Review of O. Palagia (ed.), Handbook of Greek Sculpture (Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, 1, ed. By F. de Angelis and C. Marconi), Berlin 2019, pp. 789.
This book aims at giving a comprehensive survey of Greek sculpture. Yet, its 23 chapters leave crucial fields of this scholarly realm unconsidered. In particular, Greek sculpture in Asia Minor is nearly completely forgotten, although Ionia exercised a crucial role in this art both in the archaic and in the late classical periods. It is also to be lamented that Polycleitus does not receive a specific consideration, although he was perhaps the most influential Greek master in later periods: the Polycleitan chiasmus is adopted continuously until the early Renaissance and this Argive master is the only ancient Greek artist who is continuously praised in the western middle age (by Averroe, St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas of Aquinum, in the Chronicle of St. Catherine at Pisa, by Dante Alighieri, etc.). Equally, wordly known masterpieces are forgotten: I mention just the Dancing Satyr from Mazara and the Derveni krater.
After chapter 1 – an introduction -, chapter 2 (pp. 7-21) focuses the testimonia of Roman imperial times about Greek sculpture. The competence of the author of this chapter is far from desirable and I noticed mistakes which would be serious even if made by a pupil of the first year of University studies. For example (p. 8), Phidias’ Athena brought to Rome is located in a temple of Fortuna on Palatine hill (?!?). On the contrary, the temple in which this statue was set up was that of Fortuna huiusce diei in the Porticus Minucia Vetus in the southern part of Campus Martius, definitely not on Palatine hill. The lack of knowledge on the part of the author in the field is clear in his statement (p. 110) that “at the time of Pliny there were thousands of Greek statues in Greece awaiting transfer to the news metropolis” (?!?): he ignores that after Nero, Greek works of art have not been brought from the Greek world to Rome again. A further mistake is the author’s opinion that the ‘cessavit ars’ of Pliny concerns the whole realm of sculpture (pp. 12-13): however the art which, according to Pliny, stopped to exist is bronze sculpture (ars statuaria), marble sculpture is not affected by this supposed decadence. At p. 13, the references to marble sculpture are wrongly given to the 34th book of Pliny’s Natural History and not to the 36th book. At p. 17, the author attributes the claim that Phidias “first went up to heaven and made copies of the forms of the gods and then represented them by art” to Cicero, De or. 2. 9, but this statement is not found in that passage. At p. 18, the author believes that the writer Callistratus never saw the statues he describes: he overlooks my analytical demonstration that this neo-sophist probably saw these statues with his own eyes (A. Corso, Prassitele. Fonti epigrafiche e letterarie 2, Rome 1990, pp. 95-139). The author overlooks the fact that, beside a classicistic current, in Roman imperial times there was also an anticlassical one, which regarded contemporary monuments superior to the classical ones. In the bibliography, the excellent Italian contributions to the field, by Celani, Bravi, Settis etc., are ignored.
Chapter 3 (pp. 22-49) focuses inscriptions and signatures by sculptors. The first of the two authors of this chapter focuses archaic signatures. He believes (p. 23) that many signatures (“a vast majority”) of sculptures are recorded by Pliny but this is not true. About Hageladas (p. 28) he claims that literary sources attribute to him “works dating over an uncomfortably large span for a single individual”: however he does not consider that statues of victors in athletic contests may have been made several decades after their victories. At p. 29, he questions whether Antenor’s Tyrant-slayers were bronze or marble, but he overlooks Pliny 34. 17: the group was bronze.
The second author of this chapter (pp. 36-37) wrongly believes that we have only 4 signatures of Praxiteles. That is not correct: she overlooks Praxiteles’ signatures on the bases of a statue of Apollo in the agora of Olbia Pontica (A. Corso, The Art of Praxiteles 4, Rome (2013) 124-126) as well as of the statue of Charidemus at Delphi (ibidem 5 (2014) 55-56), not to mention the controversial signature on the base of the Dancers’ column at Delphi. In the bibliography, basic tools are ignored, as Moreno’s publication of the signatures of Lysippus.
Chapter 4 focuses the social status of sculptors (pp. 50-88). This is one of the best chapters, because the author reveals an admirable command of the evidence: thanks to a deep examination of the whole evidence he proves the economic decline of sculptors from the classical to the Hellenistic period, which accompanies a decline in the quality of their production.
