pervades it, and through it becomes manifest to others. Therefore because the human body remains no merely natural existent but in its shape and structure has to declare itself as likewise the sensuous and natural existence of the spirit, it still, as an expression of a higher inner life, must nevertheless be distinguished from the animal body, no matter how far in general the human body corresponds with the animal. But since the spirit itself is soul and life, an animal body, there are and can be only modifications which the spirit, immanent in a living body, introduces into this corporeal sphere. Therefore, as an appearance of the spirit, the human form does differ from the animal in respect of these modifications, although the differences between the human and the animal organism belong to the unconscious creative work of the spirit, just as the animal soul forms its body by unconscious activity.
This is our point of departure in this matter. The human form as an expression of spirit is given to the artist, but he does not just find it generalized; on the contrary, in particular details the model for mirroring the spiritual inner life is presupposed in the shape, specific traits, posture, and demeanour of the body.
As for the more precise connection between spirit and body in respect of particular feelings, passions, and states of mind, it is very difficult to reduce it to fixed categories. Attempts have indeed been made in pathognomy and physiognomy to present this connection scientifically, but so far without real success. Physiognomy alone can be of any importance to us because pathognomy is concerned only with the way that specific feelings and passions come alive in certain organs. So, for instance, it is said that anger has its seat in bile, courage in the blood. Said incidentally, this is at once a false expression. For even if the activity of particular organs corresponds to particular passions, still anger does not have its seat in bile; on the contrary in so far as anger is corporeal, it is primarily in bile that its activity appears. This pathognomy, as I said, does not concern us here, for sculpture has to deal only with what passes over from the spiritual inner life into the external element of shape and makes the spirit corporeal and visible there. The sympathetic vibration of the inner organism and conscious feelings is not a topic for sculpture, and sculpture also cannot harbour a great deal that does appear in the external shape, e.g. the shaking of the hand and the whole body at an outburst of wrath, the twitching of the lips, etc.
About physiognomy I will only mention here that if the work of sculpture, which has the human figure as its basis, is to show how the body, in its bodily form, presents not only the divine and human substance of the spirit in a merely general way but also the particular character of a specific individual in this portrayal of the Divine, we would have to embark on an exhaustive discussion of what parts, traits, and configurations of the body are completely adequate to express a specific inner mood. We are instigated to such a study by classical sculptures to which we must allow that in fact they do express the Divine and the characters of particular gods. To admit this is not to maintain that the correspondence between the expression of spirit and the visible form is only a matter of accident and caprice and not something absolutely necessary. In this matter each organ must in general be considered from two points of view, the purely physical one and that of spiritual expression. It is true that in this connection we may not proceed after the manner of Gall who makes the spirit into a bump on the skull.
Owing to the content which it has the vocation of portraying, we must go no further in the case of sculpture than to investigate how the spirit, both as substance and at the same time as individual within this universality, adopts a body and therein gains existence and form. In other words, owing to the content which is adequate for genuine sculpture, on the one hand the accidental particularity of the external appearance, whether of body or spirit, is excluded. What sculpture has to present is only the permanent, universal, and regular elements in the form of the human body, even if there is a demand so to individualize this universal element that what is put before our eyes is not only abstract regularity but an individual figure most closely fused with it.
On the other hand, sculpture, as we saw, must keep itself free
from the accidents of personality and its expression in its own independent inner life. Consequently the artist is forbidden, so far as the face is concerned, to propose to go as far as presenting mien [or a facial expression]. For mien is nothing but simply what makes visible the subject’s own inner life and his particular feeling, imagi-ling, and willing. In his mien a man expresses only himself as he feels inwardly, precisely as this individual as he accidentally is, whether he is concerned only with himself or whether his feeling is a reflection from his relation to external objects or other persons. So, for instance, on the street, especially in small towns, we see by their features and mien that many people, indeed most people, are concerned only with themselves, their clothes and finery, in general with their subjective or, alternatively, with other passers-by and their accidental peculiarities and eccentricities. To this context there belong the miens of pride, envy, self-satisfaction, disdain, etc. But then further a mien may have its source in the feeling of what is substantive and in the comparison of that with my private personality. Humility, scorn, menacing, fear, are miens of this kind. Such comparison leads at once to a separation between the subject as such and the universal, and then reflection on what is substantive always reverts to introspection, so that this and not the substance remains the predominant thing. But neither that separation nor this predominance of the subjective ought to find expression in the shape that remains strictly true to the principle of sculpture.
Finally, apart from miens proper, the facial expression contains much that merely flits over the countenance and indicates a man’s situation: a momentary smile, the sudden flash of an angry man’s eye, a quickly effaced streak of mockery, etc. In this respect it is the mouth and the eye that have the most mobility and the greatest capacity to seize and make apparent every nuance of an emotional mood. Changes of this character, which are a suitable subject for painting, sculpture has to waive. It must on the contrary direct itself to the permanent features of the spiritual expression and concentrate on and reproduce these whether facially or in the posture and forms of the body.
Thus it turns out that the task of sculpture essentially consists in implanting in a human figure the spiritual substance in its not yet subjectively particularized individuality, and in setting this figure and this substance in a harmony in which what is emphasized is only the universal and permanent element in the bodily forms corresponding to the spirit, while the fortuitous and the transient is stripped away, although at the same time the figure must not lack individuality.
Such a complete correspondence of inner with outer, the goal of sculpture, leads us on to the third point which is still to be discussed.
The first inference from the foregoing considerations is that sculpture more than any other art always points particularly to the Ideal. That is to say, on the one hand it is beyond the symbolic sphere alike in the clarity of its content, which is now grasped as spirit, and in the fact that its presentations are perfectly adequate to this content; on the other hand, it still ignores the subjectivity of the inner life to which the external shape is a matter of indifference. It therefore forms the centre of classical art. True, symbolic and romantic architecture and painting are conformable to the classical ideal, but the ideal in its proper sphere is not the supreme law for the symbolic and romantic art-forms or for architecture and painting, because these, unlike sculpture, do not have as their subject-matter substantive individuality, entire objective character, beauty at once free and necessary. But the sculptured figure must proceed throughout from the spirit of the thoughtful imagination which abstracts from all the accidents of the bodily form and spirit’s subjective side, and which has no predilection for idiosyncrasies, or any feeling, pleasure, variety of impulses, or sallies of wit. For what is within the sculptor’s reach for his supreme productions is, as we have seen, only spirit’s body in what are the purely universal forms of the build and organization of the human figure; and his invention is limited partly to portraying the equally universal correspondence between inner and outer, and partly to giving an appearance to the individuality which, albeit unobtrusively, is accommodated to and interwoven with the universal substance. Sculpture must configurate in the way that within their own sphere the gods create according to eternal Ideas, while abandoning everything else in the rest of reality to the freedom and self-will of the creature. Similarly, theologians distinguish between what God does and what man accomplishes by his folly and caprice; but the plastic ideal is lifted above such questions because it occupies this milieu of divine blessedness and free necessity, and for this milieu neither the abstraction of the universal nor the caprice of the particular has any validity or significance.
This sense for the perfect plasticity of gods and men was preeminently at home in Greece. In its poets and orators, historians and philosophers, Greece is not to be understood at its heart unless we bring with us as a key to our comprehension an insight into the ideals of sculpture and unless we consider from the point of view of their plasticity not only the heroic figures in epic and drama but also the actual statesmen and philosophers. After all, in the beautiful days of Greece men of action, like poets and thinkers, had this same plastic and universal yet individual character both inwardly and outwardly. They are great and free, grown independently on the soil of their own inherently substantial personality, self-made, and developing into what they [essentially] were and wanted to be. The Periclean age was especially rich in such characters: Pericles himself, Phidias, Plato, Sophocles above all, Thucydides too, Xenophon, Socrates-each of them of his own sort, unimpaired by another’s; all of them are out-and-out artists by nature, ideal artists shaping themselves, individuals of a single cast, works of art standing there like immortal and deathless images of the gods, in which there is nothing temporal and doomed. The same plasticity is characteristic of the works of art which victors in the Olympic games made of their bodies, and indeed even of the appearance of Phryne, the most beautiful of women, who rose from the sea naked in the eyes of all Greece.
In proceeding to consider the ideal style of sculpture we must once again recall that perfect art is necessarily preceded by imperfect, not merely in technique, which is not our prime concern here, but in the conception of the universal Idea and the manner of portraying it ideally. The art which is still we have called, in general terms, the symbolic. Consequently even pure sculpture has a symbolic stage as its presupposition, not at all a symbolic stage in general, i.e. architecture, but a sculpture in which the character of the symbolic is still immanent. That this occurs in Egyptian sculpture we will have an opportunity of seeing later in Chapter III.
Here, in a quite abstract and formal way, taking the standpoint of the ideal, we may take the symbolic in art to be the imperfection of each specific art. Consider, for instance, a child’s attempt to draw a human figure or to mould it in wax or clay; what he produces is a mere symbol because it only indicates the living man it is supposed to portray while remaining completely untrue to him and his significance. So art at first is hieroglyphic, not an arbitrary and capricious sign but a rough sketch of the object for our apprehension. For this purpose a bad sketch is adequate, provided that it recalls the figure it is supposed to mean. It is in a similar way that piety is satisfied with bad images, and in the most bungled counterfeit still worships Christ, Mary, or some saint, although such figures are recognized as individuals only by particular attributes like, for example, a lantern, a gridiron, or a millstone. For piety only wants to be reminded of the object of worship in a general way; the rest is added by the worshipper’s mind which is supposed to be filled with the idea of the object by means of the image, however unfaithful it may be. It is not the living expression of the object’s presence which is demanded; it is not something present which is to fire us by itself; on the contrary the work of art is content simply to arouse a general idea of the object by means of its figures, however little they correspond with it. But our ideas are always abstractions. I can very easily have an idea of something familiar like, for instance, a house, a tree, a man, but although here the idea is engaged with something entirely specific it does not go beyond quite general traits, and, in general, it is only really an idea when it has obliterated from the concrete perception of the objects their purely immediate individuality and so has simplified what is seen. Now if the idea which the work of art is meant to awaken is an idea of the Divine and this idea is to be recognizable by everyone, by a whole people, this aim is achieved par excellence when no alteration at all is admitted into the mode of portrayal. In that case the result is that art becomes conventional and hidebound, as has happened not only with the older Egyptian art but with the older Greek and Christian art too. The artist had to keep to specific forms and repeat their type.
The great transition to the awakening of fine art we can only seek where the artist first works in freedom according to the ideal as he conceives it, where the lightning flash of genius strikes the tradition and imparts freshness and vivacity to the presentation. Only in that case is a spiritual tone given to the entire work of art which is now no longer restricted to bringing some idea into consciousness in a general way and reminding the spectator of a deeper meaning which he carries in his head already otherwise. On the contrary it proceeds to portray this meaning as wholly alive and graphic in an individual figure. Therefore it does not confine itself to the purely superficial universality of forms nor in respect of closer definition does it cling to traits available in the ordinary world.
Pressure to reach this stage is the necessary presupposition for the emergence of ideal sculpture.
The following are the points to be made about ideal sculpture.
First, it is a matter of considering, in contrast to the stages just mentioned, the general character of the ideal figure and its forms.
Secondly, we must cite the particular aspects of importance, the sort of facial characteristics, drapery, pose, etc.
Thirdly, the ideal figure is not a purely universal form of beauty in general, but, owing to the principle of individuality which belongs to the genuine and living ideal, it essentially includes differences and their definition; this widens the sphere of sculpture into a cycle of individual images of gods, heroes, etc.
We have already seen in detail what the general principle of the classical ideal is. Here therefore it is only a question of the manner in which this principle is actualized by sculpture in the form of the human figure. A higher standard of comparison [between what represents the ideal and what does not] may be afforded by the difference between the human attitude and face, which is expressive of the spirit, and that of the animal which does not go beyond an expression of animated natural life in its firm connection with natural needs and with the animal organism’s structure that is designed for their satisfaction. But this criterion still remains vague, because the human form as such is not from the start already completely of an ideal kind either as body or as an expression of the spirit. Whereas we come closer to a criterion by our ability to acquire from the beautiful masterpieces of Greek sculpture a perception of what the sculptural ideal has to accomplish in the spiritually beautiful expression of its figures. Amongst those with this knowledge and with an insight into Greek art and a burning love of it, it is Winckelmann above all who with the enthusiasm of his reproductive insight no less than with intelligence and sound judgment put an end to vague chatter about the ideal of Greek beauty by characterizing individually and with precision the forms of the parts [of Greek statuary]-the sole undertaking that was instructive. To the result he achieved it is true that there must be added many acute comments on details, as well as exceptions and the like, but we must beware of being so led astray by such further details and the occasional errors into which he fell as to become oblivious of his main achievement. Whatever the increase in our knowledge of the facts, that achievement of his must lead the way by providing the essence of the matter. Nevertheless, it cannot be gainsaid that since Winckelmann’s death our acquaintance with works of ancient sculpture has been essentially enlarged, and not only in respect of their number; on the contrary in respect of their style and our estimate of their beauty, it has been placed on a firmer basis. Winckelmann had of course a great number of Egyptian and Greek statues in view, but more recently we can see Aeginetan sculptures as well as masterpieces ascribed to Phidias or necessarily recognized as belonging to his period and chiselled by his pupils. In short, we have now acquired a closer familiarity with a number of sculptures, statues, and reliefs which, when we think of the severity of the ideal style, must be placed in the period of the supreme blossoming of Greek art. These marvellous memorials of Greek sculpture we owe, as is well known, to the activities of Lord Elgin who, as English ambassador to Turkey, took to England from the Parthenon at Athens, and from other Greek cities, statues and reliefs of supreme beauty. These acquisitions have been signalized as sacrilege and sharply criticized, but in fact what Lord Elgin did was precisely to save these works of art for Europe and preserve them from complete destruction, and his enterprise deserves recognition through all time. Apart from the opportunity thus given, the interest of all connoisseurs and friends of art has been engrossed by that epoch of Greek sculpture and its mode of portrayal which in the still rather solid severity of its style constitutes the real greatness and sublimity of the ideal. What the public mood has appreciated in the works of this epoch is not any attractiveness and grace in their forms and attitude, nor the charm of expression which is visible already after the time of Phidias and which aims at giving pleasure to spectators, nor the elegance and audacity of the execution; on the contrary, universal praise is given to the expression of independence, of self-repose, in these figures, and especially has our admiration been intensified to an extreme by their free vivacity, by the way in which the natural material is permeated and conquered by the spirit and in which the artist has softened the marble, animated it, and given it a soul. In particular, whenever that praise is exhausted, its comes back ever anew to the figure of the recumbent river-god which is amongst the most beautiful things preserved to us from antiquity.
(a) The liveliness of these works is due to their having been created freely out of the spirit of the artist. At this stage the artist is not content to use general and fortuitous outlines, allusions, or expressions in order to provide an equally general idea of what he is supposed to be portraying; nor does he adopt, for portraying an individual or some single characteristic, the forms as he has received them by chance from the external world. For this reason he does not reproduce them for the sake of fidelity to this accidental detail; on the contrary, by his own free creative activity he can set the empirical detail of particular incidents in complete and, once more, individual harmony with the general forms of the human figure. This harmonious unity appears completely permeated by the spiritual content of what it is its vocation to manifest, while at the same time it reveals its own life, conception, and animation as given to it by the artist. The universal element in the content is not the artist’s creation; it is given to him by mythology and tradition, just precisely as he is confronted by the universal and individual elements of the human form. But the free and living individualization which he gives to every part of his creation is the fruit of his own insight, is his work and his merit.
(b) The effect and magic of this life and freedom is only achieved by the exactitude and scrupulous fidelity with which every part is worked out, and this demands the most precise knowledge and vision of the character of these parts whether they are at rest or in movement. The manner in which the different limbs, in every situation of rest or movement, are posed or laid, rounded or flattened, etc., must be expressed with perfect accuracy. This thorough elaboration and exhibition of every single part we find in all the works of antiquity, and their animation is only achieved by infinite care and truth to life. In looking at such works the eye cannot at first make out a mass of differences and they become evident only under a certain illumination where there is a stronger contrast of light and shade, or they may be recognizable only by touch. Nevertheless although these fine nuances are not noticed at a first glance, the general impression which they produce is not for this reason lost. They may appear when the spectator changes his position or we may essentially derive from them a sense of the organic fluidity of all the limbs and their forms. This breath of life, this soul of material forms, rests entirely on the fact that each part is completely there independently and in its own particular character, while, all the same, owing to the fullest richness of the transitions, it remains in firm connection not only with its immediate neighbour but with the whole. Consequently the shape is perfectly animated at every point; even the minutest detail has its purpose; everything has its own particular character, its own difference, its own distinguishing mark, and yet it remains in continual flux, counts and lives only in the whole. The result is that the whole can be recognized in fragments, and such a separated part affords the contemplation and enjoyment of an unbroken whole. Although most of the statues are damaged now and have their surface weathered, the skin seems soft and elastic and, e.g. in that unsurpassable horse’s head, the fiery force of life glows through the marble.-It is the way that the organic lines flow gently into one another, along with the most conscientious elaboration of the parts without forming regular surfaces or anything merely circular or convex, that alone provides the atmosphere of life, that delicacy and ideal unity of all the parts, that harmony which pervades the whole like a spiritual breath of ensoulment.
