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Cursory notes in illustration of the sculptures in the Vatican Museum online

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resembled the roar of the Lion). His image is
therefore found among their most ancient mo-
numents, and the Gi'eeks adopted it almost as
frequently , consecradng it to particular sites.
With the Kgyptians ori^natedUie introduction
of the lion^s figure at die gate of temples and
sepulchres, a usage originating in the idea that
the Lion slept with open eyes. The body of
Alexander the Great was carried to Egypt, we
are informed by Diodorus, in a portative temple,
whose entrance was guarded by two golden
Lions.

150. Hair hung by the tail to the trunk of
a tree, an antique of very fine execution.

154. Panther in flowered alabaster spotted
with nero antico^ so as to imitate the actual
«kin of the Animal



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151. Lamb immolated upon an Altar for the
examination of the Aruspex, in Parian marble.
This is a monument unique in its kind, and of
a truthfulness in imitation that eould not be
surpassed. The shrinking in of the body, afber
the extraction of the entrails and liver (the
latter especially the object of superstitions in-
spection) which hang down the side of the Al-
tar; and the thick wool, exactly of the quality
found in flocks accustomed to spend the night
in the open air; are points especially admired.

153. A sleeping shepherd, supposed to be
Endymion, with a group of goats beside him;
a beautiful little figure, distinguished by the
perfectly natural and graceful disposal of the
limbs, and the expression of repose in the wholes

157. Lustration of a milking Cow: Great
value is attached to this little bassorilievo, which
is believed the only one in existence represent-
ing the rite of lustration as applied to animals.
That they were the subjects of it in ancient
Rome, we know from Ovid (Fasti IV, v. 735)
and Tibullus (L 1,21). Every object in this
representation, says Yisconia, announces a rustic
lustral rite — the temple with its high-walled
court, the fountain shadowed by a sacred tree,
the aspersorittm, probably the bough of an olive
or larnrel , and the shepherd preparing for the
rite , with his offering for the sacrifice — two
geese, the most humble and rustic victims.
The leanness of the animal is supposed to be
not without significance. A Greek poem of
disputed authorship on the virtue of stones> pre*



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scribes the lustration of animals that gave little
milk, with water for the aspersion into which
had been si«inkled the powder of a stone called
galtikHs, mm. its milky color; and this sculpture
is conjectured to have been attached to the
wall of some rural chapel, to remind the shep-
herds of the means proTided by religion for
securing the sound condition of their flocks.

158. Bassorilievo of Cupid in a chariot
flrawn by wild boars, a pretty allegory of the
irrenstibie power of the httle Grod who sported
with the most sayage beasts and bestrod the
Hon-*- whose empire extended over all—- ^mor
omnilms idem, says YirgiL It is supposed that^
not satisfied with having tamed the wild boars,
he is here training them to the races of the
Circus; and the altar, which stands near, adorned
in the style called grotesque, with a candelabra
of perfumes and two ophtstra, naval ornaments,
is one of those dedicated to Neptune and Consus,
ihe latter the tutelary I>eity of equestrian games ;
whose image usei to stand in the Greek Stadia
and the Latin Circus.

164. Stag attacked by dogs , admirably
sculptured. 168. Fish, (»lled erroneously a
Dolphin, in the beautiful marble named serpen^
tino verde, brought from Croce&inLaccdfiemon.

171. Cow^ving suck to its cal^ mpaonaz'
zetto marble. 1 73. Stag assailed by a Mastifl^
a group of much spirit, with inscription below
re&rring to the £able of Actseon.

179. Bacchus armed with his thyrsus, riding
on a goat



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180. The Goat Amalthea, remarkable for
wild and fierce vivacity of character. An in-
fantile hand is attached to the mane, whence it
is supposed — that the figure of the child Jupi-
ter was originaily seated on the animal which
had nursed him.

