Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Statues and Carvings of Apollo, Ancient and Modern

Greek culture in South Italy
Apollo
ca. 200-100 BC
painted terracotta statuette
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

OF A STATUE OF APOLLO

Eutychides stole Phoebus the detector of thieves, saying, "Speak not too much, but compare thy art with mine and thy oracles with my hands and a prophet with a thief and a god with Eutychides.  And because of thy unbridled tongue thou shalt be sold at once, and then say of me what thou wilt to thy purchasers."

– epigram by Lucilius (1st century AD), from Book 11 of the Greek Anthology, translated by W.R. Paton (1916-18)

Rome
Head of Apollo
ca. 100 BC-AD 50
marble
British Museum

Rome
Apollo
1st century BC-1st century AD
amethyst intaglio
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Rome
Head of Apollo
1st-2nd century AD
marble
British Museum

Rome
Head of Apollo
(formerly known as the Lansdowne Artemis)
1st-2nd century AD
marble
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

     There the sons of the Achaians might have taken gate-towering Ilion
under the hands of Patroklos, who raged with the spear far before them,
had not Phoibos Apollo taken his stand on the strong-built
tower, with thoughts of death for him, but help for the Trojans. 
Three times Patroklos tried to mount the angle of the towering
wall, and three times Phoibos Apollo battered him backward
with the immortal hands beating back the bright shield.  As Patroklos
for the fourth time, like something more than a man, came at him
he called aloud, and spoke winged words in the voice of danger:
'Give way, illustrious Patroklos: it is not destined
that the city of the proud Trojans shall fall before your spear
nor even at the hand of Achilleus, who is far better than you are.'
   
                                     *                  *                  *

     And Patroklos charged with evil intention in on the Trojans. 
Three times he charged in with the force of the running war god, 
screaming a terrible cry, and three times he cut down nine men;
but as for the fourth time he swept in, like something greater
than human, there, Patroklos, the end of your life was shown forth,
since Phoibos came against you there in the strong encounter
dangerously, nor did Patroklos see him as he moved through
the battle, and shrouded in a deep mist came in against him
and stood behind him, and struck his back and his broad shoulders
with a flat stroke of the hand so that his eyes spun.  Phoibos
Apollo now struck away from his head the helmet
four-horned and hollow-eyed, and under the feet of the horses
it rolled clattering, and the plumes above it were defiled
by blood and dust.    

 from the Iliad of Homer (book 16) translated by Richmond Lattimore (1951)

Rome
Apollo
2nd century AD
marble
British Museum

Rome
Torso of Apollo Lykeios
AD 130-160
marble
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Rome
Apollo
AD 175-200
marble
Prado, Madrid

Rome
Apollo
2nd century AD
marble
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Baccio Bandinelli
Apollo
ca. 1550
marble
Boboli Gardens, Florence

François Duquesnoy
Apollo and Cupid
1630s
bronze
Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna

DESCRIPTION OF A BRONZE STATUE OF APOLLO

There stood Phoebus who speaketh from the tripod.  He had bound up behind his loosely flowing hair.  In the bronze he was naked, because Apollo knoweth how to make naked to them who enquire of him the true decrees of Fate, or because he appeareth to all alike, for King Phoebus is the Sun and his pure brilliancy is seen from afar.

– epigram by Christodorus of Thebes, from Book 2 of the Greek Anthology, translated by W.R. Paton (1916-18).  Book 2 consists of one extended description by Christodorus "of the bronze statues in the celebrated gymnasium called Zeuxippos, erected under Septimius Severus in Byzantium and destroyed by fire shortly after this was written (in 532 A.D.)"

Ferdinando Tacca
Apollo slaying Python
ca. 1640-80
bronze
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Antonio Raggi
Bust of Apollo
before 1686
terracotta
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Antonio Canova
Apollo crowning himself
1781-82
marble
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

PRAYER TO APOLLO

"O King, Far-shooter, curb the force of thy bow with which thou didst lay low the Giant's might. Open not thy wolf-slaying quiver, but aim at these young men the arrow of Love, that strong in the friendship of their youthful peers, they may defend their country; for it sets courage afire, and He is ever of all gods the strongest to exalt the hearts of the foremost in the fight.  But do thou, whom the Shoenians reverence as their ancestral god, accept the gifts Melistion proffers." 

– epigram by Phaedimus (ca. 300 BC), from Book 13 of the Greek Anthology, translated by W.R. Paton (1916-18).  "Melistion was evidently one of the celebrated "holy regiments" of Thebes. It consisted of lovers and beloved."