(c) But however faithfully the forms are expressed either generally or individually, this fidelity is no mere copying of nature. For sculpture is always concerned solely with the abstraction of form and must therefore on the one hand abandon what is strictly natural in the body, i.e. what hints at merely natural functions, while on the other hand it may not proceed to particularize the most external details; for example, the treatment and presentation of hair must be confined to the more general element in the forms. In this way alone does the human figure appear, as should be the case in sculpture, not as a merely natural form but as the figure and expression of the spirit. As a corollary of this there is a further consideration, namely that while the spiritual content is expressed by sculpture in the body, in the case of the genuine ideal it does not enter something external to such an extent that the pleasure of the spectator could be wholly or mainly derived from this external object itself with its grace and charm. On the contrary, while the genuine and more severe ideal must of course give a body to the spirit and make the spirit visible only through the figure and its expression, the figure must nevertheless always appear upheld, borne, and completely penetrated by the spiritual content. The swelling of life, the softness and charm or the sensuous wealth and beauty of the bodily organism must not in itself be what the portrayal aims at; neither may the individual element in the spirit go so far as to become an expression of something subjective more nearly akin and approximating to the spectator’s own purely personal character.
If we turn now to consider in more detail the chief features of importance in connection with the ideal sculptural form, we will follow Winckelmann in the main; with the greatest insight and felicity he has described the particular forms and the way they were treated and developed by Greek artists until they count as the sculptural ideal. Their liveliness, this deliquescence, eludes the categories of the Understanding which cannot grasp the particular here or get to the root of it as it can in architecture [mathematically]. On the whole, however, as we have seen already, a connection can be adduced between the free spirit and bodily form.
The first general distinction which we can make in this connection affects the purpose of sculpture in general, i.e. to make the human form express something spiritual. Although the expression of spirit must be diffused over the appearance of the entire body, it is most concentrated in the face, whereas the other members can reflect the spirit only in their position, provided that that has been the work of the inherently free spirit.
Our consideration of the ideal forms will begin with the head; then, secondly, we will go on to discuss the position of the body, and then we end with the principle for the drapery.
In the ideal formation of the human head, we are confronted above all by the so-called Greek profile.
(α) This profile depends on a specific connection between forehead and nose: in other words on the almost straight or only gently curved line on which the forehead is continued to the nose without interruption; and, in more detail, on the vertical alignment of this line to a second one which if drawn from the root of the nose to the auditory canal makes a right angle with the forehead-nose line. In ideal and beautiful sculpture forehead and nose are related together by such a line and the question arises whether this is a physical necessity or merely a national or artistic accident.
Camper in particular, the well-known Dutch physiologist, has characterized this line more precisely as the line of beauty in the face since he finds in it the chief difference between the formation of the human face and the animal profile, and therefore he pursues the modification of this line in the different races of mankind, a point on which Blumenbach, it is true, contradicts him. But, in general, this line does in fact provide a very significant distinction between the human and animal appearance. In animals the mouth and the nasal bone do form a more or less straight line, but the specific projection of the animal’s snout which presses forward as if to get as near as possible to the consumption of food is essentially determined by its relation to the skull on which the ear is placed further upward or downward, so that the line drawn to the root of the nose or to the upper jaw (where the teeth are inset) forms with the skull an acute angle, not a right angle as is the case in man. Everyone by himself can have a general sense of this difference which of course may depend on more definite considerations.
(αα) In the formation of the animal head the predominant thing is the mouth, as the tool for chewing, with the upper and lower jaw, the teeth, and the masticatory muscles. The other organs are added to this principal organ as only servants and helpers: the nose especially as sniffing out food, the eye, less important, for spying it. The express prominence of these formations exclusively devoted to natural needs and their satisfaction gives the animal head the appearance of being merely adapted to natural functions and without any spiritual ideal significance. So, after all, we can understand the whole of the animal organism in the light of these tools in the mouth. In other words, the specific kind of food demands a specific structure of the mouth, a special kind of teeth, with which there then most closely correspond the build of the jaws, masticatory muscles, cheek-bones, and, in addition, the spine, thigh-bones, hoofs, etc. The animal body serves purely natural purposes and acquires by this dependence on the merely material aspect of nourishment an expression of spiritual absence.
Now if the human appearance in its bodily form is to bear an impress of the spirit, then those organs which appear as the most important in the animal must be in the background in man and give place to those indicative not of a practical relation to things but of an ideal or theoretical one.
(ββ) Therefore the human face has a second centre in which the soulful and spiritual relation to things is manifested. This is in the upper part of the face, in the intellectual brow and, lying under it, the eye, expressive of the soul, and what surrounds it. That is to say that with the brow there are connected meditation, reflection, the spirit’s reversion into itself while its inner life peeps out from the eye and is clearly concentrated there. Through this emphasis on the forehead, while the mouth and cheek-bones are secondary, the human face acquires a spiritual character. The fact that the forehead comes into the foreground determines of necessity the whole structure of the skull which no longer falls back, forming one leg of an acute angle, the extreme point of which is the mouth now drawn forward; on the contrary, a line can be drawn from the forehead through the nose to the point of the chin which forms a right angle, or approximately one, with a second line drawn from the back of the skull to the apex of the forehead.
(γγ) Thirdly, the transition from the upper to the lower part of the face, from the purely theoretical and spiritual brow to the practical organ of nourishment, and the connection between them, is the nose which even in its natural function as the organ of smell stands in between our theoretical and practical relation to the external world. In this central position it does still belong to an animal need, for smelling is essentially connected with taste and this after all is why in the animal the nose is there in the service of the mouth and feeding; but smelling itself is still not an actual practical devouring of things, like eating and tasting, but takes up only the result of a process in which things mingle with air and its secret and invisible volatilizing. Now if the transition from forehead to nose is so made that the forehead curves outwards and withdraws next the nose, while the nose on its side remains pressed in next the forehead and only subsequently is projected, the result is that the two parts of the face, the theoretical one, the forehead, and the one indicative of practical activity, the nose and the mouth, form a marked contrast, the effect of which is to draw the nose which belongs as it were to both parts, down from the forehead to the mouth. In that event the forehead in its isolated position acquires a look of severity and obstinate spiritual self-concentration contrasted with the eloquent communication of the mouth. The mouth then becomes the organ of nutrition and at once makes a servant of the nose as a tool for smelling and so for stimulating desire and shows how it is directed on a physical need. Further, there is connected with this the contingency of the indeterminable modifications of form which forehead and nose can consequently adopt. The sort of curve and the projection or retreat of the forehead loses any fixed determinacy, and the nose may be flat or pointed, drooping, arched, or snub and retroussé.
By softening and smoothing the lines, the Greek profile introduces a beautiful harmony into the gentle and unbroken connection between the forehead and the nose and so between the upper and lower parts of the face. The effect of this connection is that the nose is made more akin to the forehead and therefore, by being drawn up towards the spiritual part, acquires itself a spiritual expression and character. Smelling – becomes as it were a theoretical smelling-becomes a keen nose for the spiritual; after all, in fact when one screws up one’s nose, etc., however insignificant such movements may be, this is an extremely quick way of expressing spiritual judgements and kinds of feeling. So we say, for example, of a proud man that he looks down his nose, or we may call a young girl saucy when she tosses up her little nose.
Something similar is true of the mouth too. It does have the purpose of being a tool for satisfying hunger and thirst, but it does also express spiritual states, moods, and passions. Even in animals it serves in this respect for ejaculations, but in man for speech, laughter, sighing, etc., and in this way the lines of the mouth already have a characteristic connection with the eloquent communication of spiritual states or of joy, grief, etc.
It is said, it is true, that such a facial formation has occurred to the Greeks alone as the really beautiful one, while the Chinese, Jews, and Egyptians regarded other, indeed opposite, formations as just as beautiful or more so and that, therefore, verdict against verdict, there is no proof that the Greek profile is the model of genuine beauty. But this is only superficial chatter. The Greek profile is not to be regarded as an external and fortuitous form; it belongs to the ideal of beauty in its own independent nature because (i) it is that facial formation in which the expression of the spirit puts the merely natural wholly into the background, and (ii) it is the one which most escapes fortuitousness of form without exhibiting mere regularity and banning every sort of individuality.
(β) Out of the abundant detail in the individual forms I will select for mention here only a few points of importance. Accordingly we may deal first with the forehead, the eye, and the ear as the parts of the face more related to the spirit and the theoretical life; then secondly, with the mouth, nose, and chin as the formations belonging, more or less, rather to the practical sphere; and thirdly we have to mention the hair as an external setting rounding off the head to a beautiful oval.
(αα) In the ideal figures of classical sculpture the forehead is neither curved outwards nor, in general, high, because, although the spirit is meant to appear in the build of the face, what sculpture has to represent is not spirituality as such but individuality wholly expressed in a corporeal form. In heads of Hercules, for example, the forehead is particularly low because he possesses the muscular vigour of the body directed on external objects rather than an introspective vigour of mind. Elsewhere the forehead is variously modified, lower in charming and youthful female figures, higher in those more dignified and spiritual and more intellectual. Towards the temples it does not fall away at an acute angle; it does not sink into the temples but is rounded ovally in a soft curve and overgrown with hair. For the acute hairless angles and deep sinkings into the temples befit only the weakness of advancing years and not the eternal bloom of youth in ideal gods and heroes.
In regard to the eye, [first,] we must at once make it clear that the ideal sculptural figure not merely lacks what is properly the colour of painting but also the glance of the eye. Attempts have no doubt been made to prove historically that the Greeks did paint the eye on some temple-figures of Athene and other divinities, on the strength of the fact that traces of paint have still been found on some statues, but in the case of sacred images the artists often kept so far as possible to what was traditional, in defiance of good taste. In other cases it seems that the statues must have had precious stones inset as eyes. But then this proceeds from what I have mentioned before, the desire to decorate the images of the gods as richly and magnificently as possible. And, on the whole, this colouring belongs to the beginnings of art, or to religious traditions, or is an exception; besides, colouring does not ever give to the eye that self-concentrated glance which alone makes the eye completely expressive. Therefore we can take it here as incontestable that the iris and the glance expressive of the spirit is missing from the really classic and free statues and busts preserved to us from antiquity. For although the iris is often delineated in the eyeball or indicated by a conical depth and turn which expresses the brilliance of the iris and therefore a sort of glance, this still remains only the wholly external shape of the eye and is not its animation, not a real glance, the glance of the inner soul.
It is therefore easy to suppose that it must cost the artist a lot to sacrifice the eye, this simple expression of the soul. Do we not look a man first of all in the eye in order to get a support, a point, and a basis for explaining his entire appearance which in its greatest simplicity can be understood from this point of unity in his glance? His glance is what is most full of his soul, the concentration of his inmost personality and feeling. We are at one with a man’s personality in his handshake, but still more quickly in his glance. And it is just this clearest expression of a man’s soul that sculpture must lack, whereas in painting what appears by means of the shades of colour is the expression of the man’s personality either in its whole inwardness of feeling or in his varied contact with things outside and the particular interests, feelings and passions which they evoke. But in sculpture the sphere of the artist is neither the inner feeling of the soul, the concentration of the whole man into the one simple self which appears in a glance as this ultimate point of illumination, nor with the personality diffused in the complications of the external world. Sculpture has as its aim the entirety of the external form over which it must disperse the soul, and it must present it in this variety, and therefore it is not allowed to bring back this variety to one simple soulful point and the momentary glance of the eye. The work of sculpture has no inwardness which would manifest itself explicitly as this ideal glance, in distinction from the rest of the body or thus enter the opposition between eye and body; on the contrary, what the individual is in his inner and spiritual life is effused over the entirety of the sculptural form, and is grasped as a whole only by the spirit, the spectator, contemplating it. Secondly, the eye looks out into the external world; by nature it looks at something and therefore displays man in his relation to a varied external sphere, just as in feeling he is related to his environment and what goes on there. But the genuine sculptural figure is precisely withdrawn from this link with external things and is immersed in the substantial nature of its spiritual content, independent in itself, not dispersed in or complicated by anything else. Thirdly, the glance of the eye acquires its developed meaning through what the rest of the body expresses in its features and speech, although it is distinguished from this development by being the purely formal point at which the subjective personality is concentrated and in which the whole variety of the figure and its environment is brought together. Such breadth of detail, however, is foreign to plastic art and so the more particular expression in the eye’s glance, which does not find its further corresponding expansion in the whole of the figure, is only something accidental and fortuitous which sculpture must keep at arm’s length.
For these reasons sculpture not only loses nothing by the sightlessness of its figures but must, in virtue of its whole nature, dispense with this expression of soul. Thus once again we see the great insight of the Greeks in realizing the limits and boundaries of sculpture and remaining strictly true to this abstraction. This is their higher intellect in the fullness of their reason and the entirety of their vision. It is true that even in their sculpture there are instances of the eye looking at something specific, as for example in the statue of the faun, mentioned already twice, which looks down at the young Bacchus. This smile is soulfully expressed, but even here the eye is not seeing, and the real statues of the gods in their simple situations are not presented with a turning of the eye and the glance in some specific direction.
As for the appearance of the eye in ideal sculptures, in its form it is big, open, oval, while in position it is deep-set and lying at right angles to the line of the forehead and nose.
The bigness of the eye counts as beauty for Winckelmann (Werke, vol. iv, bk. 5, ch. v, § 20, p. 198) on the ground that a big light is more beautiful than a small one. He continues: ‘The size, however, is proportionate to the orbit or its cavity and is expressed in the cut and opening of the eyelids of which, in beautiful eyes, the upper describes a rounder curve in relation to the internal recess than the lower does.’ In profile heads of sublime workmanship the eyeball forms a profile itself and acquires precisely through this abrupt opening a majesty and an open glance, the light of which, according to Winckelmann, is made visible similarly on coins by a point on the upper part of the eyeball. Yet not all large eyes are beautiful, for they become so only, on the one hand, owing to the curve of the eylids and, on the other hand, owing to their being more deeply set. The eye, that is to say, should not protrude or, as it were, project itself into the external world, for this relation to the external world is remote from the ideal and is exchanged for [what the ideal requires, namely] the self’s withdrawal into itself, into the substantive inner life of the individual. But the prominence of the eye at once reminds us that the eyeball is now pressed forward, now withdrawn again, and, in particular, when a man is goggle-eyed this only shows that he is beside himself, either staring thoughtlessly or just as absent-mindedly absorbed in gazing at some physical object.
In the ancient ideal sculptures the eye is set even deeper than it is in nature (Winckelmann, loco cit., § 21). Winckelmann gives as a reason for this that in larger statues standing further away from the spectator’s view the eye would have been meaningless and as it were dead without this deeper setting, especially because in addition the eyeball was usually flat; but the greatness of the orbits amplified the play of light and shade and so made the eye more effective. Yet this deepening of the eye has still another significance, namely that, if in consequence the forehead protrudes more than it does in nature, the intellectual part of the face predominates and its expression of spirit leaps to the eye more clearly, while the strengthened shadow in the orbits gives us of itself a feeling of depth and undistracted inner life, blindness to external things, and a withdrawal into the essence of individuality, the depth of which is suffused over the entire figure. On coins of the best period too the eyes are deeply set and the bones of the eye-socket are emphasized; whereas the eyebrows are not expressed by a broader arch of small hairs but only indicated through the sharply cut outline of the orbits which, without interrupting the continuous form of the forehead as eyebrows do by their colour and relative loftiness, form a sort of elliptical wreath round the eyes. The higher and therefore more independent curving of the eyebrows has never been regarded as beautiful.
About ears Winckelmann says (ibid., §29) that
the ancients expended the greatest care on their elaboration, so that, e.g., in the case of engraved stones lack of care in the execution of the ear is an unequivocal sign of the work’s inauthenticity. Portrait statues in particular often reproduced the peculiarly individual shape of the ear. Therefore from the form of the ear we can often guess the person portrayed, if he is someone well known, and from an ear with an unusually large inner opening we can infer that he is a Marcus Aurelius. Indeed the ancients have indicated even a malformation.
As one special kind of ear on ideal heads, Winckelmann cites on some Hercules statues ears that are flattened and then thickened at the cartilaginous parts. They indicate a wrestler and pancratiast, since after all Hercules carried off the pancratiast’s prize at the games in honour of Pelops at Elis (ibid., §34).
(ββ) In connection with that part of the face which, viewed in its natural function, is related rather to the practical side of the senses, we have to mention, secondly, the more specific form of the nose, the mouth, and the chin.
The difference in the form of the nose gives to the face the most varied appearance and the most manifold differences of expression. A sharp nose with thin wings, for example, we are accustomed to associate with a sharp intellect, while a broad and pendant one or one snubbed like an animal’s is indicative to us of sensuality, stupidity, and bestiality. But sculpture must keep itself free from both these extremes as well as from the intermediate stages of form and expression; it therefore avoids, as we saw in the case of the Greek people, not only the nose’s separation from the forehead but also any upper or lower curvature, a sharp point or too rounded’ an appearance, either a rise in the middle or a fall towards forehead or mouth, in short a nose either sharp or thick; for in place of these numerous modifications sculpture substitutes as it were an indifferent form though one always faintly animated by individuality.
After the eye the mouth is the most beautiful part of the face, provided that it is shaped according to its spiritual significance and not to its natural purpose of serving as a tool for eating and drinking. So shaped, it is inferior in variety and wealth of expression to the eye alone, although it can vividly present the finest shades of derision, contempt and envy, the whole gamut of grief and joy, by means of the faintest movements and their most active play; similarly, in repose it indicates charm, seriousness, sensitiveness, shyness, surrender, etc. But sculpture uses it less for the particular nuances of the expression of spirit, and above all it has to remove from the shape and the cut of the lips what is purely sensuous and indicative of natural needs. Therefore it so forms the mouth as to make it, in general, neither over-full nor tight, for lips that are all too thin are indicative of parsimony of feeling too; so sculpture makes the lower lip fuller than the upper one, as was the case with Schiller; in the formation of his mouth it was possible to read the significance and richness of his mind and heart. This more ideal form of the lips, in contrast to the animal’s snout, gives the impression of a certain absence of desire, whereas when the upper lip protrudes in an animal we are at once reminded of dashing for food and seizing on it. In man the mouth in its spiritual bearing is especially the seat of speech, i.e. the organ for the free communication of what we know, just as the eye expresses what we feel. The ideal sculptures, moreover, do not have the lips tightly closed; on the contrary, in works from the golden age of art (Winckelmann, loco cit., §26) the mouth remains somewhat open though without making the teeth visible, for these have no business with the expression of the spirit. This can be explained by the fact that when the senses are active, especially when our sight is firmly and strictly concentrated on specific objects, the mouth is closed, whereas when we are freely sunk in ourselves without looking at anything, it is slightly opened and the corners of the mouth are bent only a little downwards.
