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painter; these idols, which do not in any way partake of the genius of the arts, for they tend to assimilate their principles, to confound their effects; these monuments in fine of a rude instinct, and of a mechanical art in its infancy, present themselves at the very entrance of the domain of art, as the precursors, and if one may so speak, as the ancestors of those statues and colossi of gold and ivory, in which, at the other extremity of its career the same art had equalled, by the magnificence and beauty of its productions, the majesty of the Gods. But this prodigy was the work of time, of liberty and of genius it was brought about on Grecian soil, and by Grecian hands; it was the work, the property, the eternal title of glory of Greece. Egypt can only lay claim to the germ which it could not render fruitful itself, to the rude sketch which it could not terminate, to the model from which it derived no advantage. To say all in a word, Egypt claims as her own, in the history of art, the type and the form of her mummies: all the rest, from this beginning to the Jupiter Olympius of Phidias, belongs exclusively to Greece, which subject we now intend to enter upon. But we have as yet only reached the age of Dædalus, and we must make a short pause, before entering the vast space we have to go over. We shall, therefore, stop here and leave to our next lecture the continuation of this subject.
School of Dædalus-Statues of wood called Dædalean, first productions of Greek Art Statues dressed in real drapery-Causes and proofs of this customTaste for Polychromatic Sculpture derived from the same principleDigression on an analogous practice to be found in the Florentine School at the period of the revival of Art-Proofs of the sculpture of several materials, or of several colours derived from Ancient Monuments-Of Dedalus and of his history-What is to be understood under the name of this personage, and in the narrative of his travels-Characteristics peculiar to Works executed in his School-Conclusion.
THE history of art has, like every other history, its fabulous origin, its poetic ages, its uncertain genealogies. The cradle of all our knowledge, like that of all the great families which performed a conspicuous part on the stage of the world, is covered with a mysterious obscurity, and the truth itself is disguised under the veil, and with the colours of fable; but fable, in its turn, is useful in confirming the existence of the facts it enshrouds, and it is thus that an attempt may be made to verify and restore, one by the other, the mythology of art and its history. The age of Dædalus, the works of his which are mentioned in history, the inventions which have been attributed to him, are one of those historical problems which the apparently learned credulity of one age, and which the seemingly philosophical scepticism of another age, have in turns solved in opposite senses, in an equally light manner, and with equal insufficiency. While endeavouring to see in it nothing but pure history or pure fable, the true mode was equally departed from, for in fact there was a mixture of one and of the other, which it was necessary to endeavour to distinguish. Far anterior to the period in which Athenian tradition placed the age of Dædalus-that is, three generations before the siege of Troy, or about thirteen centuries before our era, certain statues of wood were in general use, and were widely extended in Greece. These statues, which were dressed in real drapery, in order to conceal the imperfection of the form, or which were painted in different colours, in order to bear the semblance of these garments and of these forms, were called Dædala, a generic word which remained in the language,
to distinguish every kind of thing, and especially every work of art ingeniously wrought. We have on this point a clear and positive testimony of Pausanias, which will not allow us to doubt of either the existence of these wooden statues covered with drapery, or their antiquity with regard to Dædalus, nor their special denomination at the very period of which we are speaking. We can even go farther. Based on this testimony of Pausanias, and on the facts which confirm it, we can form very nearly a just idea of the manner in which these Dædalean statues, more ancient than Dædalus himself-kinds of layfigures draped-were conceived and wrought. There are frequently to be found on the Greek vases of ancient style, small idols of several deities, among others, of Pallas, of Diana Taurica, of Venus Chrysè, which seem to be exact imitations of the most ancient statues consecrated to those deities. Now these statues, under a human form rudely imitated, with the attributes or the arms they bear, and the dresses of real drapery which cover them from head to foot, faithfully represent to us, according to all appearance, the state of the art anterior to Dædalus, and show what were the Dædalean statues before the period, whatever it may be, in which this personage and his school flourished. This custom of dressing statues in real draperies of moveable clothes, claims a few moments attention, not as a simple singularity of taste, but as one of the most curious inspirations of the genius of antiquity. That these means of producing a kind of illusion derived from the rudest instinct existed in Greece, as they existed in Egypt, as they exist almost everywhere, among nations in their infancy, or for that portion of the people which will ever remain children, will be readily admitted, though we should be unable to adduce positive testimonies; and it is, moreover, a fact, proofs and examples of which have been collected by an illustrious antiquary, in regard to Greece, with a diffuseness which exempts me from dwelling on the point. But that this same custom, derived from the same principle, and further authorised by long use, should be perpetuated in Greece at the most flourishing periods of the art, and applied to its most celebrated productions, is certainly a matter which will be a cause of wonder to us, in particular, who have such different ideas on that point. Now it is also a fact which does not admit of the least doubt, that the custom of dressing statues in real drapery was continued to almost all the periods of art, though its use,
