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in a state of continual progress. This important, indisputable fact, is already sufficient to clearly establish the difference of the genius of the two nations, in what concerns their manner of conceiving art, and of treating it. From the moment the Egyptians had arrived at a period of which we have no knowledge, and by ways which we shall probably never know, at fixing the type of its idols, it adopted this type and never changed it afterwards; whether it was on its part custom or want of genius, superstition or philosophy, prejudice or reason, I shall not examine at this moment; it is sufficient for me to establish this fact which cannot be contested by any one; that Egyptian art once arrived at a point at which it was determined to stop, advanced no further, never retrograded, remained firm, immovable, unassailable, like its colossi, like its temples, like its pyramids. This result, whatever may have been the causes of it, is certainly very remarkable; there is in this character of permanence, of immutability, of durability stamped on all the monuments of a people, as well as on all its ideas, a phenomenon certainly unique in the history of the human mind, a feature in the highest degree deserving of our studies; but it is as a philosophical question, that this persistency of Egypt in its principles of art and of taste recommends itself to our studies, or even to our admiration; as a question of art itself it is already judged, by this sole fact, that this art in the hands of the Egyptians never experienced any vicissitudes, never pursued any course, regular or irregular, progressive or retrograde. Let any one, in fact, examine the monuments of Egyptian art, there is always the same spirit, the same character, the same type, eternally, obstinately, reproduced, without any other difference than that which unavoidably results from the skill of the workman, or the quality of the material, or from the management of the tools. Thanks to the ingenious and learned investigations which have raised a corner of the veil behind which ancient Egypt remained concealed to the ancients themselves, we know with every certainty, that among those monuments of Egyptian art which have come down to us, there are some belonging to the times of the first Pharaohs as well as to those of the last Ptolemies. We can thus compare at a single glance, a boundless historic period, a vast space of time, during which the human mind, everywhere but in Egypt, had passed through all the stages of civilisation, and passed from
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the savage state of the first inhabitants of Greece to the dominion of the arts of philosophy and literature; from the cabins of the Pelasgi to the Parthenon; from the images in wood of Dædalus to the Jupiter Olympius of Phidias; from the fabulous Orpheus and from the mythological Amphion to Plato and Sophocles; lastly, from the age of Cecrops to that. of Pericles. Now what do we see in those Egyptian statues ranged before our eyes in an almost uninterrupted series for nearly fifteen centuries from Sesostris Ramses to Ptolemy Philadelphus, to prevent us from speaking of them in the lowest terms? The same figure constantly reproduced under the same features, covered with the same symbols, accompanied by the same attributes, executed in wood or in stone, in red or gray granite, sculptured or painted, and the more frequently both, on a large or small scale, from sixty feet or over to six inches, with somewhat more or somewhat less of delicacy of execution, for which it was indebted to the material itself in which it was wrought, and to the hand which directed it, so that in that vast field of imitation on which art has exercised itself on every material, in every proportion, and on every subject, from the Divinity to man, and from man to the brute, there is in reality but one type for each individual; and never any individual form or feature for any of them, never a god which may in reality be deemed a god, never a man which differs essentially from another man; never any real object of imitation, and consequently no true image of art.
The observation I have just made is established by a great many facts easily verified, and in accordance with such undoubted attestations, that any exceptions, if there are any, and I acknowledge that I do not admit that there are any, would be absolutely without influence on the question which occupies us. That in some statues of a workmanship peculiarly Egyptian, the primitive type of these statues may have been more or less modified by the intention of imitation on the part of the artist; that in a great number of these statues evidently of Grecian workmanship, the imitative genius of that nation may be involuntarily stamped on productions the most opposite to it; these are but particular cases, necessarily very rare, rather than accidental deviations from the general system. · The fundamental principle of art in Egypt, being the absence of art, all which could tend to improve it according to our ideas, could not but materially alter it according to those of
the Egyptians, all intention of imitation in a type consecrated by religion and by political rule, was not only a fault, but still more, a kind of sacrilege; a figure correctly drawn would have been not only a thing unheard of, it would have been almost an act of impiety. I do not doubt that a divinity under the form of the Venus de' Medici, or of the Apollo Belvedere, would have appeared monstrous to ancient Egypt; and it is certain, that never was such a cause of complaint given to that country.