Thirdly, the chin completes in its ideal form the spiritual expression of the mouth, unless as in animals it is missing altogether or, as in Egyptian sculptures, it is pressed back and meagre. The ideal chin is itself drawn further down than is usual, and now, in the rounded fullness of its arched form, its size is still greater, especially if the lower lip is shorter. A full chin gives the impression of a certain satiety and repose; whereas old and restless women shuffle along with their weak chins and feeble muscles, and Goethe, for instance, compares their chaps to a pair of tongs that want to grip. But all this unrest disappears when the chin is full. But a dimple, now regarded as something beautiful, is just something casually charming without having any essential connection with beauty; but in lieu of this a big rounded chin counts as an authentic sign of Greek heads. In the Medici Venus the chin is smaller, but this statue has been discovered to be mutilated.
(γγ) In conclusion, it now only remains for us to discuss the hair. Hair as such has the character of a plant production rather than of an animal one. It is a sign of weakness rather than a proof of the organism’s strength. The barbarians let their hair hang fiat or they wear it cut all round, not waved or curled, whereas the Greeks in their ideal sculptures devoted great care to the elaboration of the locks, a matter in which modern artists have been less industrious and less skilled; it is true that the Greeks too, when they worked in stone that was all too hard, did not make the hair hang freely in wavy curls but (Winckelmann, ibid., §37) represented it as cut short and then finely combed. But in marble statues of the great period the hair is curled and, in male heads, kept long. In female heads it is stroked upwards and caught together en chignon. Here, at least according to Winckelmann (ibid.), we see it serpentine, with emphatic deepening between the locks to give them a variety of light and shade which cannot be produced by shallower drills. Moreover, the fall and arrangement of the hair differs in different gods. In a similar way Christian painting too makes Christ recognizable by a specific sort of locks and their parting, and the adoption of this example as a fashion today gives to many men the look of our Lord.
(γ) Now these particular parts [of the face] have to have their form harmonized into the head as into one whole. Here the beautiful shape is determined by a line which most nearly approaches an oval, and therefore anything sharp, pointed, or angled is dissolved into a harmony and a continuous soft connection of form, but without being purely regular and abstractly symmetrical or running away into a manifold variety of lines and their turning and bending as happens with the other parts of the body. To the formation of this oval line (which returns into itself like a circle) the chief contribution, especially for a front view of the face, is made by the beautiful free swing from chin to ear, as well as the line, already mentioned, described by the forehead along the eye sockets, together with the curve of the profile from the forehead over the point of the nose down to the chin, and the convexity of the occiput down to the nape of the neck.
This is as much as I wanted to describe about the ideal shape of the head, without entering into further detail.
The other parts of the body – neck, chest, back, trunk, arms, hands, legs, and feet – are organized on a different principle. In their form they can be beautiful, but beautiful only sensuously and in a living way without immediately expressing the spirit in their shape as the face does in its. Even in the shape of these members and its elaboration the Greeks have given proof of their supreme sense of beauty, yet in genuine sculpture these forms should not be asserted as simply the beauty of the living being, but must, as members of the human figure, give us a glimpse of the spirit, so far as the body as such can provide it. For otherwise the expression of the inner life would be concentrated solely in the face, while in the plasticity of sculpture the spirit should appear precisely as effused over the whole figure and not independently isolated and contrasted with the body.
Now if we ask by what means chest, trunk, back, and our extremities can work together into an expression of the spirit and therefore, apart from their beautiful vitality, receive in themselves the breath of a spiritual life, the means are the following:
first, the position into which the members are brought relatively to one another, in so far as this position emanates from and is freely determined by the inner life of the spirit;
secondly, movement or repose in its complete beauty and freedom of form;
thirdly, this sort of position and movement in their specific appearance and expression provides more clearly the situation in which the ideal, which can never be merely ideal in abstracto, is apprehended.
On these points too I will add a few general remarks.
(α) The first point which offers itself for even superficial consideration about position is man’s upright posture. The animal body runs parallel with the ground, jaws and eye pursue the same direction as the spine, and the animal cannot of itself independently annul this relation of itself to gravity. The opposite is the case with man, because the eye, looking straight outwards, has its natural direction always at right angles to the line of gravity and the body. Like the animals, man can go on all fours and little children do so in fact; but as soon as consciousness begins to awaken, man tears himself loose from being tied to the ground like an animal, and stands erect by himself. This standing is an act of will, for, if we give up willing to stand, our body collapses and falls to the ground. For this very reason the erect position has in it an expression of the spirit, because this rising from the ground is always connected with the will and therefore with the spirit and its inner life; after all it is common parlance to say that a man ‘stands on his own feet’ when he does not make his moods, views, purposes, and aims depend on someone else.
But the erect position is not yet beautiful as such; it becomes so only when it acquires freedom of form. For if in fact a man simply stands up straight, letting his hands hang down glued to the body quite symmetrically and not separated from it, while the legs remain tightly closed together, this gives a disagreeable impression of stiffness, even if at first sight we see no compulsion in it. This stiffness here is an abstract, almost architectural, regularity in which the limbs persist in the same position relatively to one another, and furthermore there is not visible here any determination by the spirit from within; for arms, legs, chest, trunk – all the members – remain and hang precisely as they had grown in the man at birth, without having been brought into a different relation by the spirit and its will and feeling. (The same is true about sitting.) Conversely, crouching and squatting are not to be found on the soil of freedom because they indicate something subordinate, dependent, and slavish. The free position, on the other hand, avoids abstract regularity and angularity and brings the position of the limbs into lines approaching the form of the organic; it also makes spiritual determinants shine through, so that the states and passions of the inner life are recognizable from the posture. Only in this event can the posture count as a sign of the spirit.
Yet in using postures as gestures sculpture must proceed with great caution and in this matter has many difficulties to overcome. For (i) in such a case the reciprocal relation of the parts of the body is indeed derived from the inner life, i.e. from the spirit, but (ii) this determination by the inner must not place the individual parts in such a way as to contradict the structure of the body and its laws and so give them the look of having suffered violence or put in opposition to the heavy material in which it is the sculptor’s task to carry out his ideas. (iii) The posture must appear entirely unforced, i.e. we must get the impression that the body has adopted its position by its own initiative, because otherwise body and spirit appear different, parting from one another and entering a relation of mere command on one side and abstract obedience on the other, while in sculpture both should constitute one and the same directly harmonious whole. In this respect the absence of constraint is a prime requirement. The spirit, as what is inward, must entirely permeate the members, and these must adopt into themselves as the content of their own soul the spirit and its determining characteristics. (iv) As for the sort of gesture which the posture in ideal sculpture can be commissioned to express, it is clear from what has been said already that it should not be simply something caught at a moment and therefore alterable. Sculpture must not portray men as if, in the middle of a movement or an action, they had been frozen or turned to stone by a Gorgon’s head. On the contrary, although the gesture may hint in every case at a characteristic action, it must still express only the beginning and preparation of an action, an intention, or it must indicate the cessation of action and a reversion to repose. What is most suitable for a sculptured figure is the repose and independence of the spirit which comprises in itself the potentiality of an entire world.
(β) Secondly, it is the same with movement as it was with position. As movement proper it has a smaller place in sculpture as such, because sculpture does not advance of its own accord to a mode of portrayal approximating to that of a more advanced art. The chief task of sculpture is to present the peaceful divine image in its blessed perfection without any inner struggle. Variety of movement therefore automatically disappears; what is presented is rather a standing or recumbent figure immersed in itself, something pregnant with possibilities but at this stage not proceeding to any definite action, and therefore not reducing its strength to a single moment or regarding that moment, instead of peaceful and even duration, as the essential thing. We must be able to have the idea that the divine image will stand eternally so in that same position. Self-projection into the external world, involvement in the midst of some specific action and its conflicts, the momentary strain that neither can nor want to persist-all these are opposed to the peaceful ideality of sculpture and occur only in groups and reliefs where particular features of an action are brought into the representation in a way reminiscent of the principle of painting. The spectacle of powerful emotions and their passing outburst does produce its immediate effect, but in that case it is over and done with and we do not willingly return to it. For what is conspicuous in such a spectacle is a matter of a moment which we see and recognize equally in a moment, while in such a case what is relegated to the background is precisely the fullness and freedom of the inner life, the infinite and eternal, in which we can immerse ourselves for ever.
(γ) But this is not to say that, where sculpture adheres to its severe principle and is at its zenith, it has to exclude an attitude of movement altogether, for if it did it would portray the Divine only in its vagueness and absence of difference. On the contrary, since it has to apprehend the divine substance as individuality and bring it before our eyes in a corporeal form, the inner and outer situation which sculpture imprints on the subject-matter and its form must also be individual. Now it is this individuality of a specific situation which is principally expressed in the posture and movement of the body. Yet just as substance is the chief thing in sculpture, and individuality has not yet won its way out of this into particular independence, so the particular determinate character of the situation too must not be of such a kind as to blur or cancel the simple solidity of that substantial element by inveigling it in one-sidedness and the clash of collisions, or, in short, by carrying it entirely into the preponderating importance and variety of particular events. On the contrary, this determinate character must rather remain one which, taken by itself, is less essential or is even a cheerful play of harmless liveliness on the surface of individuality, the substantiality of which therefore loses nothing of its depth, independence, and repose. This, however, is a point which I have mentioned already, with continual reference to the ideal of sculpture, in dealing with the situation in which the ideal may enter the representation in its specific character, and therefore I will pass it over here.
The final important point, the one to be considered now, is the question of drapery in sculpture. At first sight it may seem that the nude form and its spiritually permeated and sensuous beauty of body in its posture and movement is what is most appropriate to the ideal of sculpture and that drapery is only a disadvantage. From this point of view, we hear again, nowadays especially, the complaint that modern sculpture is so often compelled to clothe its figures, on the ground that no clothing can match the beauty of the form of the human body. As a corollary of this there rises at once the further regret that so little opportunity is given to our artists to study the nude which the Greeks had always standing before their eyes. In general it need only be said on this matter that from the point of view of sensuous beauty preference must be given to the nude, but sensuous beauty as such is not the ultimate aim of sculpture, and so it follows that the Greeks did not fall into error by presenting most of their male figures nude but by far the majority of the female ones clothed.
(α) The reason for clothing in general lies, apart from artistic purposes, for one thing in the need for protection from the weather, since nature has given man this concern while exempting animals from it by covering them with fur, feathers, hair, scales, etc. For another thing, it is a sense of shame which drives men to cover themselves with clothes. Shame, considered quite generally, is the start of anger against something that ought not to be. Man becomes conscious of his higher vocation to be spirit and he must therefore regard what is animal as incompatible with that and struggle to conceal, as incompatible with his higher inner life, especially those parts of his body-trunk, breast, back, and legs-which serve purely animal functions or point to the purely external and have no directly spiritual vocation and express nothing spiritual. Amongst all peoples who have risen to the beginning of reflection we find therefore in a greater or lesser degree the sense of shame and the need for clothing. As early as the story in Genesis this transition is roost sensitively expressed. Before they ate of the tree of knowledge Adam and Eve walked innocently naked in Paradise, but scarcely has a consciousness of spirit awakened in them than they see that they are naked and are ashamed of their nakedness. The same sense is dominant amongst the other Asiatic nations. So, e.g., Herodotus (i. 10), in telling the story of how Gyges came to the throne, says that ‘among the Lydians, and indeed among the barbarians generally, it is reckoned a deep disgrace, even to a man, to be seen naked’, a proof of which is the story of the wife of King Candaules of Lydia. Candaules gave Gyges, a favourite of his and one of his bodyguard, freedom to see his wife naked, in order to prove to him that his wife was of surpassing beauty. This was to have been kept secret from her, but she became aware of the outrage all the same by seeing Gyges, who had been hidden in her bedroom, slip out at the door. Incensed, she summoned Gyges the next day and told him that since the King had done this to her and Gyges had seen what he should not have seen, he could only have a choice: ‘Either slay the King as a punishment and then possess me and the kingdom, or else die.’ Gyges chose the former and after the King’s murder mounted the throne and the widow’s bed.
On the other hand, the Egyptians frequently or even usually displayed their statues naked, so that the male figures had only a small apron, and on the figure of Isis clothing is indicated only by a transparent and scarcely noticeable skirt round the legs. This was due neither to a lack of shame nor to a sense for the beauty of organic forms. For, given their symbolic outlook, we may say, they were not concerned with creating an appearance appropriate to the spirit, but with the meaning, the essence, and the idea of what the figure was to bring home to the spectator’s mind, and consequently they left the human body in its natural form, without any reflection on its greater or lesser appropriateness to spirit; this form they did copy with great fidelity.
(β) In the case of the Greeks, finally, we find both nude and clothed figures. And thus they clothed themselves in fact, while at the same time they counted it an honour to have been the first to compete nude [in the games]. The Spartans in particular were the first to wrestle in the nude.But in their case this did not occur at all out of a sense for beauty but from a rigid indifference to the delicate and spiritual element in modesty. In the Greek national character the feeling of personal individuality just as it immediately exists, and as spiritually animated in its existence, is as highly intensified as the sense for free and beautiful forms. Therefore there had to be an advance to giving form on its own account to the human being in his immediacy, to the body as it belongs to man and is permeated by his spirit, and to respect above everything else the human figure as a figure, just because it is the freest and most beautiful one. In this sense of course they discarded that shame or modesty which forbids the purely human body to be seen, and they did this, not from indifference to the spiritual, but from indifference to purely sensual desire, for the sake of beauty alone. For this reason a great number of their sculptures are presented naked from deliberate intention.
But neither could this lack of every kind of clothing be allowed to prevail throughout. For, as I remarked before in dealing with the difference between the head and the other parts of the body, it cannot in fact be denied that spiritual expression in the figure is limited to the face and the position and movement of the whole, to gestures expressed principally through the arms and hands and the position of the legs. For these members which are active in an outward direction serve best, through their sort of position and movement, to manifest an expression of spirit. Whereas the rest of the body is and remains capable of only a sensuous beauty, and the differences visible there can only be those of bodily strength, muscular development, or muscular suppleness and placidity, as well as differences of sex and of age, youth, and childhood. Therefore, so far as the expression of spirit in the figure is concerned, the nudity of these parts is a matter of indifference even from the point of view of beauty, and it accords with decency to cover those parts of the body [in a statue] if, that is to say, the preponderating thing in view is to represent the spiritual element in man. What ideal art does at every single point, namely extinguish the deficiency of animal life in its detailed organization – its little veins, wrinkles, little hairs on the head, etc – and emphasize only the spiritual treatment of the form in its living outline, this is what clothing does here. It conceals the superfluity of the organs which are necessary, it is true, for the body’s self-preservation, for digestion etc., but, for the expression of the spirit, otherwise superfluous. Therefore it cannot be said without qualification that the nudity of sculptures is evidence throughout of a higher sense of beauty, a greater moral freedom and innocence. Here too the Greeks were guided by a truer and more spiritual insight.
The Greeks exhibited in the nude (a) children, e.g. Eros, for in them the bodily appearance is wholly naive, and spiritual beauty consists precisely in this entire naiveté and ingenuousness; (b) youth, gods of youth, heroic gods and heroes like Perseus, Heracles, Theseus, Jason, for in them the chief thing is heroic courage, the use and development of the body for deeds of bodily strength and endurance; (c) wrestlers in contests at the national games, where the sole thing that could be of interest was not what they did, or their spirit and individual character, but the body’s action, the force, flexibility, beauty, and free play of the muscles and limbs; (d) fauns and satyrs and bacchantes in the frenzy of their dance; (e) Aphrodite, because in her a chief feature is the sensuous charm of a woman. Whereas we get drapery where a higher intellectual significance, an inner seriousness of the spirit, is prominent and, in short, where nature is not to be made the predominant thing. So, for example, Winckelmann citedthe act that out of ten statues of women scarcely one was nude. Amongst goddesses it is especially Pallas, Juno, Vesta, Diana, Ceres, and the Muses who are robed, and, amongst the gods, Zeus especially, the bearded Bacchus Indicus, and some others.
(γ) The rationale of clothes is a favourite topic so much discussed as to have become to some extent banal. I will therefore make on it only the following brief remarks.
On the whole we need not regret that our sense of propriety fights shy of making figures entirely nude; for if clothing, instead of concealing the posture, simply makes it shine through completely, then not only is nothing lost but, on the contrary, the clothing is simply what really emphasizes the posture and in this respect is to be regarded as an advantage because it deprives us of an immediate view of what, as purely sensuous, is without significance, and shows us only what is related to the situation expressed by posture and movement.
(αα) If we accept this principle, it may seem that that clothing is most advantageous of all for artistic treatment which conceals the shape of the limbs, and therefore the posture, as little as possible, and this is the case with our closely-fitting modern clothes. Our narrow sleeves and trousers follow the outlines of the figure, and therefore are the least hindrance because they make visible the whole form of the limbs as well as a man’s walk and his gestures. The long wide robes and baggy trousers of the Orientals, on the other hand, would be wholly incompatible with our vivacity and varied activities and they only suit people who, like the Turks, sit all the day long with their legs crossed beneath them or who only walk about slowly and extremely solemnly.