John Flaxman
Pastoral Apollo
1825
marble
Petworth House, Sussex

Late 19th-century / Early 20th-century Representations

Thomas Eakins
The Concert Singer
1890-92
oil on canvas
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Édouard Vuillard
In Bed
1891
oil on canvas
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Henri Fantin-Latour
Poppies
1891
oil on canvas
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

THE GREAT FIGURE

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
firetruck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

Henri Fantin-Latour
Zinnias
ca. 1897-99
oil on canvas
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Childe Hassam
Washington Arch, Spring
1890
oil on canvas
Phillips Collection, Washington DC

Childe Hassam
Improvisation
1899
oil on canvas
Smithsonian American Art Museum

ON GAY WALLPAPER

The green-blue ground
is ruled with silver lines
to say the sun is shining

And on this moral sea
of grass or dreams lie flowers
or baskets of desires

Heaven knows what they are
between cerulean shapes
laid regularly round

Mat roses and tridentate
leaves of gold
threes, threes and threes

Three roses and three stems
the basket floating
standing in the horns of blue

Repeated to the ceiling
to the windows
where the day

Blows in
the scalloped curtains to
the sound of rain

Edward Burne-Jones
Hope
1896
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Max Klinger
Académie
ca. 1900-1910
drawing on green paper
British Museum

Camille Pissarro
Pont Neuf
1902
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Carl Fredrik Hill
Palace interior with statue of an emperor and tigers
before 1911
drawing
Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden

POEM

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right
forefoot

carefully
then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flowerpot

Juan Gris
White Tablecloth
ca. 1912-16
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Juan Gris
Still-life before an open window, Place Ravignan
1915
oil on canvas
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Juan Gris
Still-life with Newspaper
1916
oil on canvas
Phillips Collection, Washington DC

George Bellows
Tennis at Newport
1919
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

– poems are by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), from Selected Poems, edited by Robert Pinsky

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Epithets of Apollo

Antico
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1520
bronze statuette
Ca' d'Oro, Venice

Marcantonio
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1510-27
engraving
British Museum

Agostino Veneziano after Marcantonio
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1510-27
engraving
British Museum

Antoine Lafréry after Marcantonio
Apollo Belvedere
1552
engraving
British Museum

A HYMN TO APOLLO (CONTAINING HIS EPITHETS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

Let us hymn Paean the great god, Apollo;
Immortal, gloriously formed, unshorn, soft-haired,
Stern-hearted, king, delighting in arrows, giver of life,
Joyous, laughing, slayer of giants, sweet-hearted,
Son of Zeus, slayer of dragons, lover of the laurel,
Sweet of speech, of ample might, far-shooter, giver of hope,
Creator of animals, divine, Jove-minded, giver of zeal,
Mild, sweet-spoken, sweet-hearted, gentle-handed,
Slayer of beasts, blooming, charmer of the spirit, soft-speaking,
Shooter of arrows, desirable, healer, charioteer,
Weaver of the world, Clarian, strong-hearted, father of fruits,
Son of Leto, pleasant, delighting in the lyre, resplendent,
Lord of the mysteries, prophet, magnanimous, thousand-shaped,
Lover of the bow-string, wise, stiller of grief, sober,
Lover of community, common to all, taking thought for all, benefactor of all,
Blessed, making blessed, Olympian, dweller on the hills,
Gentle, all-seeing, sorrowless, giver of wealth,
Saviour from trouble, rose-coloured, man-breaker, path-opener,
Glittering, wise, father of light, saviour,
Delighting in the dance, Titan, initiator, revered,
Chanter of hymns, highest, stately, of the height,
Phoebus, purifier, lover of garlands, cheerer of the spirit,
Utterer of oracles, golden, golden-complexioned, golden-arrowed,
Lover of the lyre, harper, hater of lies, giver of the soul,
Swift-footed, swift-voiced, swift of vision, giver of seasons.
Let us hymn Paean the great god, Apollo.

– Epigram from Book 9 of the Greek Anthology, translated by W.R. Paton (1916-18)

Paton's translation in five small green volumes from the time of the Great War was the first bilingual edition of the Greek Anthology issued by Loeb Classical Library.  After a century, a new edition revised by Michael A. Tueller began to appear in 2014, but has not yet reached beyond the first volume (which also lacks indexes). The facing Greek text in the old Loeb edition shows that Paton as translator regularly re-used the same English word for original Greek words that differ from one another, though synonyms. Actually, I like the tone of Paton's translation  and even like the off-kilter repetitions  but it needs to be mentioned that they are unnecessarily untrue to the Greek. In the original, all epithets in any one poetic line begin with the same letter. Then the single-letter lines proceed line by line from the start to the end of the alphabet.