192. Dolphin assailed by a marine Griffin, in
Oriental alabaster of the rarest description.

194. The Sow of Alba with 12 of her young*.
This animal is sculptured in white marble
(though its species is in this climate almost
invariably black) to represent the Sow whose
appearance to ^neas (jEn. lib. VHI v. 43)
was interpreted as an auffury determining the
site for the erection of me City of Lavinium,
afifcerwards;[that of Alba Longa, so-called from
the color of the sow— -

Litoreis ingens inventa sub ilicibus suis,

Triginta capitum foetum enixa, jacebit;

Alba, solo recumbens, albi circum ubera nati.

Hie .ocus urbis erit (-^neid. VIII, 43).

Yarro narrates that the body of this animal
was yet to be seen, at his time, in the City;
and the Sow of Alba b^g the device of many
Koman coins, both Consular and Imperial,
its honors were hardly less than those paid to
the wolf, which nursed the founders of Rome.

1 95. Lion assaulting a horse ; an admired group.
206. Will Boar, most natural

209. Cow in bigio marble, conjectured to be
a copy from the celebrated bronze of Myron,
mentioned by Pliny as:

Bucula celebratis versUms lattddta;



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four copies of which, in bronze, were placed by
Augustus in the Temple of Apollo Palatine.
2 10. Statue of heroic size with head in stucco,
copied from that of Pompey in the Chiaramonii
Museum, the original subject supposed to have
been Tiberius.

220. Ampelus, the Genius of Bacchus, sport-
ing* with a Hon , an allegory of the powers of
wine in subduiug the strongest.

228. A Triton carrying away a Nymph, be-
lieyed to have served the purpose of ornament to
some fountain. The Tritons, called the Centaur
Fish, followed, like the Centaurs and Fauns, in
the train of Bacchus. Horns were given to
them to imply , that the aquatic Deities shook
the land by the dashing of their waves , and
were partly the cause of earthquakes. A story
is related by Pausanias of a Triton who carried
away one of a band of women, preparing for the
or^es of Bacchus by bathhigin the sea at
night — an outrage punished by the God. The
grace combined with the expression of terror, in
the £gisTe of the Nymph who cries for as-
sistance to two little Cupids, seemingly sporting
at rather than commiserating her woes, is singu-
larly happy, and finely contrasted with the wild
preternatural aspect of the Triton. The reahns
of Ocean in their solitary grandeur , peopled
with fimtastic creatures, edioing to strange
sounds — governed, in the idea of Superstition,
bv Beings awMLy majestic or wildly grotesque-
these associations are raised as we look on the
0iatue before us, and seem '<To hear old Tritou



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blow his wreatihed horn**, in a manner hardly
describable , and riveting the attention like a
gpell. Beneath is a Sareophagos with Baccha-
nalian groups, in one of which appears Hercules
overcome by wine, whilst a little Genius plays
with his lion.

229. Crab larger than life, in a most rare
description of green porphery.

232. The Mmotaur, a singular and valued
antique.

233. Priest milking a cow: We are informed
by Pliny, that the cusWm of making oblations
of milk to the Gods, a memorial of the simpli-
city of primitive times, was retained in Rome
to his day, having been introduced W Romulus.
From tms curious monument is deduced a cir-
cumstance not otherwise recorded — that the
milk for sacrifices could only be drawn from the
udder by aPriest. The cap covering the head an^
chin, called the apexy was peculiar to the higher
sacerdotal ranks , but the short tunic worn also
by the figure here represented , as well as the
youthful aspect^ do not accord with the dignity
otherwise indicated. The execution of this
group, though negligent , is admired , and it is
conjectured to have been the ornament of some
sepulchre, because the Manes of the dead were
supposed to receive oblations of milk with
peculiar pleasure (see the Electra of Sophocles).