But at the same time we know, and our first best glance at modern statues or pictures can prove to us, that our modern clothing is wholly inartistic: this is because what we really see in it, as I have already explained in another place, is not the fine, free, and living contours of the body in their delicate and flowing development but stretched out sacks with stiff folds. For even if the most general character of the bodily forms remains, still the beautiful organic undulations are lost and what we see close at hand is something produced for an external purpose, something cut, sewn together here, folded over there, elsewhere fixed, and, in short, purely unfree forms, with folds and surfaces positioned here and there by seams, buttons, and button-holes. In other words, such clothing is in fact just a covering and a veil which throughout lacks any form of its own but, in the organic formation of the limbs which it follows in general, precisely conceals what is visibly beautiful, namely their living swelling and curving, and substitutes for them the visible appearance of a material mechanically fashioned. This is what is entirely inartistic about modern clothes.
(ββ) The principle for the artistic kind of drapery lies in treating it as if it were architectural. An architectural construction is only an environment in which we can nevertheless move freely and which on its side, being separated from what it encloses, must display in its formation the fact that it has a purpose of its own. Moreover, the architectural character of supporting and being supported must be formed on its own account according to its own mechanical nature. A principle of this kind is followed by the sort of drapery which we find used in the ideal sculpture of the Greeks.
The mantle especially is like a house in which a person is free to move. It is carried indeed, but fastened at only one point, e.g. the shoulder, but otherwise it develops its own particular form according to its own special weight; it hangs, falls, and runs into folds spontaneously, and the particular modifications of this free formation depend solely on the pose of the wearer. Similar falling freely is little impaired essentially by other parts of Greek clothing, and it is this which is precisely appropriate to art, because in that case alone do we see nothing tight and manufactured and displaying by its form some purely external force and necessitation, but something formed on its own account yet taking its origin from the spirit by way of the pose of the figure. Therefore the dress of the Greeks is held up by the body, and determined by its pose, only to the extent necessary to prevent its falling, but otherwise it hangs down freely, and even in being moved along with the movement of the body it always abides by this principle. This is absolutely necessary, for the body is one thing, the clothing another, and the latter must come into its own independently and appear in its freedom. Whereas modern clothes, on the contrary, are either entirely carried by the body and are so subservient to it that they express the pose too predominantly and yet merely disfigure the forms of the limbs, or where, in the fall of the folds, etc., they might acquire a shape of their own, it is just the tailor over again who produces this shape according to the caprice of fashion. The material is dragged hither and thither partly by the different limbs and their movements, partly by its own stitching. – For these reasons the Greek clothing is the ideal model for sculptures and is to be preferred by far to the modern. On the form and details of the Greek manner of clothing, classical scholars have written ad infinitum; for although men have otherwise no right to talk about fashion in clothes, the sort of materials, trimmings, cut, and all the other details, nevertheless research has provided a more respectable reason for treating these trivialities as important, and discussing them at length, than what women are allowed to have in this field.
(γγ) But we must bring up here a totally different consideration, namely whether modern clothes, or any kind of clothes except the Greek, should always and in every case be rejected. This question becomes important especially in the case of portrait statues, and we will treat it here at some length because its main interest affects a principle for present-day art.
If today a portrait is to be made of an individual belonging to his own time, then it is essential that his clothing and external accessories be taken from his own individual and actual environment; for, precisely because he is an actual person who here is the subject of the work of art, it is most necessary that these externalities, of which clothes are essentially one, be portrayed faithfully and as they actually are or were. This requirement is especially to be followed when it is a matter of placing before our eyes, as individuals, definite characters who have been great and effective in some special sphere. In a painting or in marble the individual comes before our direct view in bodily form, i.e. conditioned by externals, and to propose to lift the portrait above these conditions would be all the more contradictory because it would imply that the individual had something downright untrue in himself; for the merit and peculiar excellence of actual men consists precisely in their activity in the real world, in their life and work in the specific spheres of their vocation. If this individual activity is to be made visible to us, the surroundings given to him must not be of the wrong kind or disturbing. A famous general, for instance, has existed as a general in his immediate environment amidst cannon, guns, and gunpowder, and if we want to picture him in his activity we think of how he gave commands to his officers, ordered the line of battle, attacked the enemy, and so on. And furthermore such a general is not any general but is especially marked by his special kind of weapons, etc.; he may be an infantry commander or a bold hussar or whatever. No matter what he is, he always has his particular uniform, appropriate to these differing circumstances. Moreover, he is a famous general-a famous general and therefore not a legislator, or a poet, or perhaps not even a religious man, nor has he been a king, etc. ; in short he is not everything, and only what is totum atque Totundumhas the stamp of the ideal and divine. For the divinity of the ideal sculptures is precisely to be sought in the fact that their character and individuality are not incident to particular circumstances and branches of activity, but are exempt from this dispersion, or, if the idea of such circumstances is aroused, are so presented that we must believe of these individuals that in all circumstances they can achieve anything and everything.
For this reason it is a very superficial requirement that the heroes of our day, or of the most recent past, whose heroism is restricted to their own time, should be represented in ideal clothing. This requirement does betray an enthusiasm for the beauty of art, but an unintelligent enthusiasm, which from love of antiquity overlooks the fact that the greatness of the Greeks lay essentially at the same time in a profound understanding of everything that they did, because while they portrayed what was ideal in itself they never intended to impress an ideal form on what was nothing of the kind. If the whole life and circumstances of an individual are not ideal, neither should his clothing be; and just as a powerful, determined, and resolute general does not for this reason have a face betraying the visage of Mars, so here the clothes of Greek gods would be the same mummery as putting a bearded man in a girl’s clothes.
Apart from all this, modem clothes create a further mass of difficulties because they are subject to fashion and unquestionably alterable. For the rationality at the basis of fashion is that it has the right, over against mere temporal duration, of continually altering. A coat cut in one way is soon out of fashion again and therefore in order to please it must be in fashion. But when the fashion passes, familiarity with it is at an end, and what still pleased a year or two ago is now at once ridiculous. Therefore there should be retained for statues only those types of clothing which have a more permanent type stamped on the specific character of an age, but in general it is advisable to find a middle way as our modern artists do. Yet on the whole it is still always a mistake to give modern clothes to portrait statues unless they are small or the intention is only to present the subject in a familiar guise. It is best therefore to produce busts only, stopping at the neck and chest, for these after all can be kept to the ideal more easily, because here the head and face are the chief thing and the rest is as it were only an insignificant accessory. In big statues, on the other hand, especially when the figures are in repose, we see at once what they have on, just because of this repose, and full size masculine figures, even in portraits, can in their modem dress hardly rise above insignificance. Take, e.g., Herder and Wieland painted, at full
length and seated, by the elder Tischbeinand in engravings by good artists-we feel at once something dull, dreary, and superfluous we see their trousers, stockings, and shoes and, in short, their comfortable, self-satisfied attitude on a sofa with their hands cosily crossed together over their stomachs.
But it is different with portrait statues of individuals whose period of activity is far before our time or whose greatness is inherently of an ideal kind. For what is old has become as it were timeless and has retreated into the region of general and vaguer ideas, with the result that, released from its particular actual world, it becomes capable of ideal portrayal even in its clothing, This is still more true in the case of individuals who through their independence and the plenitude of their inner life are exempt from the plain restrictedness of a specific profession and from effectiveness only in a specific period and who thus constitute a free totality in themselves, a whole world of relationships and activities; for this reason they must appear, even in their clothing, raised above the familiarity of day to day life in the external world habitual to them in their own age. Even in the case of the Greeks there are portrait statues of Achilles and Alexander in which the
Up to now we have considered the ideal of sculpture both in its general character and also in the detailed forms of its particular differentiations. Thirdly, it now only remains to us to emphasize that while ideal sculptures have to display, in their content, inherently substantial individuals, in their form the human must also proceed to give them the appearance of distinguishable particular persons. Therefore they form a group of particular individuals which we already recognize from our study classical art-form as the group of the Greek gods. Someone might have the idea that there should be only one supreme beauty and perfection which could be concentrated In Its entirety in a single statue, but this idea of an ideal as such is simply foolish and absurd. For the beauty of the ideal consists precisely in its not being a purely universal norm but in essentially having individuality and therefore particularity and character. In this way alone are sculptures vitalized, and the one abstract beauty is broadened into an ensemble of inherently specific shapes. Yet on the whole the content of this group is restricted because there are wanting in the genuine ideal of sculpture a number of categories which, for example, in our Christian outlook, we are accustomed to use when we want to give expression to human and divine qualities. So, for instance, the moral dispositions and virtues which the Middle Ages and the modern world have assembled into a group of duties, modified again and again from epoch to epoch, have no sense in the case of the ideal gods of sculpture, and for these gods they do not exist. Therefore we cannot expect here the portrayal of sacrifice or of selfishness conquered, the battle against the flesh, the victory of chastity, etc., nor any expression of the deep feeling of love, immutable fidelity, honour and modesty in men and women, religious humility, submission, and blissfulness in God. For all these virtues, qualities, and situations rest partly on the breach between the body and the spirit; partly they transcend the corporeal and retire into the pure inwardness of the heart; or they display the individual’s subjective character in separation from his absolute substance as well as in his struggle for a reconciliation with that. Moreover, the group of these gods proper in sculpture is certainly an ensemble but, as we saw in our consideration of the classical art-form, it is not a whole the elements of which rigorously correspond with conceptual differences. Yet the single figures are to be distinguished from one another by each of them being a finished and specific individual, although they are not set apart from one another by abstractly marked traits of character, since on the contrary they retain much in common with one another in virtue of their ideality and divinity. We can go through these differences in more detail under the following heads.
First to be considered are purely external marks of recognition attributes set beside the gods, sort of clothing, weapons, and the like. Winckelmann especially has detailed these marks more specifically and at great length.
Secondly, however, the chief differences lie not only in such external indications and features but in the individual build and carriage of the entire figure. The most important thing in this connection is the difference of age and sex as well as of the various spheres from which the statues take their content and form, because there has been an advance from statues of gods to those of heroes, satyrs, and fauns, as well as to portrait-statues, and portrayal finally lost itself in adopting even animal shapes.
Thirdly, and lastly, we shall cast a glance at the figures in which sculpture has transformed those more general differences into the form of an individual. Here above all it is the widest detail that presses on us and we can allow ourselves to cite only some examples of individual figures, since in any case this is a sphere which in many ways issues in what is merely empirical.
As for attributes and other external accessories, sort of adornment, weapons, tools, vessels, in short, things connected with some relation to the environment, these externals are, in the great works of sculpture, kept simple, moderate, and limited, so that there is nothing of that kind except what is required to let us understand the work and identify its subject. For it is the figure in itself, its expression, and not the external accessory, which is to provide the spiritual meaning and our sight of it. Even so, however, such indications are necessary to enable us to recognize the individual gods. This is because universal divinity, which in each individual god affords the substantial element in the portrayal, produces, in virtue of this common foundation, a close kinship between the various figures of the gods and their expression. The result is that each god is deprived again of his particular character and so can enter situations and modes of representation other than those otherwise belonging to him. In this way his particular characteristics as such are not visible in him throughout in good earnest, and often only those externalities arc left which are needed to make him recognizable. Of these indicative marks I will mention only the following:
(α) Attributes proper I have already discussed in connection with the classical form of art and its gods. In sculpture these lose their independent and symbolic character still more, and they only retain the right of appearing on or beside the figure, which represents itself alone, as an external indication closely related to one or other aspect of the specific gods. Frequently they are drawn from animals, as Zeus, for instance, is portrayed with an eagle, Juno with a peacock, Bacchus with a tiger and a panther drawing his car (because, as Winckelmann says (op. cit., ii, p. 503), the latter animal has a persistent thirst and is crazy for wine), Venus with a hare or a dove. – Other attributes are utensils or tools with a bearing on the activity and the actions ascribed to each god appropriately to his specific individuality. So, for example, Bacchus is portrayed with the thyrsus encircled with fillets and ivy-leaves, or he has a laurel-wreath to indicate him as a conqueror on his journey to India, or again a torch with which he lighted Ceres.
Such associations, of which I have of course mentioned here only the best known of all, have stimulated the acuteness and pedantry of antiquaries and have reduced them to a commerce in petty details which then, it is true, often goes too far and sees a significance in things where there is none. So, for example, two famous figures, in the Vatican and the Villa Medici, of reclining women have been taken to represent Cleopatra simply because they wear a bracelet shaped like a viper; the first thing that occurred to an archaeologist on seeing the snake was the death of Cleopatra, just as the first thought of a pious clergyman might have been of the first snake that seduced Eve in Paradise. But it was the general practice of Greek women to wear bracelets like the coils of a snake, and the bracelets themselves are called ‘snakes’. After all, Winckelmann, who had more sense, had already seen that these figures were not Cleopatras (op. cit., bk. v. 6, ii, p. 56, and vi. II, ii, p. 222), and Visconti(Museo Pio-Clementino, ii, 89-92) has now finally definitely identified them as figures of Ariadne who had sunk down in sleep through grief at the departure of Theseus. – Now, however often people have been led astray in such matters and however petty the sort of acuteness seems which ends in the study of such insignificant externals, still this kind of research and criticism is necessary because often it is only by this means that the identification of a statue can be precisely determined. Yet even so here again the difficulty arises that the attributes, like the figure, do not every time serve to identify one god only, because they are common to several For example, we see a cup beside Jupiter, Apollo, Mercury, Aesculapius, as well as Ceres and Hygiea; Juno, Venus, and Spes carry a lily; similarly, several goddesses have an ear of corn; and even the lightning indicates not only Zeus but also Pallas who is not alone, for her part, in carrying the aegis but shares it equally with Zeus, Juno, and Apollo (Winckelmann, op. cit., ii, p. 249). In origin the individual gods had a common, rather vague and universal significance, and this itself carries with it ancient symbols which belonged to this more general and therefore common nature of the gods.
(β) Other accessories, arms, vases, horses, etc., are more in place in such works as abandon the simple repose of the gods and proceed to represent actions, i.e. in groups or rows of figures as may occur in reliefs, and therefore can make more extended use of various external associations and indications. On votive offerings, too, which consisted of works of art of all kinds, especially statues, on the statues of Olympic victors, but especially on coins and engraved gems, the creative ingenuity of Greek invention had a huge scope for applying symbolic and other allusions, for example, to the locality of the city, etc.
(γ) External characteristics more deeply associated with the individual gods are such as belong to the determinate individual figure itself and are an integral part of it. Amongst these are included the specific kind of clothing, weapons, hair-dress, ornaments etc., and for their further explanation I will content myself here, however, with a few quotations from Winckelmann who was remarkably acute in seizing such differences. Amongst the particular gods, Zeus is principally to be recognized by the arrangement of his hair, so that Winckelmann affirms (vol iv. 5, §29) that by the hair over its forehead or by its beard, a head could be recognized without doubt as Zeus’s even if nothing else survived. ‘Over the forehead,’ he says (§ 31), ‘the hair rises upwards and its different partings fall down again bent in a narrow curve’ [i.e. over the sides of the head]. And this sort of hair-dress was so decisive that it was retained for the sons and grandsons of Zeus. In this regard the head of Zeus is scarcely to be distinguished from that of Aesculapius, but for this reason the latter has a different beard: the hair on the upper lip is the chief difference, it lies in a curve on Aesculapius [§ 32] whereas’ ‘in Zeus it is all at once drawn down and cut into angles at the corners of the mouth and then fused with the beard on the chin’. The beautiful head of a statue of Neptune in the Villa Medici, later in Florence, Winckelmann (§ 36 and note ad loc.] recognized by its more frizzled beard, which besides is thicker over the upper lip, and by the more curly hair on the head which distinguishes it from heads of Zeus. Pallas, in complete distinction from Diana, wears her hair long, tied at the back just beneath the head, and then hanging down in a series of curls; whereas Diana wears hers stretched upwards on all sides and fastened in a knot on the crown of the head. Ceres covers the back of her head with her robe, and besides carrying ears of corn wears a diadem ‘in front of which’, as Winckelmann remarks (vol. iv, book 5, ch. ii, § 10), ‘the hair rises dispersed in a charming confusion so that in this way there is perhaps to be indicated here distress at the rape of her daughter Proserpine’. A similar individuality is marked by other externals, as, for instance, Pallas is to be recognized by her helmet and its specific shape, by her sort of dress, etc.
Truly living individuality is meant to be marked out in sculpture by the free and beautiful form of the body. It therefore may not be manifested simply by such accessories as attributes, chevelure, weapons and other tools, club, trident, bushel, etc., but must penetrate both the figure itself and its expression. In this individualizing of the figures the Greeks were all the more subtle and creative as the figures of the gods had in common an essential universal basis out of which, though without being cut adrift from it, the characteristic individual figure had to be so elaborated that this basis remained essentially living and present in it. What is especially to be admired in the best sculpture of antiquity is the keen attention with which the artists took care to bring each of the tiniest traits of the figure into harmony with the whole, an attention which in that case alone produces this harmony.