Chapter 5 focuses architectural sculptures (pp. 91-122). The scientific quality of this chapter is rather low. At p. 103, the author accepts the thesis that Zeus was standing in the middle of the east pediment of the Parthenon. On the contrary, the ancient mythological tradition, the comparanda in vase painting and the Madrid well-head suggest that Zeus was enthroned in this pediment (see especially D. Williams, The east Pediment of the Parthenon, London 2013). Surprisingly, the author never mentions the pedimental sculpture of the Skopas’ temple at Athena Alea at Tegea. At p. 104, he lends credit to an interpretation of the pediment of the hieron on Samothrace which is very speculative. Moreover, it is strange that, while considering the Parthenon’s frieze, he does not acknowledge in note 41, J. B. Connelly, The Parthenon enigma, New York 2014. At p. 109, the author misunderstands the meaning of Caryatids, which, according to Vitruvius 1. 1. 5-6, are statues of married ladies which support the entablature inside the Doric order. On the contrary, the author wrongly interprets the Korai supporting the entablature in the Ionic order as Caryatids. However, the last pages (pp. 115-117) of this chapter, about architecture sculpture in ancient social life, are deep and penetrating.
Chapter 6 concerns funerary sculpture and particularly the female presence in this realm (pp. 123-159). This study is serious and rigorous. A shortcoming is constituted by the fact that the author does not explore the problem of the masters of these stelai.
Chapter 7 (pp. 163-193) focuses portraits of the classical and Hellenistic period. The author asserts that ‘women only begin to receive portrait statues on a regular basis from about the middle of the fourth century’ (p. 166), thus she seems to forget, just to cite few examples, the female statues of the Geneleos group on Samos, Phrasikleia and especially the statue of Lysimache, still of the early 4th c. BC. At p. 168, she defines ‘the portraits of Harmodios and Aristogeiton, the quintessential heroes of the Athenian democracy’ (!?!). Thus she seems unaware that the sitters of these two portraits were aristocrats, as most nobles in ancient Greece they could not stand tyrants and moreover were hostile to the Pisistratids for private reasons, they were not fighters for democracy. At p. 171, she claims that “the statues of Konon and Euagoras (…) were the first portrait statues of living honorands to be set up by the city” (scil.: Athens). Then what about the Marathon group at Delphi which certainly included Miltiades and was a public offering? Moreover it is at least possible that the portrait of Anacreon on the Acropolis had been a public dedication. In her survey of statues of philosophers (pp. 175-178), the author surprisingly “forgets” Lysippus’ statue of Socrates. In the realm of portraits of poets (pp. 178-181) the author overlooks the forefront role played by Paros with the portrait of Archilochus which, if it is recognized in the Louvre type of walking poet, would be still severe style. The bibliography (pp. 190-193) is “colonial”, without publications in Greek or Italian.
Chapter 8 (pp. 194-224) focuses Ptolemaic portraits. At p. 196, the author suggests that Pausanias ‘was mistaken’ in regarding Leochares’ statues in the Philippeion at Olympia chryselephantine and that they may have been gilded marble. In fact, the bases usually attributed to these statues, but not found in situ suggest only that the feet may have been marble, while the upper part must have been chryselephantine according to Pausanias 5. 20. 9-10. At p. 198, he places the Farnese cup in the late 3rd c. BC with convincing reasons. It is very strange that the heritage of the portraiture of Alexander in Egypt is never mentioned. The issue of the artists who made portraits is also ignored. In the bibliography, it is striking that the important publications by Gkikaki, Ghisellini and Moreno are not cited.
Chapter 9 (pp. 225-258) concerns the portraits of Herodes Atticus and his friends. This exposition is very dry and Herodes’ predilections for specific myths and opera nobilia are not considered. The pensive sadness of these portraits is also not explored and understood in the context of the cultural life of his neo-sophistic circle.
Chapter 10 (pp. 261-295) concerns archaic sculpture. At p. 262, the author attributes the thesis that the so-called Kleobis and Biton are Dioskouroi to Ridgway, but the paternity of this interpretation should be given to Vatin (see BCH 106 (1982), pp. 509-525). This essay gives an entirely prehistoric presentation of the matter, without reference to the historical/political background of the artistic production and to the sculptors who made these products. The presentation of the korai from the Acropolis of Athens is very partial: the author privileges too much their interpretation as goddesses, while the presence of individual features in their faces, noticed especially by Stieber and Karakasi, suggests they were maids of the goddess. At p. 287, the author defines the metopes of the treasure of the Athenians at Delphi “the primary example of late Archaic metopes from the Greek mainland”: what about the metopes of the previous monopteros of the Sicyonians? In the bibliography, a salient omission is Barlou’s book on archaic Parian sculpture.