234. A group of Goats , beautifully natural,
on a base finely ornamented in relief, i&om the
Villa of Hadrian.

124. Mithriac Sacrifice. This group, said



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to be the largest existing^ and one oi the finest
in execution, on a similar subject, is lefened by
Yisconti to the second century of the Christian
era, because giving less evidence of departure
£ix>m the noble simplidty of the Greek style
than monuments of later date. The Sun-god
Mithras , and not lus Priest , is represented in
the figure in a Persian dress, plunging his
knife into the neck of a bull, this attitude (re«
peated in so many monuments) exactly agree-
ing vrith a description of the God given by
Statins (Theb. 1. v. 709). The symbolic pe-
culiarities in this group , are thus explained in
a Work by Del Torre, Manum. Vet. Antii: the
bull is emblem of the Mo(m and also the ngn of
the zodiac at which the Sun begins to be power-
M; Mithras subduing the bull, represents the
force of the Sun over the lunar influences to
promote the fecundity of earth; the dog who
assails and licks the blood of the victim, is Sinus,
the sign in which the Tigor of the planet is at
its height; the blood drawn by the dagger of
Mithras is the vivifyii^ humor that diffuses
itself over earth; the serpent, which darts for-
ward to lick it, is asymbol of the Sun and the
year, but more especially of the God Sebazins,
or Bacchus Pluvius, the IHety who, in a fan-
tastic theory of cosmogony, represented the
liquid element, or first principle of productive
force in Nature, over which the Moon had pe-
culiar influences. Hie serpent repeatedly in-
1ax)duced in the mysteries of Bacchus , in ap-
pUcation to ibis aspect of the Divkiity fimiiahed



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the image , in itd tortuous mOyement , of the
dashing of waters. The scorpion , the sign in
which the Sun becomes feebler, gnaws the
symbolic bull, as enervating the productive
powers of the Sun and Moon. The mysteries
of the Persian Mithras were among the most
extraordinary in the history of Superstition: the
postulant for initiation had to pass through
80 ordeals, each terrific and more or less pain-
ful. This worship, after passing into Groece^
was imported to Rome by the armies of Pompey ;
and the images of Mithras now extant are ail
&om Italian chisels — no Persian representation
of the Grod having anywhere been preserved.

The two tables cut from single blocks of
ijerde antico, spotted with white, the black
called in Italian morato, and bright green, are
of great value. This description of marble is
from the quarries of Atracene in Thessaly, on
the Peneus. Two large and elegant Tnpods
also adorn this Hall; one with a cup of pao*
nazzetto supported by Hermae in white marble.
The mosaics on the pavement are remarkable:
the larger, in black and white, with arabesques
and an eagle devouring a hair, was found at
Palestrina; that under tibe arch of the entrance,
with the figure of a wol^ in the Marches dP
Anoona. The two colossal masks in the lunettes
of the arches, were taken £rom the Pantheon.
GaUery of Statues (formerly the Belvedere).
We commence our notice of the contents of this
Gallery with that which most immediately ar-
rests the attention, as we enter from the Hall of
Antmab.



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414. Anadne. TLe cares of inyestigation
bestowed on this celebrated statue hj V isconti
were crowned with a result determining the
question of its subject , after nearly three cen-
turies of misapprehension, beyond any doubt
save what a later discovery more than sufficed
tc dispel. Conjecture became certainty when
the small bassorilievo (now in the angle to the
left, numbered 416) had been disinterred in
the domain of the Strozzi family, on which the
samefigure is exactly repeated, with others leave-
ingnoroom for doubt that Ariadne abandoned
by Theseus (whose figure is conspicuous in the
rilievo) is the subject of the work before us. It
had been called "Cleopatra" on no other evi-
dence than the bracelet resembling a serpent,
which encircles the left arm, and the testimony
of Dion that an effigy of the Egyptian Queen,
with the asp fastening on one arm , had been
carried in the triumph of Augustus. Visconti
argues , that the image borne in procession
would, if the size of life , have been of wax; if
small (as is most probable) of gold or silver.
The antique bracelet was so frequently of ser-
pentine form , that opkis (serpent) was in the
the Greek a synonvme for it. The counte-
nance of this statue nas no resemblance to that
of Cleopatra on coins; and the poise of the fi-
gure (particularly the arms) renders it dear
that sleep only, not the lethargy of death, is in-
tended. The idea of Winckelman, that a Naiad
sleeping to the murmur of her fountain may be
the subject, is opposed with convincing argu-