If we ask further about the chief general differences which can be properly regarded as the fundamental bases for the more specific individualization of the forms of the body, and their expression,
(α) the first is the difference between the forms of childhood and youth and those of later years. In the genuine ideal, as I have said earlier, every trait and every single part of the figure is expressed, and at the same time the straight line that goes on and on, abstract even surfaces, circles, and rigidly geometrical curves are avoided everywhere, and instead there is elaborated in the most beautiful way the living variety of lines and forms in the nuances linking their transitions together. In childhood and youth the boundaries of the forms flow into one another rather unnoticeably and they fade into one another so delicately that, as Winckelmann says (vol. vii, p. 78), one might compare them with the surface of a sea unruffled by the winds, of which one could say that although it is in constant movement it is nevertheless calm. On the other hand, at a more advanced age the distinctions appear more markedly and must be elaborated into a more definite characterization. For this reason excellent statues of grown men please us more at a first glance, because everything is expressive and we learn all the more quickly to admire the knowledge, shrewdness, and skill of the artist. For owing to their tenderness and the smaller number of differences youthful figures do seem easier [to produce], but in fact the opposite is the case. For since ‘the formation of the parts is left vague as it were between the beginning and the perfection of growth’ (ibid., p. 80), the joints, bones, sinews, and muscles must be softer and more delicate, but indicated all the same. In this matter Greek art celebrates its triumph, because even in the most delicate figures all the parts and their definite organization in almost invisible nuances of projection and depth are every time made noticeable in a way whereby the knowledge and virtuosity of the artist are appreciated only by an observer who examines the work with closest attention. If, for example, in a delicate masculine figure, like that of the ,Young Apollo, the entire structure of the male form were not actually and thoroughly indicated with consummate but half-concealed judgement, the limbs would doubtless appear round and full but at the same time flaccid, inexpressive, and uniform, so that the whole figure could hardly be pleasing. As a most striking example of the difference between the bodies of youths and those of older men, the boys and their father in the Laocoon group may be cited.
But, on the whole, for the portrayal of their ideal gods in sculpture the Greeks preferred models that were still youthful, and even in heads and statues of Zeus or Neptune there is no indication of old age.
(β) A second and more important difference is that of sex, i.e. that between the portrayal of male and female figures. In general the same may be said about the latter as what I advanced earlier about the difference between youth and age. The feminine figures are more delicate arid weaker, the sinews and muscles are less indicated although they must be there, the transitions from one of these to the other arc softer and flow more easily, and yet there are many nuances and variations in the different expressions, ranging from serious repose, severe and sublime power, to the softest grace and charm that inspires love. The same wealth of forms occurs in the masculine figures, in which there is added besides the expression of developed bodily strength and courage. But the serenity of delight remains common to them all, a joy and a blissful indifference soaring away above everything particular, yet linked at the same time with a peaceful trait of mourning, that laughter in tears which becomes neither laughter nor tears.
In this matter, however, no strict line is to be drawn throughout between male and female characters, for the more youthful divine figures of Bacchus and Apollo often slip into the delicacy and weakness of feminine forms, indeed often acquire single traits of the female body; why, there are even statues of Hercules in which he is framed so youthfully that he has been confused with his beloved Iole! Not merely a passing of male into female forms but an actual connection of the two the Greeks have explicitly represented in hermaphrodites.
(γ) Thirdly, and lastly, we may inquire about the chief differences introduced into the sculptural form by reason of the fact that it belongs to one of the specific spheres constituting the content of the ideal world-view adapted to sculpture.
The organic forms of which sculpture can avail itself in its plasticity are both human and animal. So far as the latter is concerned, we have seen already that, at the peak of more severe art, it may appear only as an attribute alongside the figure of the god, as, for instance, we find a hind beside Diana the huntress and an eagle beside Zeus. In the same category are the panther, griffin, and similar animal shapes. But apart from attributes proper, animal forms acquire a value of their own, partly independently, partly mixed with human forms. But their sphere in sculptural figures is restricted. Apart from roe deer, it is principally the horse whose beauty and fiery life makes an entry into plastic art whether associated with the human form or in its own completely free shape. The horse, to explain, stands in close connection with the mettle, bravery, and dexterity of masculine heroism and heroic beauty, while other animals, the lion, etc., which Hercules slew, as Meleager did the boar, are themselves the object of these heroic deeds, and for this reason have the right of inclusion in the sphere of sculptural portrayal when this is expanded in reliefs and groups into situations and actions with more movement.
The human form, for its part, because in its form and expression it is apprehended as the pure ideal, provides the appropriate shape for what is divine which, if still bound down to the sensuous, is incapable of concentration into the simple unity of one god and therefore can only be interpreted as a group of divine figures. Nevertheless, conversely, what is human, alike in content and form still remains in the context of human individuality as such, although this is brought into association and unification now with the Divine and now with the animal.
In this way sculpture acquires the following spheres from which it can draw its configurations. As their essential centre I have more than once mentioned the group of the particular gods. Their difference from human figures consists above all in the fact that in their expression they appear as raised above the finitude of Concern and baneful passion and as collected in themselves into blissful tranquillity and eternal youth, while their bodily forms are not only purified from the finite particular characteristics of a man but also, without any loss of vitality, are stripped of everything hinting at the exigency and poverty of physical life. An interesting subject for art is, for example, a mother pacifying her child; but the Greek goddesses are always represented as childless. Juno, according to the myth, casts her child, Hercules, away, and the Milky Way is the result. To associate the majestic spouse of Zeus with a son was infra dig. in the eyes of the Greeks. Aphrodite herself does not appear in sculpture as a mother; Eros is indeed in her train but his relation to her is not that of a child. Similarly Jupiter is given a goat for a nurse, and Romulus and Remus were suckled by a wolf. Whereas in Egyptian and Indian images there are many in which gods receive their mother’s milk from goddesses. In the case of the Greek goddesses what predominates is the maiden form which least of all permits the appearance of a woman’s natural vocation.
This constitutes an important contrast between classical art and the romantic art in which a mother’s love provides a principal topic. From the gods as such sculpture then goes on to heroes and those figures which, like fauns, centaurs, and satyrs, are a mixture of the human with the animal.
Heroes are distinguished from gods by very subtle differences and are thus superhuman, raised above ordinary human existence. Of a certain Battuson coins of Cyrene, for example, Winckelmann says (iv. 105): ‘a single look of a lover’s joy might make us take him for a Bacchus, his trait of divine grandeur for an Apollo’. But here, where it is a matter of making the power of the will and bodily strength visible, the human forms are larger, especially in certain parts; the artists impart to the muscles an impression of quickness and movement and in violent actions they set in motion all the natural springs of action. Nevertheless, since in the same hero a whole series of different, indeed opposed, situations occur, the masculine forms approach the feminine here again. For example, when Achilles first appeared amongst the maiden daughters of Lycomedes he did not come on the scene in that heroic strength which he displayed before Troy but in women’s clothes and with such attractive features that his sex is almost doubtful. Even Hercules is not always depicted in the seriousness and force that accomplished those toilsome labours, but just as often in his form as Omphale’s servant, in the repose of his deification, and, in short, in the greatest variety of situations. In other connections the heroes again have often the greatest kinship with the figures of the gods themselves, Achilles, for instance, with Ares, and it is therefore only the most profound study that can recognize the precise meaning of a statue solely from the character given to it and without any additional attribute. Nevertheless practised art-scholars can infer from single bits the character and form of the whole figure and can fill in what is missing, and in this way we have once again learnt to admire the fine judgement and logical individualization in Greek art. Its masters understood how to keep and carry out a harmony between every smallest detail and the character of the whole.
As for satyrs and fauns, there is introduced into their sphere what remains excluded from the lofty ideal figures of the gods, namely human need, delight in life, sensuous enjoyment, satisfaction of desire, and other things of the same kind. Yet especially the young satyrs and fauns are presented by the Greeks as a rule in such beauty of form that, as Winckelmann asserts (iv, 78), ‘every single part of them, the head excepted, could be exchanged for an Apollo, above all with Apollo the lizard-kiIler, the position of whose legs is precisely that of the fauns’. Fauns and satyrs are recognizable on their heads by pointed ears, their unkempt hair, and tiny horns.
A second sphere comprises the human as such. What especially belongs here is the beauty of the human form as it is developed in its force and skill in contests at the games; consequently a chief topic is wrestlers, discus-throwers, etc. In such productions sculpture already approaches portraiture in which, nevertheless, the Greeks, even when displaying actual individuals, always understood how to preserve that principle of sculpture which we have already come to know.
The final sphere which sculpture embraces is the portrayal of animal forms as such, especially lions, dogs, etc. Even in this sphere the Greeks could keep in view the principle of sculpture, the underlying substance of form, and give it individual life, and achieve that perfection which has become famous, e.g. in Myron’s cow and his other works. Goethe in his Art and Antiquity has described them with remarkable grace; and has especially drawn our attention to the fact that, as we have already seen above, an animal function like giving suck occurs [in sculpture] only in the animal field. Goethe repudiates all the conceits of poets in Greek epigrams and with his artistic sense confines himself wholly to the naIvete of the conception which is productive of the most familiar image.
To conclude this chapter we have now to say something in more detail, especially in connection with the portrayal of the gods, about the single individuals into whose character and liveliness the differences already mentioned have been worked out.
(α) In general, and particularly in respect of the spiritual gods of sculpture, there may be a prevalent opinion that spirit is precisely liberation from individuality and that therefore the ideal figures, the more ideal and excellent they are, must remain all the less distinguished from one another as individuals; but in this matter the amazing way in which the Greeks have solved this problem in sculpture consisted precisely in their having, despite the universality and ideality of their gods, still preserved their individuality and distinction from one another, no matter how far, it is true, there was a struggle in some specific cases to cancel fixed boundaries and display particular forms in their transition.
Moreover, if we take individuality in the sense that specific traits were appropriate to certain gods, as they are in a portrait, then it looks as if a fixed type were coming on the scene instead of a living product, and this is to the detriment of art. But [in Greek sculpture] this is not the case at all. On the contrary, invention in individualizing and vitalizing the figures was all the more subtle the more their substantive type remained their basis.
(β) In further considering the individual gods it quickly occurs to us that one individual stands above all these ideal figures as their lord. This dignity and supremacy Phidias above all has reserved for the figure and expression of Zeus, but at the same time the father of gods and men is presented with a cheerful and gracious appearance, enthroned with benignity, of mature years without the full cheeks of youth, yet, on the other hand, with no hint of any harshness of form or indication of decrepitude or age. Most akin to Zeus in figure and expression are his brothers, Neptune and Pluto; in their interesting statues [which in September 1824 Hegel saw] in Dresden, despite all that they have in common with Zeus, their difference is nevertheless maintained – Zeus benign in his majesty, Neptune more savage, Pluto, who corresponds with the Egyptian Serapis, darker and gloomier.
More essentially different from Zeus are Bacchus, Apollo, Mars, and Mercury – Bacchus has more youthful beauty and delicacy of form; Apollo is more manly but has no beard; Mercury is more agile, taller, with exceptionally fine facial features; Mars is not in the least like Hercules in the strength of his muscles, etc., but a young and beautiful hero, ideally formed.
Of the goddesses I will mention only Juno, Pallas, Diana, and Venus.
Amongst the female figures Juno has the greatest majesty in form and expression, just as Zeus has amongst the male figures. Her large rounded eyes are proud and commanding; her mouth is similar and it at once makes her recognizable, especially when seen in profile. On the whole she gives the impression of ‘a queen’ who intends to rule, and must be worshipped and awaken love’ (Winckelmann, iv. 116).
Pallas by contrast has an expression of more severe maidenhood and chastity; tenderness, love, and every kind of feminine weakness are far removed from her; her eye is less open than Juno’s, moderately curved, and somewhat sunk in calm meditation, while her head, though armed with a helmet, is not so proudly carried as Zeus’ consort’s is.
Diana is presented with a similar maidenly form, but she is endowed with greater attraction; she is lighter and slimmer yet without any self-consciousness or delight in her grace. She does not stand, absorbed in peaceful contemplation, but is usually displayed as moving, pressing forward, with her eye gazing straight in front of her into the distance.
Finally, Venus, the goddess of beauty as such, is alone, except the Graces and the Hours, portrayed by the Greeks, even if not by artists, in the nude. Nudity in her case has a very important reason, however, because she has as her chief expression sensuous beauty and its victory, in short, grace, delicacy, amorousness, all moderated and elevated by the spirit. Even where her eye is meant to be more serious and sublime, it is smaller than Pallas’ or Juno’s, not in length but narrower because the lower eyelid is slightly raised, and it is in this way that the languishing lover’s ogling is most beautifully expressed. Yet she differs in expression and figure, now she is more serious and powerful, now more graceful and delicate, now younger and now of riper years. For example, Winckelmann (iv. 112) compares the Medici Venus with a rose which after a beautiful dawn opens out at sunset; whereas Venus Urania is indicated by a diadem like Juno’s and Venus Victrix wears it too.
(γ) The discovery of this plastic individuality, the whole expression of which is completely effected by means of the bare abstraction of form, was indigenous to the Greeks alone in a like degree of unsurpassable perfection, and it has its basis in Greek religion. A more spiritual religion can be content with inner contemplation and worship so that sculptures count for it as merely a luxury or a superfluity; whereas a religion like the Greek which is so concentrated on contemplating what it sees, must continually go on producing [objects for contemplation], because for it this artistic creation and invention is itself a religious activity and satisfaction, and for the people the sight of such works is not contemplation merely but something itself intrinsic to religion and life. In general, the Greeks did everything for the public, for the life of everybody, in which every individual found his pleasure, his pride, and his honour. Now in this public life the art of the Greeks is not just a decoration but a living need, necessarily to be satisfied, just as painting was to the Venetians in the days of their splendour. It is only for this reason that we can explain, given the difficulties of sculpture, the enormous mass of statues, these forests of statues of every kind, which existed by the thousand or two thousand in a single city, in Elis, Athens, Corinth, and even in considerable numbers in every smaller city, as well as in Magna Graecia and the Aegean Islands.
Up to this point in our treatment of sculpture, we have looked first for the universal categories from which we could develop the most appropriate content for sculpture and the corresponding form. We found this content in the classical ideal, so that in the second place we had to determine how sculpture, amongst the particular arts, was best adapted to give shape to the ideal. Since the ideal is to be understood essentially as individuality, not only does the inner artistic vision broaden out into a group of ideal and separate gods, but the external mode of portrayal and its execution in existing works of art fell apart into the different sorts of sculpture. Yet in this matter the following points remain over for discussion:
first, the mode of portrayal which, in actual execution, forms either single statues or groups until finally, in reliefs, it makes the transition to the principle of painting;
secondly, the external material in which these differences are realized;
thirdly, the stages of historical development in which works of art are executed in their different kinds and material.
Just as in the case of architecture we made an essential distinction between buildings that were independent on their own account and those that served some purpose, so now here we can establish a similar difference between sculptures that are independent of anything else and those which serve rather as a mere decoration of spaces in or on buildings. For the former the surroundings are no more than a place prepared already by art, while in the case of the latter the essential thing is always their relation to the building that they decorate, and this determines not only the form of the sculpture but also, for the most part, its content too. In this connection we may say, on the whole and in the main, that single statues exist on their own account, whereas groups, and a fortiori reliefs, begin to give up this independence and are employed by architecture for its own artistic ends.
The original function of single statues is the real function of sculpture as such, i.e. to furnish images in temples; they are erected in temple interiors where the whole surroundings have a bearing on them.
(α) Here sculpture retains its most perfect purity because in executing the figure of the gods it sets them in beautiful, simple, inactive repose in no specific situation, or free, unaffected, in naive [or harmless] situations without any specific action or complication, as I have more than once indicated already.
(β) The first departure of the figure from this severe loftiness or blissful self-absorption consists in the fact that in the whole position the beginning or the end of an action is now indicated without any disturbance of the divine repose and any representation of the figure in conflict or struggle. Of this kind are the famous Medici Venus and the Apollo Belvedere. At the time of Lessing and Winckelmann boundless admiration was paid to these statues as the supreme ideals of art; nowadays, when we have come to know works deeper in expression and more vital and more mature in form, these have become depressed in value, and they are ascribed to a later period in which the smoothness of treatment had in view what pleased and was agreeable to the eye and did not adhere any longer to the severe and genuine style. An English traveller (Morning Chronicle, 26 July 1825) goes so far as to call the Apollo in plain terms ‘a theatrical coxcomb’, and he allows to the Venus great sweetness, softness, symmetry, and modest grace, but only a faultless lack of intellect, a negative perfection, and ‘a good deal of insipidity’. This movement away from that more severe repose and sanctity we may understand in a general way as follows: Sculpture is of course the art of high seriousness, but this lofty seriousness of the gods, since they are no abstractions but [in sculpture] formed individually, brings with it at the same time absolute cheerfulness and therefore a reflection of the real and finite world in which the cheerfulness and serenity of the gods expresses not a sense of being immersed in such finite matters but the sense of reconciliation, of spiritual freedom and self-content.
(γ) Therefore Greek art has spread itself into the whole cheerfulness of the Greek spirit and found a pleasure, a joy in occupying itself with an endless number of extremely delightful situations. For every time that it won its way from the more severe abstract modes of portrayal to reverence for the living individuality which unifies everything in itself, it became fond of the living and the cheerful, and the artists launched out into a variety of representations which do not rove away into the painful, horrible, distorted, and agonizing, but keep within the limits of innocent humanity. On these lines the Greeks have transmitted to us many sculptures of supreme excellence. Here of the numerous mythological subjects of a playful but entirely pure and cheerful nature I will cite only the sports of Eros which already come nearer to ordinary human life, as well as others in which the vivacity of the portrayal gives it its chief interest; and the grasp of and preoccupation with such subjects is just what constitutes their cheerfulness and innocence. In this sphere the dice-player and Doryphorus of Polyclitus, for example, were as highly valuedas his statue of Hera at Argos; similar fame was enjoyed by the Discobolus and the Ladas the runnerof Myron. Further, how charming is the boy plucking a thorn from his foot, and other sculptures of a similar kind of which in the main we know only the name. These are moments when nature has been listened to; they pass fleetingly but they appear now made permanent by the sculptor.