Chapter 11 (pp. 296-327) concerns early classical sculpture. At p. 297, note 7, it is surprising that Tanner is not cited among the main scholars on ancient art criticism. In the same page, his interpretation of “andropoiika” as “statues” is too generic: the andriantopoiia is the making of statues of human subjects, especially in bronze. At p. 299, note 21, the author confuses Hegesias with Hegias, who are now regarded two different sculptors (see their entries in DNO) who lived in different periods (Hegesias being earlier than Hegias). In the same page in note 25, it is surprising that the author does not cite the seminal works of Delivorrias about Alcamenes. At p. 300, note 28, the author still insists in regarding Hegesias and Hegias the same person, ignoring the most recent bibliography about it. For the epigraphic testimonia from the Acropolis of Athens, the author cites only Raubitschek of 1949, while he should cite more recent corpora (especially the third edition of IG I). At pp. 301-307, the chronology given to the considered sculptures is too high. The author is careless even in his descriptions. For example, at p. 303, he asserts that “Kouros 692 from the Acropolis of Athens” has “both arms (…) at quite a distance from the torso”: however the left arm of this statue does not survive. At p. 307, note 50, the author does not cite the seminal works by Castrizio about the Riace bronzes. At p. 308, he still regards Pythagoras of Samos and of Rhegium the same person, although Pliny 34. 60 and Diogenes Laertius 8. 47 clarify that they were two different sculptors. In note 62, the author should cite the book by Jenkins about Myron’s discus-thrower. At p. 314, it is strange that he does not cite the book by Williams for the east pediment of the Parthenon. Overall, in this chapter only sculptures which are studied by under-graduated students are considered. The author’s analysis of ancient writers fails to acknowledge the changes in the ancient art history throughout many centuries: from Posidippus to Quintilian, the peak of ancient sculpture was placed in the age of Alexander, in the neo-sophistic period, Polygnotus and Phidias become better than Apelles and Lysippus. Moreover the author does not convey the notion of the different styles which differentiate Athens from the Peloponnese and thus places Polycleitus, Phidias and his pupils along a unitary stylistic development: this is an error which would be unforgivable even in a written exam of an under-graduated pupil.
Chapter 12 (pp. 328-359) focuses Phidias’ chryselephantine statues of Athena Parthenos and of Zeus at Olympia. The author (p. 328) confines the Periklean building program to the Acropolis, but this is an error: this program included also the Telesterion of Eleusis and the Long Walls (Plutarch, Pericles 13). At p. 330, she claims that “there is little doubt that it (scil.: Phidias’ Athena Parthenos) was a cult statue”. However the Parthenon had no altar in front of it, the altar of Athena was in front of the “old temple”, that of Athena Polias, thus Phidias’ statue was a dedication, not a cult statue. At pp. 329-332, the author reports about the architectural context of the Parthenos and it is surprising that she does not cite Manolis Korres, who is the greatest expert of the Acropolis in the world. At p. 334, she defines the cella of the Parthenos “semi-darkened”: clearly she forgets that thanks to Korres we now know that there were two large windows on the eastern wall of the cella. The author defines the Nashville’s supposed copy of the Parthenos “a superb example of experimental archaeology”. On the contrary, I regard the Nashville statue unfaithful to the original statue because the column which supported the right arm of the goddess is not reproduced. At pp. 335-336, she claims that the column below the goddess’ right arm was a later addition. I disagree: the column’s capital is close to the first experiments of Corinthian capitals, as Schweitzer already understood, thus it must hark back to the late 5th c. BC, because it is hardly possible that an early Corinthian capital was re-invented in later periods. Still at 336, she claims that “Neo-Attic reliefs of the mid-second century A.D.” copying the Amazonomachy on the shield of the Parthenos and kept in the Museum of the Piraeus, had been created “as house decoration”. This is unlikely, because the Amazons were very important in the pro-Trojan Roman ideology, thus it is more likely that these slabs were made for public buildings serving Roman propaganda. At p. 337, she also claims that these reliefs “were recovered from a shipwreck en route to Rome”, but this statement is groundless. This boat could have been directed to Brindisi or Ancona or Aquileia and to many other places. At p. 334, the author suggests that Pandora’s relief on the base of the Parthenos was also chryselephantine, but this is contradicted by Pliny 36. 