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ments-^the ample drapery, the yell and orna-
mented sandab , still more a certain queenly
dignity of character blent with that of deep
melancholy, are attributes in no way proper,
according to established types, to the Nymph
of a Fountain. «

A critic of much taste , Bell , gives it as his
opinion that this statue is the finest draped, and
the ''Dying Gladiat(»'* the finest in the nude
among all antiques. A mantle, supposed to be
the coverlet of a couch, is thrown over the lower
part of the figure, beautifully disposed, and har-
monised with the rest of the garments, and re-
minding us of the a£Fecting passage in the He-
roides of Ovid where Ariadne addresses Theseus,
and describes herself, after wandering on the
sea-shore and in the wildness of sorrow endea-
voring to detain by her cries the bark, that £ast
recedes from sight, as returning to the deserted
bridal bed , not for repose, but to abandon her
thoughts to the memory of the past and the
anguish of the present, teeling that to her —

Morsque minus poenae, quam moramorti8,habet

The rtioment of sleep is that in which ancient
Artists generally represented Ariadne — thus a
picture of her mentioned by Pausanias, seen by
himself at Athens; and a fresco found at Hercu-
laneum, were peculiarised; thus she is described
by Catullus in the Epistle on the marriage of
Peleus and Thetis:

— triste devinctam lununa somno;



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^' The statelineBS of attire (says Yisoonti) ap-
pears becoming to the daughter of a King of
Crete; the majestic beauty of form , to a He-
roine afterwards deified; the sadness to one who
had loved and been betrayed; whilst the disorder
oi dress calls to mind the protracted frenzies of
despair, after which a heavy sleep has finally
overtaken the sufferer". In the restlessness of
unquiet slumber, which, like a transparent veil,
has only sofi;ened, not concealed what passes
within^- one of the clasps attaching the Spartan
tunic to the shoulder has been sundered , and
the bosom is half bared—

On the parted lips there's a quivering thrill,
As on a lyre ere its chords be still,
On the long silk lashes that £ringe the eye.
There's a large tear gathering heavily;
A rain from the clouds of the Spirit presto-
Sorrowful dreamer! this is not rest.

The plastic seems perfectly to accord with
thepoelic treatment of the subject. This image
o£ the deserted Bride, here sinking beneath the
weight of sorrow , and left desolate by the in-
gratitude of a mortal , who was yet worthy the
love of an Immortal, and exalted to participate
in his Divinity (for in the Greek fieible Anadne,
after being found by Bacchus in the island of
Naxos, received from him a crown of Stars
afterwards translated among ike heavenly host,
and was herself deified — '^ Theseo crimine facta
Dea est" ) — this image cannot be contemplated
without feeling the story embodied before us in



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all the pathos with which it ia treated by ancient
Poets. It is perhaps the most affectinff ex-
pression of the idea of sorrow in its utter hope-
lessness, under a Faith that did not and could
not invest it with the character of an ordeal to
purify or strengthen, which the medium of Art
has transmitted.