From such beginnings of a tendency outwards sculpture now proceeds to the presentation of situations in movement, to conflicts and actions, and therefore to groups. For what comes into appearance with a more defined action is a more concrete liveliness which is expanded into oppositions and reactions and therefore into essential relations between several figures and their interlacing.
(α) Yet the first thing [to mention] here too are the mere peaceful juxtapositions like, for instance, the two colossal horse-tamers in Rome on Monte Cavallo, which are meant for Castor and Pollux. One statue is ascribed to Phidias, the other to Praxiteles, without any sure proof, although the great excellence of the conception and the graceful thoroughness of the execution justifies names so important. These are only free groups not expressive of any real action or its consequence, and they are entirely fitted for representation in sculpture and for public exhibition in front of the Parthenon where they are supposed to have stood originally.
(β) In the group, however, sculpture proceeds, secondly, to display situations which have as their content conflicts, discordant actions, grief, etc. Here once again we may praise the Greek genuinely artistic sense which did not place such groups in independent positions; on the contrary, since sculpture here is beginning to depart from its own proper and therefore independent sphere, these groups were brought into closer connection with architecture so that they served to decorate spaces in or on buildings. The temple image as a single statue stood peaceful, calm, and sacred in the inner shrine, which was there for the sake of this statue; whereas the pediment outside the building was decorated with groups displaying specific actions of the god and therefore could be elaborated into a more animated movement. An instance is the famous group of Niobe and her children. Here the general form for the arrangement is given by the space for which it was designed. The chief figure stands in the centre and could be the largest and most prominent of them all; the rest needed different postures down to a recumbent one at the acute angles where the pediment ends.
Of other well-known works I will mention only the Laocoon group. For the last forty or fifty years it has been the subject of many investigations and prolonged discussions. In particular it has been thought of real importance to decide whether Virgil took his description of the scene from the sculpture or whether the artist worked from Virgil’s description; further, whether Laocoon is
actually crying out and whether it is appropriate for sculpture in general to attempt to express a cry; and so on. Previously there was much preoccupation with such matters of psychological importance because Winckelmann’s enthusiasm and genuine artistic sense had not yet sunk in, and, besides, such bookworms were the more disposed to indulge in such discussions because frequently they had neither the opportunity to see actual works of art nor the ability to understand them if they had seen them. The most essential thing to consider in the case of this group is that despite the profound grief and profound truth it conveys, despite the convulsive contraction of the body and the tension of all the muscles, still nobility and beauty are preserved, and not in the remotest degree is there any approach to grimaces, distortion, or dislocation. Nevertheless, in the spirit of the subject-matter, the artificiality of the arrangement, the mathematical character of the pose, and the manner of its execution, the whole work undoubtedly belongs to a later agewhich aims at outstripping simple beauty and life by a deliberate display of its knowledge in the build and musculature of the human body, and tries to please by an all too subtle delicacy in its workmanship. The step from the innocence and greatness of art to a mannerism has here already been taken.
Sculptures are set up in the most various places, e.g. before entrances to galleries, on esplanades, staircase-landings, in alcoves, etc.; and along with this variety of position and the architectural purpose which on its side has many relations to human situations and affairs, there is an alteration, in infinite ways, of the content and subject matter of works of art and this, occurring in groups, may approach human life still more nearly. Yet it is always a mistake to set up such more animated and elaborate groups on the tops of buildings against the sky with no background, even if their subject is devoid of conflict. This is because the sky is at one time grey, at another blue and dazzlingly clear, so that the outlines of the figures cannot be clearly seen. But in most cases everything depends on these outlines, on the silhouette, since they are really the chief thing that we recognize and that alone makes the rest intelligible. For in the case of a group many parts of the figures stand one in front of the others, e.g. the arms before the trunk, or one leg of a figure in front of the other. At a certain distance the outline of such parts is obscure and unintelligible or at least much less clear than that of the parts which stand out quite freely. We only need to imagine a group drawn on paper where some limbs of a figure are strongly and sharply outlined whereas others are only dim and indicated vaguely. A statue and, to a greater extent, a group has this same effect if it has no other background but the sky; in that case we see only a sharply outlined silhouette where there remain recognizable only some weaker indications of what lies within.
This is the reason why, for instance, the Victory on the Brandenburg Gate in Berlinhas such a beautiful effect, not only because of its simplicity and repose but because we are enabled to see the individual figures with precision. The horses stand well apart from one another, and do not hide one another, and all the same the figure of Victory rises high enough above them. Whereas Tieck’s Apollo, drawn in his car by griffins, on the top of the Opera House, appears less excellent, no matter how artistically correct otherwise the whole conception and execution may be. By the courtesy of a friend I saw these figures in Tieck’s workshop. They gave the promise of a splendid effect, but, now that they stand aloft, too much of the outline of one figure falls on another which forms its background, and the result is a silhouette which is the less free and clear because the figures as a group lack simplicity. Apart from the fact that the griffins on account of their
shorter legs do not stand so high and freely as the horses [on the Victory], they have wings besides, and Apollo has his crest of hair and his lyre on his arm. All this is too much for the position of the group and contributes to the blurring of the outlines.
The last mode of presentation whereby sculpture takes an important step towards the principle of painting is the relief, first the high relief and later the bas-relief. Here what conditions the work is the surface, so that the figures stand on one and the same plane, and the three-dimensional character, from which sculpture starts, begins more and more to disappear. But the ancient relief does not yet come so near to painting as to proceed to perspective differences between foreground and background; on the contrary it keeps rigidly to the surface without making the different subjects appear in their different spatial positions to be either in front or behind, as the skill of foreshortening could do. Consequently the favourite practice is to adhere to figures in profile, set beside one another on the same surface. But in that event, owing to this simplicity, very complicated actions cannot be adopted as the subject-matter but only actions which proceed in real life along one and the same line, e.g. processions, sacrificial trains, and the like, trains of Olympic victors, etc.
Still, reliefs have the greatest variety. Not only do they fill and adorn temple walls and friezes; they surround utensils, sacrificial bowls, votive offerings, cups, tankards, urns, lamps, etc.; they decorate seats and tripods, and are allied with associated handicrafts. Here above all it is the wit of invention which launches out into the greatest variety of figures and their combination and can no longer keep in view the proper aim of sculpture.
We have been driven by the individuality which serves as the fundamental principle of sculpture to particularize not only the spheres of gods, men, and nature from which plastic art derives its subjects, but also the modes of presentation in single statues, groups, and reliefs. So now we have to examine the same variety of particularization in the material of which the artist can avail himself for his statuary. For different kinds of subject matter and mode of treatment are closely connected with different kinds of physical material and have a secret sympathy and harmony with them.
As a general remark I will here only observe that just as the Greeks were unsurpassed in invention, so too they amaze us by the astounding elaboration and skill of their technical execution. Both of these things are equally difficult in sculpture because its media cannot present the many-sidedness of the inner life in the way that the other arts have at their command. Architecture, to be sure, is still poorer, but [unlike sculpture] it has not the task of using plainly inorganic material to make the living spirit itself, or the life of nature, actually present to us. Yet this developed skill in the completely perfect handling of the material is inherent in the very nature of the ideal itself, because the ideal has, as its principle, entire entry into the sensuous field and the fusion of the inner life with its external existence. The same principle is therefore asserted where the ideal is achieved in the real world. In this connection we ought not to be surprised when it is maintained that in the days of great artistic dexterity artists either worked their marble without having models in clay or, if they did have such, went to work far more freely and unconstrainedly ‘than happens in our day when, to speak the strict truth, the artist provides only copies in marble of originals, called models, previously worked in clay’ (Winckelmann, v. 389, note). The ancient artists therefore acquired the living inspiration which is always more or less lost by repetitions and copies; although it cannot be denied that now and again even in famous works of art, single defective parts occur, as, for example, eyes that are not equal in size, ears one of which is higher or lower than the other, feet of somewhat unequal length, and so on. The Greeks did not keep every time to the strictest accuracy in such things as the ordinary run of mediocre artists do. Such accuracy is the sole merit of mediocre artists, no matter how highly they may plume themselves on their productions and artistic judgement.
Amongst the various kinds of material in which sculptors fabricated images of the gods, one of the oldest is wood. A stick, a post on the top of which a head was placed – that was the beginning. Many of the earliest temple images are wooden but even in the time of Phidias this material was still used. So, for instance, the colossal statue of Athene at Plataea by Phidias consisted of gilded wood, though head, hands, and feet were marble (Meyer, Gesch. d. biId. Kunste, i. 60), and Myron constructed a wooden image of Hecate, with only one face and one body, at Aegina where Hecate was particularly honoured and where her festival is celebrated every year; the Aeginetans maintain that Orpheus of Thrace instituted it (Pausanias, ii. 30).
But on the whole, unless wood is gilded or otherwise overlaid, it seems on account of its own grain, and the way the grain runs, to be unsuited for grand works and more adapted to smaller ones for which it was commonly used in the Middle Ages and is still employed even today.
Other materials of the first importance are ivory associated with gold, cast bronze, and marble.
(α) It is well known that Phidias used ivory and gold for his masterpieces, e.g. for his Zeus at Olympia and for the famous colossal statue of Athene on the Acropolis at Athens; she carried on her hand a Victory, itself above man’s height.The nude parts of the body were made of laminated ivory, her robe and mantle of gold-plates which could be removed. The method of working in yellowish ivory and gold dates from the time when statues were coloured, a sort of presentation which gave way more and more to monochromatic bronze or marble.Ivory is a very clean material, smooth without the granular character of marble, and moreover costly; for the costliness of their statues of the gods was also a great matter for the Athenians. The Athene at Plataea was only superficially gilt, but the one at Athens had solid plates of gold. At the same time these chryselephantine statues should be big and rich. Quatremere de Quincy has written a masterpiece on these works, i.e. on the toreutics of the ancients. ‘Toreutics’ – torenein, torema – should properly be used of engraving on metal, chasing, cutting deep figures, e.g. on precious stones; but torema is also used to mean embossed figures on metal worked in half or full relief by means of moulds and castings and not by engraving or chasing, and then further, also improperly, to mean raised figures on earthenware vessels, and finally any sculpture in bronze. Quatremere has especially investigated the technical side of their execution and calculated how large the sheets cut from elephant tusks could be and how much ivory was used, having regard to the colossal dimensions of chryselephantine figures. But he has gone to no less trouble, on the other hand, on the basis of accounts given by classical authors, to reproduce for us a sketch of the seated figure of Zeus and particularly of his great throne with its superb basreliefs, and so in both these ways to give us an idea of the magnificence and perfection of the work.
In the Middle Ages ivory was used especially for smaller works of the most varied kinds, crucifixes, the Virgin, etc., but also for drinking vessels with pictures of hunts and similar scenes where ivory had the great advantage of wood on account of its smoothness and hardness.
(β) But in antiquity the most widespread and favourite material was bronze, and the Greeks brought the casting of it up to supreme mastery. At the time of Myron and Polyclitus especially [fifth century B.C.] it was used universally for statues of the gods and other works of sculpture. The darker vaguer colour, the sheen, the smoothness of bronze lacks in general the abstractness of white marble but it is, as it were, warmer. The bronze used by the Greeks was a mixture, sometimes of gold and silver, sometimes of copper with various metals.So, for instance, the so-called Corinthian bronze is a special mixture from which, as a result of the fire of Corinth, its unexampled wealth of statues and other things in bronze was formed. Mummius shipped away a number of statues and this excellent man attached such a high value to this treasure and was so full of anxiety to get it to Rome that he commended them to the sailors, with the threat that if these were lost they would have to create others the same in their place.
In bronze casting the Greeks acquired an incredible mastery which enabled them to cast it thinly but no less firmly. This may be regarded as something purely technical, having nothing to do with art proper, but every artist works in a physical material and it is the peculiar capacity of genius to become a complete master of his material, so that one aspect of genius is skill and dexterity in technique and handicraft. Given this virtuosity in casting, such a sculpture can be finished more cheaply and could be produced more quickly than by chiselling in marble. A second advantage which the Greeks were able to achieve by their mastery in casting was the purity of the cast which they pushed so far that their bronze statues did not need to be chiselled at all, and therefore in their finer traits there was nothing of the loss which can never be wholly avoided with chiselling. If we consider the enormous mass of works of art which arose from this lightness and mastery of technique, we must betray the greatest astonishment, and grant that the artistic sense of sculpture is an impulse and instinct belonging to the spirit which could exist precisely in such a measure and so widespread at only a single period in a single nation. In the whole of Prussia today (1829) we can very easily count up the bronze statuary: there are the unique bronze church-doors in Gnesen, only a few bronze statues in Konigsberg and Dusseldorf, and statues of Blucher in Berlin and Breslau and of Luther at Wittenberg.
The very different tone and infinite malleability and, as it were, fluidity of this material, which can be compatible with all sorts of portrayal, permits sculpture to pass into every conceivable variety of productions and adapt this so flexible and visible material to a host of conceits, compliments, vessels, decorations, and graceful trivialities, whereas marble has a limited use in the portrayal of objects and in their size; e.g. it can provide, on a certain scale, urns and vases with bas-reliefs, but for smaller objects it is unsuitable. Whereas bronze, which can not only be cast in certain forms but beaten and engraved, excludes hardly any size or manner of portrayal.
As an example on a smaller scale we may make appropriate mention here of the art of numismatics. Even in this art the classical artists have transmitted to us perfect masterpieces of beauty, although in the technical matter of die-stamping they are far behind our modern development of machine techniques. The coins were not really stamped but beaten out from almost circular pieces of metal. This branch of art reached its apex in the age of Alexander; in the Roman Empire coins were already poorer; in our own day it was Napoleon especially who tried in his coins and medallions to revive the beauty of the classics, and they are of great excellence. But in other states the chief consideration in striking the coinage has been the value of the metal and its correct weight.
(γ) The final material for sculpture, the one above all most appropriate to it, is stone which has in itself the objective character of consistency and permanence. Already in their time the Egyptians chiselled their colossal sculptures with painful labour in the hardest granite, syenite, basalt etc., but marble in its soft purity, whiteness, absence of colour, and the delicacy of its sheen harmonizes in the most direct way with the aim of sculpture, and especially through its granular character and the gentle infusion of light has a great advantage over the chalk-like dead appearance of gypsum which is too clear and its glare easily kills the finer shadow effects. We find the use of marble in Greece above all in the later period, i.e. that of Praxiteles and Scopas who achieved the most acknowledged mastery in marble statues. Phidias did work in marble, but for the most part only in heads, feet, and hands; Myron and Polyclitus generally used bronze; but Praxiteles and Scopas tried to eschew colour, this character heterogeneous to abstract sculpture. Of course we cannot deny that the pure beauty of ideal sculpture can be executed just as completely in bronze as in marble, but when, as happened in the case of Praxiteles and Scopas, art begins to pass over into softer grace and attractiveness of form, then marble is the more appropriate material. For marble (Meyer, op. cit., i. 279)
because of its translucency encourages softness of outlines, their gentle blending and tender conjunction; in marble a delicate and artistic perfection appears much more clearly in the mild whiteness of the stone than is ever possible in the noblest bronze: the more beautifully bronze goes greenish all the more disturbing are the shafts of light and reflections which it causes.
Moreover, a further reason for preferring to use this stone instead of metal was the care taken at this time about light and shade, even in sculpture; their nuances and finer differences were made more visible in marble than they could be in bronze.
To these most important sorts of material we have to add, in conclusion, precious stones and glass.The Greek gems, cameos, and pastes are beyond price because, although in the smallest compass, they repeat in supreme perfection the whole range of sculpture from the simple figure of a god, through the most varied kinds of grouping, to all possible conceits, cheerful and graceful. Yet, in connection with the Stosch. collection, Winckelmann remarks (III. xxvii) that:
Here for the first time I lighted on a truth which was of great use to me later in the explanation of the most difficult monuments, and this consisted in the principle that on cut stones as well as on sublime works the images were very seldom drawn from events occurring later than the Trojan war or after the return of Odysseus to Ithaca, if we except e.g. stories of the Heraclidae or descendants of Heracles; for stories about them border on fable, a proper subject-matter for artists. Nevertheless I am acquainted with only a single portrayal of the story of the Heraclidae.
As for gems, the genuine and more perfect figures display supreme beauty like the organic works of nature and they can be examined with a magnifying glass without losing the purity of their delineation. I mention this only because here the technique of art approaches a technique of feeling, since the artist, unlike the sculptor who can examine his work all round and direct it with his eye, must have it almost in his touch. For he holds the stone, stuck to wax, against small sharp little wheels turned by a fly-wheel and in this way the design is scratched. In this way it is the sense of touch which is in possession of the conception, of the intention of the strokes and marks, and it directs them so perfectly that when we see these stones lit up we think we have before us a relief work.
Secondly, of an opposite kind are cameos which display figures cut from stone and embossed. For these use was made especially of onyx in which the Greeks could ingeniously emphasize with taste and sensitivity the differently coloured layers, especially white and tawny ones. Aemilius Paulushad a great number of such stones and small vases shipped with him to Rome.
For productions in these varied kinds of material the Greek artists did not take as a basis situations fabricated by themselves but drew their topics every time, except for Bacchanalia and dances, from myths about the gods and traditions, and even on urns and portrayals of funeral processions they had in view specific things related to the individual in whose honour the procession had been designed. On the other hand what is specifically allegorical does not belong to the genuine ideal but occurs only in more modern art.
Up to this point we have treated sculpture throughout as the most adequate expression of the classical ideal. But the ideal not only has a progressive inner development in the course of which it becomes explicitly what it is in accordance with its implicit character, and even so begins to transcend this harmony with its own essential nature; on the contrary, as we saw above in Part II in the discussion of the particular forms of art, it also has behind it in the symbolic mode of artistic presentation a presupposition which, in order to be ideal, it must surmount, as well as, in advance of it, a further art, the romantic, by which it must be superseded in turn.