Hendrik Goltzius
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1592
engraving printed on blue paper
Princeton University Art Museum

Jan de Bisschop
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1663-68
engraving
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Jan Punt for Jacob de Wit
Proportions of the Apollo Belvedere
1747
etching, engraving
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Johann Carl Bock
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1800
stipple-engraving, etching
British Museum

Fratelli Alinari
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1893-1903
photograph
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Anonymous photograph
Apollo Belvedere in stereo
ca. 1890
mounted photographic prints
Victoria & Albert Museum

Carlo Albacini
Head of the Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1750-1800
marble
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Giacomo Zoffoli
Apollo Belvedere
before 1785
bronze statuette
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Stoke-on-Trent Manufactory
Bust of the Apollo Belvedere
1861
Parian porcelain
Victoria & Albert Museum

Benedetto Pistrucci
Head of the Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1820
sardonyx cameo
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Anonymous Italian gemcutter
Apollo Belvedere
18th-19th century
onyx cameo
Victoria & Albert Museum

Visual and moral range of the Nineteenth Century

Adolphe-Gustave Binet
Construction of the Eiffel Tower 
1888
drawing, watercolor
Morgan Library, New York

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Young women of Sparta
ca. 1868-70
oil on canvas
Brooklyn Museum

Gustave Courbet
The Wave
ca. 1870
oil on canvas
National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

Thomas Wilmer Dewing
Hymen
ca. 1884-86
oil on panel
Cincinnati Art Museum

William Holman Hunt
A Porter to the Hogarth Club
1858
drawing
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Max Klinger
Woman in diaphanous garment
ca. 1875-80
drawing
British Museum

Edwin Landseer
Portrait of Mr. Van Amburgh as he appeared with his animals at the London theatres
1846-47
 oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

"It was not worth while trying to impress a man of that sort.  If the world had been full of such men, life would have probably appeared to Jukes an unentertaining and unprofitable business.  He was not alone in his opinion.  The sea itself, as if sharing Mr. Jukes's good-natured forbearance, had never put itself out to startle the silent man, who seldom looked up, and wandered innocently over the waters with the only visible purpose of getting food, raiment, and house-room for three people ashore.  Dirty weather he had known, of course.  He had been made wet, uncomfortable, tired in the usual way, felt at the time and presently forgotten.  So that upon the whole he had been justified in reporting fine weather at home.  But he had never been given a glimpse of immeasurable strength and of immoderate wrath, the wrath that passes exhausted but never appeased – the wrath and fury of the passionate sea.  He knew it existed, as we know that crime and abominations exist; he had heard of it as a peaceable citizen in a town hears of battles, famines, and floods, and yet knows nothing of what these things mean – though, indeed, he may have been mixed up in a street row, have gone without his dinner once, or been soaked to the skin in a shower.  Captain MacWhirr had sailed over the surface of the oceans as some men go skimming over the years of existence to sink gently into a placid grave, ignorant of life to the last, without ever having been made to see all it may contain of perfidy, of violence, and of terror.  There are on sea and land such men thus fortunate – or thus disdained by destiny or by the sea." 

– from Typhoon by Joseph Conrad

Frederic Leighton
Study of a woman's head for the painting 'A noble lady of Venice'
ca. 1865
drawing
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Albert Joseph Moore
Canaries
ca. 1875-80
oil on canvas
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Edward Poynter
Study of two heads
1874
drawing
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Three Spartan boys practising archery
1812
oil on canvas
Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Via Sacra, Rome
1814
oil on canvas
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Interior of the Church of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, Rome
1815
oil on canvas
Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Colosseum, Rome
1815-16
oil on canvas
Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

"The old man warned us in his gentle and inflexible way that it was part of our duty to save for the underwriters as much as we could of the ship's gear.  Accordingly we went to work aft, while she blazed forward to give us plenty of light.  We lugged out a lot of rubbish.  What didn't we save?  An old barometer fixed with an absurd quantity of screws nearly cost me my life: a sudden rush of smoke came upon me, and I just got away in time.  There were various stores, bolts of canvas, coils of rope; the poop looked like a marine bazaar, and the boats were lumbered to the gunwales.  One would have thought the old man wanted to take as much as he could of his first command with him.  He was very, very quiet, but off his balance evidently.  Would you believe it?  He wanted to take a length of old stream-cable and a kedge-anchor with him in the long boat.  We said, "Ay, ay, sir," deferentially, and on the quiet let the things slip overboard.  The heavy medicine-chest went that way, two bags of green coffee, tins of paint – fancy, paint! – a whole lot of things.  Then I was ordered with two hands into the boats to make a stowage and get them ready against the time it would be proper for us to leave the ship."    

– from Youth by Joseph Conrad