18, who considers this frieze in the section devoted to marble sculpture. The idea (p. 344) that the Parthenos was destroyed and that a copy stood in the Parthenon in Roman times is contradicted by the many writers of this period who regard the Parthenos of their days the true statue of Phidias. Her claim (p. 345) that the Parthenon and the Parthenos were destroyed or damaged by the Herulians in AD 267 is a very ugly error: the Herulians never reached the upper terrace of the Acropolis. At p. 347, she claims that the Zeus of Olympia was brought to Constantinople “in the late fourth or early fifth century AD”, but Cedrenus 322 c informs about the presence of this statue at Constantinople in the context of his description of this city during the empire of Theodosius I. Thus the statue arrived to Constantinople before 395. At pp. 350-351, the writer claims that the statues in the Philippeion were not chryselephantine, as asserted by Pausanias 5. 20. 10, but marble, however only their feet may have been marble, the upper parts of these statues were chryselephantine according to Pausanias. This easy way to write continuously that ancient writers are wrong should be condemned. Among the derivations from Phidias’ Zeus (pp. 351-352) she does not cite Zeus’ head from Cyrene, which conveys something of the beauty of the lost original. At p. 352, the author claims that two Sphinx-groups from Ephesos, usually thought to imitate the Sphinxes of the Zeus of Olympia, are Roman creations, but this claim is based on the wrong notion that the expression of emotions did not exist in the late 5th c. BC. At p. 353, her claim that “the Niobid frieze was the only part of the Zeus copied in antiquity” is another ugly error: the head of Zeus from Cyrene must be regarded a very high quality copy of the head of this Zeus. In her presentation of the Niobids’ frieze, she fails to provide the information that it depended on the version of this myth given by Sophocles. At p. 356, she claims that “Zeus was represented as the god presiding over the Olympic games”: this is another error. As especially Dio Chrysostomus specifies in his “Olympic Speek”, the Zeus of Olympia represented the Homeric Zeus. At p. 357, she wonders “whether the Athenians had partly sponsored the Zeus project”. Her very poor knowledge of written testimonia is here exposed: Cedrenus 322 c states very clearly that the Zeus of Olympia was a dedication of Pericles’ Athens. I wrote that Cedrenus information is reliable in Prassitele. Fonti epigrafiche e letterarie 3, Rome (1992) 131-132. The bibliography (pp. 357-359) does not include the seminal works by Schweitzer and Korres.
Chapter 13 (pp. 360-394) focuses late classical masters. At p. 360 the author includes me among the archaeologists “who detect echoes of original works by great sculptors in the fourth century BC behind practically all the idealizing Roman statues that reflect the style of that century, whether known from the literary tradition or not”. This is not correct. In my volumes on Praxiteles I considered only works attributed to him by written testimonia and moreover I gave emphasis also on the transformation of his heritage throughout the times. At p. 367, she claims that “the Apollo Belvedere is the only copy of a hypothetical lost classical prototype”: this is not correct. Beside a head in Basle, mentioned by the author, the Lansdowne statue at Stockholm and a head from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus are very closely related to the Belvedere creation. In the same page, she claims that the sandal of the Belvedere god is a “later motif”; she does not realize that H. Froning, in Potnia Theron, Vienna (2007) 95-101, demonstrated that this type of sandals did exist in late classical times. At p. 369, the author claims that “it is now recognized (…) that the portrait statues of the Philippeion were of stone”: this is hardly true, because Pausanias testifies that they were chryselephantine. Thus it is better to accept Despinis’ explanation that only the feet were marble. At p. 370, she down-dates the head of Alexander from he Acropolis, usually dated in the late 4th c. BC, to the 1st c. BC on very subjective reasons. At p. 372, she down-dates even the large bronze Artemis from the Piraeus to the 3rd c. BC, I cannot understand why. It is strange that in the consideration of Euphranor, the author forgets the masterpiece of this sculptor: the famous