Both the symbolic and the romantic forms of art likewise take the human form as the medium of their portrayals; they cling to its spatial outline and therefore display it visibly in the manner of sculpture. Consequently when our business is with the historical development of sculpture we have to discuss not merely Greek and Roman sculpture, but oriental and Christian sculpture as well. Yet amongst the peoples for whom the symbolic was the basic type for artistic productions, it was above all the Egyptians who began to apply, for their images of the gods, the human form as it struggled to escape from a purely natural existence, so that it is especially in their case that we meet with sculpture because they give to their insights in general an artistic existence in material things. Whereas Christian sculpture is far more widespread and far richer in development, both in its strictly romantic medieval character and also in its further development where it endeavoured to approximate further to the principle of the classical ideal again and so to produce what was specifically sculptural.
Granted these considerations, I will conclude this whole Section first by making a few observations about Egyptian sculpture in distinction from Greek and as the preamble to the genuine ideal.
Next a second stage is formed by the proper development of Greek sculpture, to which the Roman is allied. But here we have mainly to glance at the stages which precede the really ideal mode of representation, because we have already considered ideal sculpture itself at length in the second chapter.
Thirdly, therefore, it only remains for us to indicate in brief the principle governing Christian sculpture, although in this matter I can only embark on pure generalities.
When we are on the point of studying the classical art of sculpture in Greece historically, we are met at once, before achieving our aim, by Egyptian art as sculpture too; as sculpture, that is to say, not in connection with enormous works produced in an entirely individual artistic style by supreme technique and elaboration, but as a starting-point and source for the forms of Greek plastic art. The fact that the latter is the case, that it is actually historically true that Greek artists did learn from the Egyptians and adopt shapes from them-all this must be made out, so far as the meaning of the divine figures portrayed is concerned, on the field of mythology, and in respect of the manner of artistic treatment, by the history of art. That there was a connection between Egyptian and Greek ideas of the gods was believed and proved by Herodotus [ii 41 ff.]; an external connection in works of art Creuzer thinks he can find most obviously in coins especially, and he rests his case above all on old Attic ones. In Heidelberg [in 1821] he showed me one in his possession, on which the face indeed, in profile, had exactly the cut of faces on Egyptian pictures. Here, however, we can leave this purely historical question alone and have only to see if, instead of this, an inner and necessary connection can be exhibited. This necessity I have touched on already. The ideal, and art in its perfection, must be preceded by imperfect art, and it is only through the negation of this, i.e. through getting rid of the defects still clinging to it, that the ideal becomes the ideal. In the instance before us, classical art of course comes into being, but that from which it develops must have an independent existence of its own outside it, because classical art, as classical, must leave behind it all inadequacy, all becoming, and must be perfect in itself. Now this [pre-classical] process of becoming classical consists in the fact that the content of the presentation begins to meet the ideal, yet remains incapable of an ideal treatment because it still belongs to the symbolic outlook which cannot form into one the universality of the meaning and the individual visible shape. The one thing that I will briefly indicate here is that Egyptian sculpture has such a fundamental character.
(α) The first thing to mention is the lack of inner and creative freedom, despite all perfection of technique. Greek sculptures proceed from the vitality and freedom of imagination which reshapes existing religious ideas into individual figures, and in the individuality of these productions makes objective to itself its own vision of ideal and classical perfection. But the Egyptian images of the gods retain a stationary type, as Plato says as long ago as his day (Laws, ii. 656, d-e) [in Egypt] the representations of the gods were settled from antiquity by the priests and
neither painters nor practitioners of other arts of design were allowed to innovate on these models or to invent any but native and traditional standards, and this prohibition still exists. You will therefore find that what was produced ten thousand years ago (and I mean ‘ten thousand’ literally) is neither better nor worse than what is produced to-day.
The corollary of this stationary fidelity was that in Egypt, as is implied by Herodotus (ii. 167), craftsmen enjoyed less respect, and they and their children had to be lower in repute than all the other citizens who did not ply any craft. Besides here a craft or art was not practised of one’s own accord but, owing to the domination of caste, son followed father, not only in his calling but in the manner of his exercising his profession and art; one trod in the footsteps of the other so that, as Winckelmann puts it (III. 2, p. 74), ‘no one seems to have left a footprint which he could call his own’. Therefore art maintained itself in this rigorous servitudeof the spirit, where the liveliness of the free artistic genius is banned along with (not the urge for honour or reward from others but) the higher honour of being an artist; i.e. one who does not work as a craftsman from mechanical forms and rules available and settled abstractly in a general way, but who sees his own individuality in his work as specifically his own creation.
(β) Secondly, as for the works of art themselves, Winckelmann, whose descriptions here once again attest his great acuteness and subtlety of observation, characterizes the chief features of Egyptian
sculpture in the following way (III. 2, pp. 77-84.): In general, there are lacking in the whole shape and its forms the grace and vivacity which result from the properly organic sweep of the lines; the outlines are straight and in scarcely swerving lines, the posture seems forced and stiff, the feet pressed closely together, and if in erect figures one foot is placed in front of the other they still keep the same direction and are not turned outwards; on male figures the arms hang straight down pressed firmly against the body. The hands, Winckelmann goes on [§8], have the shape of those of a man who has hands originally not ill-formed but now spoiled and neglected; but the feet are flatter and more spread out, the toes are of equal length and the little toe is neither bent nor curved inwards. Nevertheless, hands, nails, and toes are shaped not badly, even if the joints of fingers and toes are not indicated, as after all on all the other unclothed parts muscles and bones are little marked, and nerves and veins not at all. The result is that in detail, despite the laborious and skilled execution, there is lacking that sort of workmanship which alone imparts real animation and life to the figure. On the other hand, the knees, ankles and elbows are prominent, as they are in reality. Masculine figures are distinguished especially by an unusually slender waist above the hips, but their back is not visible because the statues lean against columns and were worked in one piece with them.
This immobility has nothing at all to do with any lack of skill on the part of the artist but must be regarded as due to an original conception of what images of the gods and their deeply secret repose should be. Along with this immobility there is directly connected an absence of situationand the lack of any sort of the action which is displayed in sculpture by the position and movement of hands, by gesture and the expression of the features. It is true that we do find amongst what the Egyptians present on obelisks and walls many figures in movement, but only as reliefs and usually painted.
To cite a few more details, the eyes do not lie deep at all, as they do in Greek ideal figures, but stand on the contrary almost level with the forehead, drawn out flatly and slanting; the eyebrows, eyelids, and rims of the lips are generally presented by engraved lines, or the brows are indicated by a more emphasized stroke which extends to the temples and is cut short there at an angle. What is missing here above all is the prominence of the forehead, and along with this lack there are correspondingly unusually high ears and curved-in noses, and these bring with them a strong emphasis and indication of cheek-bones which ordinarily are not prominent, whereas the chin is always drawn back and small, the firmly closed mouth has its comers drawn rather upwards than downwards, and the lips appear separated from one another only by a simple incision. On the whole these figures are not merely lacking in freedom and life; on the contrary the head above all has no expression of spirituality, because animalism prevails and does not allow the spirit to emerge in independent appearance.
Animals, on the other hand, according to Winckelmann, are treated with full understanding and a graceful variety of softly deviating outlines and parts flowing evenly from one to another. In human figures spiritual life is not yet freed from the animal model and not made ideal by a fusion in a new and free way with what is physical and natural. Nevertheless the specifically symbolical meaning of both human and animal forms is explicitly displayed in those figures presented even in sculpture in which human and animal forms appear in an enigmatic association with one another.
(γ) Works of art which still bear this character remain therefore at a stage which has not yet overcome the breach between meaning and shape, because for it the chief thing is still the meaning, and what matters is (a) rather the universal idea of that meaning than its incorporation in an individual shape and (b) the enjoyment springing from artistic contemplation.
Here sculpture still proceeds from the spirit of a people of whom on the one hand we may say that they have advanced only so far as the need for pictorial ideas, because they are satisfied to find indicated in a work of art what is implicit in ideas and here indeed in religious ideas. Therefore, whatever their achievement in diligence and the perfection of technical execution, still so far as sculpture goes we ought to call the Egyptians children because they do not require for their figures the truth, life, and beauty whereby alone the free work of art becomes ensouled. Of course, on the other hand, the Egyptians do go beyond mere ideas and the need for them; they advance to the vision and illustration of human and animal shapes, and indeed they can even grasp and present clearly, without distortion, and in correct proportions the forms that they reproduce. But they do not breathe into them either the life that the human form otherwise has in reality, or the higher life which can be the vehicle for expressing what the spirit effects or weaves in these forms now made adequate to it. On the contrary, their works reveal only a rather lifeless seriousness, an undisclosed secret, so that the shape is to give an inkling not of its own individual inner being but of a further meaning still alien to it. To quote only one example, there is a frequently recurring figure of Isis holding Horus on her knee. Here, looked at from the outside, we have the same subject as a Mary and child in Christian art. But in the Egyptian symmetrical, rectilinear, and unmoved pose there is (to quote a recent description in Coors d'Archiologie par [D.] Raoul-Rochette, i-xii, Paris, 1828)
neither a mother nor a child; no trace of affection, of smiling or cuddling; in short not the least expression of any kind. Tranquil, imperturbable, unshaken is this divine mother who suckles her divine child, or rather there is neither goddess, nor mother, nor son, nor god-there is only a physical sign of a thought incapable of emotion or passion, and no true presentation of an actual event, still less the correct expression of natural feeling.
This does precisely mark the breach between meaning and object and the inadequate development of artistic intuition in the Egyptians. Their inner spiritual sense is so dulled that it does not encourage the need for the precision of a true and lively presentation, made really definite, to which the spectator has nothing to add but needs only to have an attitude of reception and reproduction because the artist has given everything already. A higher sense of one’s own individuality than the Egyptians possessed had to be awakened before there could be dissatisfaction with vagueness and superficiality in art and before the claim in works of art for intellect, reason, movement, expression, soul, and beauty could be made good.
This sense of self we see completely made alive for the first time, so far as sculpture is concerned, in the Greeks, and therefore we find all the deficiencies of this Egyptian preamble expunged. Still, in this development we have not to make any violent leap from the imperfections of a still symbolic sculpture to the perfection of the classical ideal; on the contrary, as I have said more than once, in its own sphere, even if lifted now to a higher stage, the ideal has to proceed to strip off that defectiveness which at first was in the way of its perfection.
(α) As such beginnings within classical sculpture itself I will mention very briefly the so-called Aeginetan and ancient Etruscan works of art.
Both these stages or styles transcend the point at which, as in the case of the Egyptians, the artist is content simply to repeat the not unnatural but still lifeless forms just as they have been transmitted to him by others, and is satisfied to present to imagination a figure, from which imagination can abstract and be reminded of its own religious content, though without his producing anything for contemplation in a way that reveals the work as the artist’s own conception and life.
But all the same this stage, really preliminary to ideal art, does not extend all the way right into what is actually classical because on the one hand it is obviously preoccupied with what is typical and therefore without life, and on the other, while approaching life and movement, it can reach at first only the life of nature; not the life of that spiritually animated beauty which displays the life of the spirit unseparated from the life of its natural shape and derives the individual forms of this really accomplished unification equally from a vision of what is presently existent and from the free cre ation of genius.
With the Aeginetan works of art we have become more closely acquainted only in recent timesand there is a dispute as to whether they are in the category of Greek art or not. In examining them we must at once make an essential distinction in respect of artistic presentation between the head and the rest of the body. The whole body, except the head, witnesses to the truest treatment and imitation of nature. Even the accidental features of the skin are imitated and carried out excellently with a marvellous handling of the marble; the muscles are strongly emphasized, the bone structure of the body is indicated, the shapes are constrained by the severity of the design, yet reproduced with such knowledge of the human organism that the figures almost deceive us into thinking that they are alive, why! even that we are almost scared by them and shrink from touching them (according to [J. M. von] Wagner in his Über die ägin. Bildwerke, Tübingen, 1817).
On the other hand, a true presentation of nature was entirely sacrificed in the workmanship of the heads; a uniform cut of the faces was preserved in all the heads, whatever all their difference of action, character, and situation: the noses are sharp, the forehead still lies back without rising freely and straight; the ears stand high, the long-slitted eyes are set flat and slanting; the closed mouth ends in angles drawn upwards, the cheeks are kept flat but the chin is strong and angular. Equally repetitive are the form of the hair and the folds of the robes in which what predominates is symmetry, asserted above all in the posing and grouping of the figures and the peculiar kind of decoration. In part the blame for this uniformity has been put on a non-beautiful treatment of national characteristics; in part it has led people to infer from it that the hands of the artists were tied by a reverence for an ancient tradition of imperfect art. But the artist who is alive in himself and in what he produces does not allow his hands to be tied in this way, and this adherence to a type, along with great skill in other respects, must therefore be indicative simply of a bondage of the spirit which cannot yet be free and independent in its artistic creations.
Finally, the postures are just as uniform; yet they are not exactly stiff but rough, and cold, and in the case of combatants they are like those that craftsmen commonly take in the course of their business, e.g. that joiners take in planing.
We may say that the general conclusion to be drawn from these illustrations is that spiritual animation is what is missing in them, though they are so extremely interesting for the history of art and display a clear division between tradition and the imitation of nature. For, as I have explained already above in Chapter II, the spirit can be expressed [in sculpture] only in features and posture. The other parts of the body do indicate spirit’s natural differences, e.g. those of sex and age, but what is entirely spiritual the posture alone can reproduce. But in the Aeginetan sculptures facial expressions and the posture are precisely what is relatively spiritless.
The Etruscan works of art which are testified as genuine by inscriptions show just the same imitation of nature, though in a still higher degree, but the posture and facial expressions are free, and some of these works are very nearly portraits. So, for instance, Winckelmann speaks (iii, ch. 2, p. 189) of a male statue which seems to be wholly a portrait, though emanating from the art of a later period. It is a life-size figure of a man, apparently a sort of orator, a magisterial and dignified person, presented with great and unforced naturalness and with no vagueness of posture or expression. It would be noticeable and significant if what was at home on Roman soil from the start was not the ideal but nature in its prosaic actuality.
(β) Now, secondly, in order to attain the summit of the classical ideal, really ideal sculpture has to abandon the typical and a reverence for tradition and make room for artistic freedom of production. This freedom alone succeeds, on the one hand, in entirely working the universality of the meaning into the individuality of the shape, and, on the other, in raising the physical forms to the height of being a genuine expression of their spiritual meaning. In this way we see freed into vitality both the stiffness and bondage intrinsic to the outlook of the older art, and also the predominance of the meaning over the individuality through which that meaning should be expressed. In this vitality the bodily forms on their side lose both the abstract uniformity of a traditional character and also a deceptive naturalness, and proceed on the other hand to the classical individuality which animates the universality of the forms by particularizing them and at the same time makes their sensuous reality throughout a perfect expression of animation by the spirit. This sort of vitality affects not only the shape as such but also the posture, movement, drapery, grouping, in short all the aspects which I have distinguished in detail and discussed above.
The union achieved here is that of universality and individuality which, in respect alike of the spiritual content as· such and the sensuous form, must first be harmonized before they can enter one with another into the indissoluble bond which is genuinely classical. But, once more, this identity has its of stages. That is to say, at one end, the ideal inclines still to the loftiness and severity does not begrudge the individual his living stir and movement yet keeps him still firmly under the domination of the universal: while at the other end the universal is gradually more and more lost in the individual, with the result that it is deprived of its depth, and this loss can be repaired only by substituting the development of the individual and sensuous aspect of the object, so that the ideal passes over from loftiness to what is pleasing and delicate, to cheerfulness and a coaxing gracefulness. Between these extremes there is a second stage which carries the severity of the first forward into fuller individuality, yet without finding its main aim achieved by mere gracefulness.
(γ) Thirdly, in Roman art we see the dissolution of classical sculpture beginning. Here, that is to say, it is no longer on the ideal proper that the whole conception and execution of the work of art depends. The poetry of spiritual animation, the inner breath and nobility of a representation perfect in itself, these excellences peculiar to Greek plastic art, disappear and give place on the whole to a preference for something more like a portrait. This developing artistic ‘truth to nature’ permeates every aspect of Roman sculpture. Nevertheless in this its own sphere, it is always at such a high stage that essentially it is only inferior to Greek because it lacks what is really perfect in a work of art, the poetry of the ideal in the strict sense of the word.
As for Christian sculpture, on the other hand, from the very beginning it has a principle of treatment and mode of portrayal which does not so directly cohere with the material and forms of sculpture as is the case in the classical ideal portrayed by Greek imagination and art. For romantic art, as we saw in Part II, is essentially concerned with the inner life that has withdrawn into itself out of the external world, with spiritual self-related subjective life; this does appear outwardly but it leaves this external manifestation alone in its own particular character without forcing its fusion with the inner and spiritual life, as the ideal of sculpture requires. Grief, agony both physical and mental, torture and penance, death and resurrection, spiritual and subjective personality, deep feeling, heart, love, and emotion, this proper content of the religious and romantic imagination is no topic for which the abstract external shape as such in its three spatial dimensions and the material in its physical, not idealized, existence could provide the really adequate form and the equally congruent material. Therefore in the romantic field sculpture does not afford, as it does in Greece, the distinctive characteristic of the other arts and indeed of the whole of existence. On the contrary it yields to painting and music as the arts more appropriate to portraying the inner life and, in the particularity of an external object, its free permeation by that life. In the Christian period we do find sculpture practised in wood, marble, bronze, silver, and gold, and often brought to the height of mastery, but it is not the art which presents, as Greek sculpture does, a truly adequate picture of God. On the contrary the religious sculpture of romantic art remains, to a greater extent than Greek, an adornment of architecture. The saints stand mostly in niches of turrets and buttresses, or on entrance doors; while the birth, baptism, Passion, Resurrection, and so many other events in the life of Christ, as well as the great visions of the Last Judgement, etc., are at once concentrated, because of their varied content, in reliefs on doors and walls of churches, on fonts, choir stalls, etc., and they readily approximate to arabesques. In short, because what prevails here is the expression of the inner life of the spirit, the whole of this sculpture acquires a pictorial principle in a higher degree than is allowed to ideal plastic art. On the other hand, sculpture seizes rather on common life and therefore on the portraiture which, like painting too, it does not regard as alien to religious portrayals. For example, the goose-seller on the market-place in Niirnberg, so highly praised by Goethe and Meyer, is a country peasant holding a goose for sale on each arm and presented in an extremely lively way in bronze (impossible in marble). So too the many sculptures on the church of St. Sebald and so many churches and buildings [in Nürnberg], produced especially in the time of Peter Vischer [1455-1529], which exhibit religious subjects drawn from the history of the Passion, etc., give a clear sight of this sort of particularization in shape, expression, mien, and gestures, especially in gradations of grief.