On each side the Ariadne are the much ad-
nured Candelabra found in the Villa of Hadrian
at Tivoli by Cardinal Barberini , and supposed
to have been intended for some vast Temple.
The rehgious images on the basements remind
us that, in antiqueusage, the altar was fre-
quently connected with the candelabra , one of
which latter is described by Homer in the
Palace of Alcinous, as formed of the golden
statue of a youth carrying torches, and mounted
on an altar. The Greeks were accustomed to
elevate light, both to diffuse it more generally
and ^ve occasion for the graceftil forms we yet
admire in these implements. Lamps are said
to have been invented by the Egyptians; and
the candelabra ordered for the sacred furniture
of the Tabernacle by Moses, authorises the sup-
position that the Israelites must have been
already £aimi]iar with the object they were de-
sired to imitate. The bassorilievi on these
Candelabra are of the most admirable work-
manship; they are imitated from the style of
the famous artists in bronze , Miron and Poly-
cletus. The figures in that numbered 412, are
Jupiter, Juno and Mercury; in 413 , Minerva
armed, with a serpent coiled round her person



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and feeding firom a patera in her haad. (Phidias
gave thisattribttte to MiD^rra, to implj, acooid-
mg to Plutarch, that yirgins have need of per-
petual guardianfifaips but the swpent has been
eonsidered; symbol of the Goddess, as SakOart
or Medica; whilst Yisconti interprets its intro-
duction in this rilievo as referring to the
serpent which Herodotus teils us guarded the
citadel of Athens, and was vulgarly believed to
dwell invisibily in the ten^le of Minerva PoUas).
Mars and Hope, the latter with the attributes
also of Minerva , are the other figures on the
base of the second Candelabra. Turning firom
the Ariadne towards the other extremity of the
hall, the numbers on the left run as follows:

411. Cinerary urn supported on a plinth
with bassorilievo, in style tending to the Etruscan,
nnpresenting two priests playing the double
twia; and a cTppus below with the figures of a
married pair at a banquet.

410. Flora, a statue of exquisite beauty. The
upraised &ce has a character of ins[nration
combined with perfect sweetness; the drapeiv
is simple and majestic, and perticalar skill is
shewn in the defining of one arm and hand
undemeaih the folds which completely envelope
them.

409. Faunus drinking out of a horn and
covered with the nehrisy worn by Bacchanals
in their ceremonies.

408. Poppea, represented as Hygeia.

Her superior charms aod accomplishments
proved &tal to this oelebrated Roman Matron,

6



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tvlio was m^aiwfiilly taken from iier Snt has^
band by the £Em»ile cf Neio^ Oiho^ and frotn
the latter by the Empefor himad^ who vepu-
diated boa wile, OctaTia, to many her. ^he afber*
waalda fell victim 'to the bmtahty of Neroiy hut
reoeiyed,from his tvaadeut temonej ihe yaiD
honors of a magnificenl fimeral, aiid Statocs
raised to her memory. The ointment called
pappoeanumj invented hy her, was finmed
fromthe milk, of Asse% in wbidi she used daily
to bath for the conservation of her beauty;
and 500 of these animak ate said ta have been
kept f<Mr her use.

407. Perseus, said to be the only Statue na
full i«lief of tJits, thefiistintheamialBofh^xMe
histozy, and ad<»ed in particular localities as a
Deity. The head does not belongs to the figure^
and thoi]^ of admired execution, is deficient
in tlie Tenement that distmgvrahes the rest.
The Mercurial wings at the temples and tiie
sword called the harpe (of whidh the hilt only
renudns), ialso the manner in which ihe 3eft arm
18 wrapped in a mantle (peculiar to images of
warriors and hunteia) sufficed for affixing the
name tothk Statue.

406. Faunus, believed to be a copy from the
work of Praxiteles called by the Greeks, on
JM^eount of its surpassuig beauty, the Benawned.
A tale is related by Paiisanias provinff the Ar-
tist's estimation of this his work: Phryiie, bis
beloved, had beoi promised as a gift whi^^ver
of his Statues most pleased her — she wtabed
that the Artist himself should guide her lAoic^



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and on laa nfamig to do so^ concerted -with a
servant to raise the alann that hk house was
on fire. IVaxiteles declared he shonld be ruined,
unless his Gupid and Satyr (or Faun) could be
saved. -^ Hie general outline of this Statue is
the perfection of the graceful, and the character
of the rustic Deity is preserved in a certain wild*-
ness of aspect, together with an ideal of classic
beauty at once r^uied and noble. The suppo-
sition that Fannus listens, as it were, in memory
to the music of the flute he has just been playing,
seemB perfectly to agree ifith the expression, so
felicttously conveyed, of pensive pleasure, not
directed to a specific object, but absorbing the
Soul, like an Elynan dream, in vague, yet ex-
quisitely delicious emotion.