Let us consider the other element of the question; I speak of Grecian art. And first of all, let us endeavour to form a just idea of what remains of it, by comparing it with what we have lost. Of the 60,000 statues which composed in the beginning of the last century, that part of the ancient population of modern Rome, and the number of which has been still more considerably increased by recent discoveries, without reckoning the abundance of riches of that kind obtained by the excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii; of those 60,000 statues there are scarcely a hundred, which by unanimous consent, can be considered of the first order, and over a thousand which are not of marble. Among these works, which are considered by us as the type of perfection, there are some, such as the Belvedere Apollo and the Mercury, the Venus of Milo, the Amazon of the Vatican, the Diana of the French Museum, the family of Niobe, the authors of whom we do not in any way know. Others, such as the Hercules Farnese of Glycon, the Venus de' Medici by Cleomenes, the famous Torso of the Belvedere by Apollonius, the Borghese gladiator of Agasias, the Centaurs of the Capitol by Aristeas and Papias of Aphrodisias, are by artists certainly not without merit, nor probably without fame in antiquity, but who are not in any way mentioned in the numerous list which Pausanias, Pliny, and other ancient authors have handed down to us of the most celebrated statuaries. It is, therefore, almost certain that we do not possess almost any original work of those artists whose fame has filled the world. Add to this, that almost all those statues which have come down are of marble, a material on which, with very few exceptions, art never exercised itself in Greece until a period when it was nearly verging to decline.
Phidias, and consequently his predecessors, Alcamenes, Myron, Polycletus; and his rivals or disciples, Lysippus,
Praxiteles himself, although the latter made a few statues in marble, worked almost exclusively in bronze, or in materials, such as ivory, and precious metals, the mixture of which was singularly pleasing to ancient Greece. Statues of bronze, of gold, of ivory, even of wood by Phidias are noticed; but one or two in marble have been noticed, even this is but uncertain tradition. Lysippus whose works according to Pliny, reached 1500, produced none but statues of bronze.
Among the works which remain to us, and which answer the descriptions of some master-pieces of antiquity, such as the Apollo Sauroctonos, the Faun named the Famous, and the Cupid of Praxiteles, the Discobolus of Myron, the Amazon of Polycletus; we know positively, that the originals were in bronze, consequently that we possess but copies of them, since we have them in marble. Even the Apollo Belvedere is very probably but a copy of a statue in bronze, and a copy of a Roman age, since the marble is Italian. The greater number of the most beautiful monuments of ancient art, which have come down to us, are then copies of works of a superior order; but as may be well understood, this observation does not in any way tend to diminish in our eyes the merit of these excellent works, which are not the less master-pieces, though they may be by unknown masters. But it makes us appreciate more fully Grecian art, in its original productions, and in this respect, I firmly believe, that however high we may be able to raise our ideas from the merit of the copies, it will be always difficult for us to reach the sublimity of their models.
After this preliminary observation, let us cast a glance on what remains to us of Greek art considered in its general development. We possess no monument connected with the first period, or as is generally said, with the infancy of art, with that age, in which rude idols produced by a coarse handicraft, and bearing a great resemblance to a figure in swaddling clothes, were the sole objects of public worship. We possess yet fewer of a period still earlier than the latter, of the time in which the gods of Greece were but round or square stones, cut into cippi or columns, to which separate names were given in order to make them distinct deities: such were the thirty square stones which were preserved at Phares, in Achaia, in the time of Pausanias; such were the Jupiter Milichius, and the Diana Patroa, which were worshipped at Sicyon. Even Cupid and the Graces were as yet, in these primitive periods,
but simple stones, and the Venus of Paphos was not otherwise; we see her thus represented in a number of monuments of a more recent age, but of undoubted authority. It is evident that where there did not exist even the rude outline of any form, art was not yet born; consequently, that no influence, either Egyptian or any other could have been exercised, nor was in fact exercised in those first rude objects of superstition of a savage people. But at length a time came, when this people attempted to give to its idols an appearance, although imperfect, of the human form; and from that time, art was born with that rude attempt at imitation. This first attempt consisted in adding to a cylindrical body, a head, feet, and hands, rudely fashioned. Greece revered for a long time, even in the period of its splendour, two idols executed in this primitive form, in which the original type of the column prevailed in the imperfect imitation of the human body: I mean the colossus in bronze of Apollo, at Amycles, and of the Diana of Ephesus, of which such a number of copies have come down to us, all shaped in a conical form, and the greater number with the head and feet of black marble, and the body of white marble, without doubt to indicate the primitive type of these idols, which must have been of wood of a brown colour, or blackened by age. The greater number of the statues of the first age Greek sculpture, recal more or less this primitive form, proceeding from the column or the cylinder; such were those idols of the Palladium, of Venus Chryse, of Diana Taurica, which have been frequently found represented on monuments of a later age, especially on Greek vases, idols in the shape of a case, with the feet pressed one against the other, the arms stretched down the side of the body, in fine without any imitation of precise form. Soon handicraft industry, advancing towards perfection, produced images in which the features of the human countenance, and the forms of the body were rudely imitated. This progress, which Greece attributed to its fabulous Daedalus, a generic name under which we must understand a whole school of artists; this progress consisted in opening the eyes and the mouth, in separating the feet and the arms of the figures, so as to give them some appearance of motion and life. It was at this point that Egypt remained willingly enchained; for the perfection of the workmanship by which it produced those imperfect images, proves that it was willingly that it followed this manner, and it is at this point