On the whole, therefore, though romantic sculpture has deviated all too often into the greatest aberrations, it remains faithful to the proper principle of plastic art when it sticks more closely to the Greeks again and now struggles to approach antiquity and to treat ancient subjects in the sense that the Greeks did or to treat sculpturally both portraits and standing figures of heroes and kings. This is especially the case nowadays. But even in the field of religious subjects sculpture has been able to produce excellent work. In this connection I will only refer to Michelangelo. We cannot sufficiently admire his figure of the dead Christ of which there is a plaster cast in the Royal collection here in Berlin. Some claim that the figure of Mary in St. Mary’s church in Bruges is not authentic, though it is an excellent work. But I have been attracted above all by the tomb of the Count of Nassau at Breda.The Count lies beside his Countess in white alabaster, life-size on a black marble base. At the corners Regulus, Hannibal, Caesar, and a Roman warrior stand, bent down, carrying on their shoulders a black marble slab similar to the one below. Nothing is more interesting than to see a character, like Caesar, depicted by Michelangelo. Yet for religious subjects there are required the spirit, imaginative power, force, profundity, audacity, and capability of an artist like him in order to make possible by such productive originality a combination of the plastic principle of the Greeks with the sort of animation intrinsic to romantic art. For the whole drift of the Christian mind, where religious vision and ideas are at their peak, is, as I said, not towards the classical form of the ideal which is the first and highest vocation of sculpture.
From this point we can make the transition from sculpture to another principle of artistic treatment and portrayal, a principle needing for its realization a different physical material. In classical sculpture it was objective, substantial, and human individuality that was central, and the human form as such was given such a lofty position that it was maintained abstractly as pure beauty of form and reserved for representing the Divine. But, for this reason, the man who enters the portrayal here as both its form and its content is not the full and wholly concrete man; the anthropomorphism of art remains incomplete in ancient sculpture. For what it lacks is (a) humanity in its objective universality which at the same time is identified with the principle of absolute personality, and (b) what is so commonly called ‘human’, i.e. the factor of subjective individuality, human weakness, particular and contingent character, caprice, passion, natural needs, etc. This factor must be introduced into that universality so that the entire individual, the person in his total range and in the endless sphere of his actual life may appear as the principle for both the content and the mode of portrayal in works of art.
In classical sculpture one of these factors, namely man in his purely natural aspect, comes into view only in animals and figures that are half man and half animal, such as fauns, etc.; here this [animal] aspect [of man] is not recalled into subjective consciousness and negatived there. On the other hand this sculpture itself passes over into the factor of particularization and an outward tendency only in the pleasing style, in the thousands of pleasantries and conceits in which even ancient plastic art indulged. Whereas throughout it lacks the principle of the depth and infinity of subjective consciousness, of the inner reconciliation of the spirit with the Absolute and the ideal unification of man and mankind with God. The subject-matter which enters art in accordance with this principle is brought to our eyes by Christian sculpture; but the very presentation of Christian art shows that sculpture is insufficient for giving actuality to this material, so that other arts had to appear in order to realize what sculpture is never able to achieve. These new arts we may group together under the name of ‘the romantic arts’ because they are most in correspondence with the romantic form of art.
1. Once again, Goethe’s theory of colour as a synthesis of light and dark.
2. Hegel is mistaken (deceived by Meyer) in thinking that the practice of colouring statues had ceased in the age when Greek sculpture was at its zenith. ‘Greek sculpture throughout its career was painted.... Unpainted sculpture is a recent taste.... It was only in the Renaissance that unpainted figures were produced’ (G. M. A. Richter, The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks (New Haven and London, 1950), pp. 148-9. This book with its wealth of plates is a valuable aid to following Hegel’s section on Sculpture.)
3. Hegel’s attempt to show this may be found in his Philosophy of Nature, §§ 350 ff. See also above in Vol. I, pp. 118-19, 434.
4. For this distinction in detail and Hegel’s doctrine of the soul in its various aspects (or stages) see his Philosophy of Mind, §§ 388 ff. (tr. by W. Wallace and A. V. Miller, Oxford, I971).
5. This word, meaning the study of passions and emotions or of signs and expressions of them, was first used in English in I793 in a summary of Lavater.
6. F. J., 1758-1828, the inventor of phrenology.
7. Blessedness is the character normally ascribed to the gods in Homer. The artist works in freedom and yet, when what he produces is a beautiful work of art, it is necessitated. It could not be otherwise than it is without departing from the ideal.
8. The famous courtesan who was the model for Apelles’ picture of Aphrodite rising from the sea.
9. Examples are: Lantern-St. Lucia and St. Gudule (her church in Brussels contained the finest stained glass that Hegel had ever seen. Letter, 8. viii. 1822). Gridiron – St. Laurence ( because he was roasted on one). Millstone – fairly common, e.g. especially St. Florian and St. Vincent who were drowned with millstones round their necks.
10. The artist’s vision and imagination is productive, the scholar’s only reproductive of what the artist has produced.
11. The seventh Lord Elgin (1766-184I) was Ambassador to the Porte, 1799-1803. He arranged for the transfer of the ‘Elgin Marbles’ to England, 1803-12, and sold them to the nation in 1816.
12. Since the Elgin marbles have just been mentioned, this is probably a reference to the Ilissus on the Parthenon west pediment. If so, Hegel’s encomium may seem excessive.
13. Probably one of those on the Parthenon frieze.
14. Turgor vitae: cf. Vol. I, p. 146, note.
15. P. Camper, 1722-89. His rectorial oration, De pulchro physico, was delivered at Gröningen in 1766. J. F. Blumenbach (1752-184o) published his doctoral dissertation, De generis humani vanetate nativa, at Göttingen in 177S. Hegel cites § 60 of this work.
16. In Vol. I. See p. 202, n. 4.
17. This like Hegel’s other references is to the edition of Winckelmann’s Works edited by C. L. Fernow, 8 vols., Dresden, 1808-20. This splendid edition with a Vast wealth of scholarly notes and many plates is not available everywhere and therefore I have given references in a way which makes it possible to identify them in other editions. This reference is to Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums (History of Art in Antiquity), abbreviated below as K.d.A.; and here a reference to bk. 5, ch. v, § 20, is sufficient.
18. A ‘cauliflower’ ear is associated with boxers, but the pancratiast boxed as well as wrestled. Hercules celebrated (some say founded) the Olympic games in Elis. For his victory see, for instance, Pausanias, v, 8, iv. Pelops was held in great honour at Olympia (ibid., 13, i), and it is possible that the games were originally Instituted in his honour (or by him).
19. ‘The affected gesture of the right arm is a restoration, and the head has been broken and re-set at the wrong angle’ (K. Clark, The Nude, Pelican edition, p. 370. The statue is illustrated and severely criticized in the same book, pp. 7981.) Cf. what Hegel says in Vol. I, p. 564.
20. Hegel says ‘Hüon’s horn’ – this is a reference to Wieland’s Oberon. But this magic horn compelled those who heard it to dance, and this stood Hüon in good stead in moments of danger. The Gorgon’s head seems more appropriate in this context, although Hegel may mean that people set in motion by the horn are then frozen or turned to stone.
21. 1 See Vol. I, pp. 20I-3. ‘Hannless’ is explained there.
22. e.g. Thucydides, i. 6. He says that the practice of competing nude was a comparatively recent innovation.
23. In K.d.A., bk. 6, § 33. Winckelrnann says that only one in fifty was nude.
24. In vol. I, pp. 165-6.
25. This reflection did not deter Hegel from writing at length to his wife about the fashion for ladies’ hats in Parls (20 Sept. 1827).
26. Horace, Satires, ii. 7. 86.
27. It is not clear to which Tischbein Hegel refers. The oldest was J. H., I722-89. There were two others, his relatives J. F. A., I750-1812, and J. H. W.,
28. In Vol. I, pp. 495 ff.
29. i.e. Versuch einer Allegorie, ch. 2.
30. This alleged conquest of India is described at length in the Dionysiaca of Nonnus (fifth-century A.D.). But the representation of Dionysus the conqueror is not infrequent on Roman sarcophagi.
31. i.e. when she was seeking her daughter Proserpine (Pausanius, i. 2. 4). Hegel is still quoting the Winckelmann passage last referred to.
32. i.e. K.d.A., bk. 6, ch. ii, § 17. and bk. II, ch. ii, § 7.
33. E. Q., 1751-1818. The reference is to the catalogue of engravings in this Gallery.
34. i.e. K.d.A., bk. 5, ch. i, § 29.
35. There is a confusion here. What is attributed to Aesculapius belongs to Zeus and vice versa. This is clear, for example, in illustrations in the latest edition of Smith’s Classical Dictionary.
36. i.e. K.d.A., bk. 5, ch. ii, § 10.
37. Vorläufige Abhandlung von der Kunst der Zeichnung der alten Völker, ch. iv, § 10.
38. The Battiadae were kings of Cyrene in the fifth-century B.C.
39. i.e. K.d.A., bk. 5, ch. i, §39.
40. His mother dressed him as a girl in the hope of thus keeping him away from the battle before Troy where it had been prophesied he would perish (e.g. Apollodorus, III. xiii. 8).
41. i.e. K.d.A., bk. 5, ch. i, § 8.
42. Apollo Sauroctonos is illustrated, for instance, in K. Clark, The Nude, p. 43. The description by Pliny, xxxiv. 70, identifies this as a work of Praxiteles (see Richter, op. cit., pp. 262-3).
43. This bronze figure stood on the Acropolis at Athens. It was very highly praised in antiquity but exists no longer. Myron fl. fifth-century B.C.
44. Hegel cites vol. ii, second part, of this periodical.
45. i.e. K.d.A. 5, ch. Ii, §8.
46. 1 i.e. K.d.A., bk. 5 ch. ii, § 3.
47. Hegel’s view of these two famous figures is borne out by the discussion of them in Sir Kenneth Clark, The Nude (ed. cit., pp. 44-5, 79-80), where Winckelmann is also mentioned.
48. This is an extract from ‘Notes of a Journey through France and Italy’, but the newspaper gives no indication of authorship.
49. e.g. by Pliny, N.H. xxxiv. 55.
50. This is now altogether lost (see Richter, op. cit., pp. 210-11).
51. In the British Museum. A Hellenistic work illustrated in Richter, op. cit., 369.
52. ‘The Dioscuri with their steeds gave to the Quirinal the modern name of Monte Cavallo. They must be dated about 330 A.D.’ An inscription describes one as Opus Fidiae and the other as Opus Praxitelis. This can only mean that they are copies of works by these sculptors, for their date is proved by details of their sculpture (A. Rumpf, Stilphasen der spatantiken Kunst, Cologne, 1955).
53. The pediment of the temple of Apollo Sosianus in Rome, described by Pliny (N.H. xxxvi. 28). Hegel would have seen somewhere a reproduction of the copy in Florence.
54. The date of the Laöcoon is still a matter of controversy, but the various dates now advanced all pre-date the Aeneid (see ii. 201 ff.). Of the literary remains of antiquity the Aeneid is the first to involve the priest, as well as the boys, in the coils of the serpents. Lessing, whose interesting discussion in his Laocoon Hegel must have read, was inclined to think that this was decisive and that the Aeneid inspired the Greek sculptors who otherwise would have followed Greek writers. But there may have been literary originals, now perished, available to the sculptors and Virgil as well; or alternatively, in order to produce a pyramidal effect, the sculptors may have had the idea of involving the priest too. As Hegel apparently felt, the problem may be as unprofitable an exercise as asking about the priority of the hen and the egg, but he deserves credit for being one of the first in Germany to see that this famous sculpture was not a work of classical Greek art.
55. i.e. some centuries later than the age of classical Greek art.
56. Bronze by J. G. Schadow, 1793·
57. C. F., sculptor, 1776-1851.
58. This note, which is by the editor of Winckelmann’s works, is note 456 to K.d.A., bk. 7, ch. i, §4.
59. Later, Hecate is represented with three heads and three bodies.
60. Eight feet high, according to Pausanias, i. 24.
61. If Hegel had seen the Acropolis, this sentence might have been expressed otherwise. The difference was between laying on colour and leaving the material in its natural colour, but the Greeks seem to have preferred the former.
62. A. C. Q. de Quincy (1755-1849): LeJupiter Olympien .... ouvragequi qui comprend ... l’, explication de la toreutique (paris, I8IS). Toreutics = the art of carving, chasing, and embossing metal (O.E.D.).
63. e.g. Callimachus, Pausanias, and Strabo.
64. It was nearly sixty feet high and the throne was ornamented with gold and precious stones as well as with sculptured and painted figures. Theodosius I removed it to Constantinople where it was destroyed in A.D. 475.
65. Tin only is mentioned, one part of tin to nine of copper.
66. L. Mummius, praetor 154 B.C., and later conqueror of Achaea and responsible for the conflagration of Corinth in 146 B.C.
67. Velleius Paterculus, i. 13, says only ‘bring back’ instead of ‘create’. But the implication is that what Mummius shipped in 146 B.C. included Corinthian bronzes, while Hegel has just said that Corinthian bronze was a result of the fire in that year. This follows Pliny, N.H. xxxiv. 3: ‘Of the bronze that was renowned in early days, the Corinthian is the most highly praised. This is a compound produced by accident when Corinth was burned.’ Strabo (17. xii) says that this bronze was an alloy of gold and silver, and (8. vi. 23) that, a century after the conflagration, when Corinth was being rebuilt in 44 B.C., bronze vessels found in graves were sold at high prices in Rome.
68. Raising bronze statues to public figures did not become fashionable anywhere in Europe until Hegel’s day. From his list he excludes Schadow’s bronze Victory, mentioned above. and he omits the same sculptor’s statue of Blucher in Rostock (1819). The bronze doors in Gnesen cathedral (c. 1100) are indeed a rarity. The statue of Frederick I in Königsberg was cast in bronze by Jakobi at the end of the seventeenth century after a model by Schlüter. The equestrian bronze in Düsaeldorf of Count J. Wilhelm is by Grupello of Innsbruck, 1703. Luther’s monument at Wittenberg was completed by Schadow in 18z1. The bronze statues of Blucher are both by C. D. Rauch, Berlin 1826, Breslau 1827.
69. i.e. selenite, alabaster, or even plaster of Paris.
70. i.e. fourth century B.C. Phidias belonged to the fifth.
71. i.e. glass paste, a vitreous composition used for making imitation stones. Glass-blowing was not invented until the first-century B.C.
72. P. Baron von Stosch, 1691-1757. Winckelmann’s Description des pierres gravees du feu Baron von S. appeared in 1766.
73. L. Aemilius Paulus Macedonicus, d. 160 B.C. Plutarch, in his life of him, refers to the size and solidity of the embossed work on the goblets, etc., displayed at his triumph after his Macedonian victories.
74. Nothing is more striking in Hegel than his dismissal of ‘purely’ historical questions, although history is the guiding thread through all his major works, indeed including these Lectures. The reason is that he distinguishes between a philosopher’s study of history and a historian’s. It is the business of the latter to find the facts, to deal with ‘purely’ historical questions; once these are found, the philosopher can get to work to find their meaning, or the spiritual purpose which they are working out. He would probably have preferred, e.g., Toynbee to Ranke.
75. Art, skill, handicraft are as little differentiated by the Greek word as artists and craftsmen. But Herodotus is actually saying that this depreciation of the artist or craftsman is Greek, implying that it was Egyptian, and speculating on Whether the Greeks borrowed it from that source.
76. i.e. K.d.A., bk. 2, ch. i, § 11.
77. Reading Gebundenheit with Hotho’s first edition. The second edition has Ungebundenheit, but this seems inappropriate in the context. See below, p. 786.
78. i.e. bk. 2, ch. ii, §§ 1-9.
79. Cf. above in Vol. I, p. 200.
80. It is difficult to see what was meant by schief. We expect ‘with narrow slits’, or the like. See below on the Aeginetan sculptures. Reproductions of long-slitted or narrow-slitted eyes do not show any slant.
81. § 5 of the last reference to K.d.A.
82. e.g. in thc Sphinx.
83. Sculptures from the pediment of the temple of Zeus at Aegina were discovered in I81I. They were transferred to Munich into the possession of the Crown Prince of Bavaria and described in Wagner’s book cited on p. 786 below.
84. i.e. K.d.A., 3, ch ii, § 10.
85. The artist is unknown but he may have been a pupil of P. Vischer.
86. The Pietá in St. Peter’s.
87. Hegel described this in a letter to his wife from Breda, 9 October 182.2., and from The Hague on 10 October. Hegel’s attribution of the work to Michelangelo seems to be a mistake on the part of his informant in Holland.