405. A daughter of Dianaus is supposed to
be represented in this Statue, undergoing the
paniciunent of perpetually filling a vessd that
leaks, in tbe Infernal rej^ns* Statues of the
,60 Bonaides in bronze (probably brought by
Augustus from Greece) were placed in tiie
Portico of the Temple of ApoUo Palatinus,
(see the £legies of Ftopevtius) and regaided
as the shrines of aa Oradk It is supposed that
^ Forum of Pneneste, in the rmns of which
tins Statue was feund, may have been adofned
■with copies of tbe Danaides at Rome. The arms
are zestored, and their action of carrying a vase,
was only inferred from Uie poise of the figure.
In the eyes a peculiarity is ofaeervable periiaps
unique — the half-dosmg of the Eds as a resiut
of long and violent weepng; hence anoAer sug-



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gestion that the subject may be one ^ the
Dryads, who with the Fauns and Satyrs wept
so profiiselj for the death of Marsyas (the mu«
sical rival of Apollo flayed alire for his temerity)
that the Phrygian river, called af);er him, sprung
from thmr tears. The statue of Marsyas used to
be placed in the forums of Roman colonies, as
symbolic of municipal privileges.

404. Sepulchral flgiue of a female on a con-
vivial couch, with a crown in one hand, and a
sparrow in the other.

403. Piiestess of Cybele, bassorilievo. In
this curious monument of the worship of the
Mother of Grods (the M. L stands for Magnse
Idse, the mountain sacred to her) the High
Priestess is overcaDopied by the concave of a shelly
to represent the niche, or edicola^ in which the
images of the Gods used to stand. She wears
the sacred fillet (though the modem restorer
has nearly obliterated its traces, substituting
braids of hair), and pours an offering &om apaten
on a small altar with the figure of an eaffle«
with the other hand holding a g^land of
oak, in relation to the worship of Jupiter. Hie
image suspended like a medallion from her
neck, is supposed to he that of Jupiter, worship-
ped under the name of Idean on both Mounts
Ida, in Phrygia and Crete. No other monument
bears, like the present, with the name of the
Priestess , Laberia Felida , the title affixed of
Sacerdos Maxinui.

102. Seneca: the head of this statue, though
not belonging to the figure , is considered by



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Visoontl to he tmqaestioDabl j mtended for the
same ori^aL

The correspondence of all his portraits mth
the recorded personalities of this Philosopher,
is remarkable — we recognise (it is observed)
the asthmatic extenuated old man, negligent of
his hair, for which he nerernsed ointment, un-
polished in consequence of the rustic sojourn
and laborious occupations of his banishment,
and habitually changeable in temper.

401. Group belieyed to represent Hemon ,
the lover of Antigone , who was put to death
l:y his fiither, Creon, for her pieW in interring
the body of her brother — supportmg the lifeless
girl, and on the point ci kilHng himself in des-
pair — the story which Sophocks and Euripides
have each dramatised in a tragic Trilogy. Ca*
nova, howeyer, beliered that tins fragment
belonged to another in Florence representing
the cMldren of Kiobe. The ^ace of the dead
female is affectingly beautiful, but has the ap-
pearance of a swoon rather than death. Beneath
is a bassoriiievo of difficult explanation , with
the figtores ci two Deities supposed to be Borne
and fVntune, and an inscription which conveys
no recognisable meaning.

400. Euterpe with the tilna.


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