probably, became more and more rare and restricted. The testimonies of ancient authors cannot be interpreted otherwise, who say that the gods and goddesses had, like the generality of wealthy persons, women charged with their toilet, and who assure us, that there was a particular class of priests, whose special function it was to dress and undress the divine statues. There is a well-known anecdote, which alone can stand for a whole series of facts, and that, too, at the most beautiful period of Greek art; it is the story of Dionysius, who, considering the mantle of gold with which the Jupiter Olympius of Syracuse was covered, too heavy for summer, and too cold for winter, thought proper to replace it by a woollen mantle, as being better suited to the different temperature of these two seasons. Many statues, of as rich a composition as the one just mentioned, the number of which seems to have been considerable in ancient Greece, must without doubt more than once have found themselves in a similar predicament. Such would have been, as Thucydides himself has remarked, the fate of the famous Minerva of the Parthenon, a colossus of gold and ivory, if the necessities of war should have compelled the use of the gold with which the drapery of this statue was composed; and without doubt, it would be natural and legitimate, that this people, who in their prosperity employed their treasures in ornamenting the gods, should have recourse to the same gods to assist them in unforeseen necessities; for thus the sanctuary became in such an emergency subsidiary to the public treasure, and religion was made auxiliary to the exchequer. At other times it was in order to supply the deficiency caused by the rudeness of the material or the imperfection of the statue, that use was made of this expedient; as we understand, among other examples, from that statue of Lucina, the work of Demophoon, the head and extremities of which were of pentelic marble, while the body, in wood, was covered with a slight drapery. Such were the statues of Bacchus, of Ceres, of Proserpine, which Pausanias saw in a Nymphæum between Sicyon and Phliontum, statues the head of which alone was visible, and the rest was SO concealed under a mass of drapery, that the inquisitive traveller could not discover of what material it was made. Economy, as well as opulence, found there an equal advantage in this practice, which exhibited religion in all its pomp, or in all its primitive simplicity-two states, which produce, however different in themselves, almost the same effect on the
imagination and on the senses. Rich, it imposed by that lofty splendour with which it was invested; poor, it excited interest by that august poverty, the stamp of which it bore; and always associated with the condition of the people, and with the destiny of the state, in its magnificence or in its modesty, religion was but dearer to the citizens for whom it had ever ready, in case of need, a resource or a useful lesson. If we now wish to appreciate, in regard to art, the influence of that practice, we shall see that it must have contributed more than any other cause to that taste for polychromatic sculpture which produced the most beautiful works of Greek art, and that, by a necessary reaction, the taste for that kind of sculpture continued to maintain more and more the use of that practice. As those idols, originally draped like lay-figures, had produced by degrees statues composed of connected parts, of moveable drapery, and in some cases, of real dresses; in like manner the custom of statues thus conceived extended and made general the use of this drapery, as a means of hiding the parts which were wanting, or of concealing defects which were too striking. From these practices, which thus acted unceasingly one on the other, resulted almost entirely the genius of the arts of antiquity, which has been completely revealed to us only at a period too near our own; but the knowledge of this art, at first deemed paradoxical, has, as yet, been received very imperfectly by us, and still finds some differences of taste and of opinion to encounter which will oblige me to pause for a few moments on this new and important point in the history of art.
Taste is, more than one thinks, the slave of certain conventional practices, of certain blind customs which are introduced no one knows how, which are perpetuated no one knows why. For example, the predilection which the moderns have for sculpture in marble, the repugnance not only for the mixture of several materials, but for every other material but marble; this predilection, which has stamped among us that branch of art with so great a character of uniformity, almost entirely depends on this accidental and casual circumstance, that the only works of ancient art from which modern art has derived its principles, its inspiration, and its models, were works in marble. Hence, from the first, we have been accustomed to look on marble as the material the most adapted to sculpture, and this prepossession in regard to the taste of the ancients