Paris. At p. 374, she claims that works attributed by ancient authors to the late classical Scopas have been made in fact by a Scopas of the 1st c. BC. This thesis has been rejected by Stewart and Calcani and it is unlikely that ancient experts such as Pliny or Pausanias wrongly attributed works of the 1st c. BC to an artist who lived 3 centuries earlier. When the originals by the great masters still survive, you do not make such mistakes. For example, now nobody would attribute a work by Caravaggio to Giotto (this time gap is also of 3 centuries) because we still have most originals of the great masters of these periods. Thus her opinion is not convincing. At p. 375, the author claims that the Athena and Hygieia from the temple of Athena Alea at Tegea were of a Scopas of the 1st c. BC. However, Pausanias 8. 47. 1 attributed this group to the 4th c. BC Scopas and it is unlikely that he made such a mistake. Her claim that “these were formerly regarded as works of the classical Skopas” is not correct: they are still regarded works of the classical Scopas, as the book by Calcani confirms. Still at p. 375, she takes away from Scopas the sculptures from the temple of Athena Alea at Tegea: this is just insame because if a sculptor is the architect of a temple endowed with a lot of sculpture, it is obvious that he conceived even the latter. At p. 378, she attributes even Scopas’ Apollo Palatinus to the 1st c. BC: I have already stressed above that this opinion is untenable. In note 64, she does not report the names of the scholars – Carrettoni, Tomei, Geominy, Calcani – who supported the attribution of this statue to the 4th c. Scopas. The author “forgets” the recognized masterpiece of Scopas; the Maenad. That is very strange indeed. About Praxiteles (pp. 378-386), the author gives to the Athenian sculptor the Cnidian Aphrodite, the Hermes of Olympia, the Apollo Sauroctonus while the bases from Mantinea and at Athens, National Museum, no. 1463 would echo his style. The author declares that the Cnidia is known thanks to 200 examples, she is unaware that in my study of 2007 (A. Corso, The Art of Praxiteles 2, Rome 2007) I listed more than 300 derivations from this masterpiece. In note 68 she ignores my contributions about this statue. This damnatio memoriae of my publications is found also in her considerations of the Hermes of Olympia (note 69) and of the Sauroctonus (note 71). Her statement (p. 381) that the Cleveland Sauroctonus is a “Roman variant” shouts revenge to God: this statue is too high quality to be a Roman derivation. She claims (p. 381) that “the question of Praxiteles’ statues of Eros in the copyist tradition is now regarded as a lost cause”: this is hardly true. The Centocelle and Cos types of Eros derive from Praxiteles’ Erotes respectively at Thespiae and at Parion: I demonstrated it in my 1st and 4th books on the art of Praxiteles. She accepts the attribution of the Resting Satyr to Praxiteles (p. 381, note 74), but again she does not cite my demonstration of the Praxitelean pedigree of this creation in my 3rd book on the art of Praxiteles. She accepts the derivation of the Arles type of Aphrodite from Praxiteles’ Aphrodite at Thespiae, the Praxitelean pedigrees of the Pouring Satyr and of the Artemis of Dresden, never citing my contributions which give the most updated lists of copies. She also accepts the attribution of the Uffizi type of Kore to Praxiteles and regards the Vescovali/Arezzo type of Athena generically Praxitelean. However in note 85 she attributes to Altripp the thesis that the Arezzo Athena is Hellenistic, while this German scholar asserted that she is Augustan. Regarding Lysippus, she wrongly asserts that the Silenus carrying the infant Dionysus is “not mentioned in the literature” (p. 387), thus exposing her poor knowledge of ancient testimonia: this statue is mentioned by Pliny 34. 64, see Plinio 5, Turin (1988), my comment ad locum.
Chapter 14 focuses Hellenistic sculpture (pp. 395-426). At p. 407, the author dates the Girl from Antium to the second half of the 3rd c. BC: she appears unaware that the statue is often identified as the marble equivalent of the Epithyusa by Phanis, a pupil of Lysippus (Pliny 34. 80). In this case, the consultation of the seminal publication of this statue by G.A. Cellini (in Studi Urbinati 56. 3 (1983) 11-44) would have helped. At pp. 408-410, she rightly dates the Nike of Samothrace before the Pergamon Altar and stresses the different style of the Nike from the Pergamene Gigantomachy. At p. 416, she regards the elongated legs and short upper parts of the body late Hellenistic features. I disagree: this canon occurs already in the Dancing Girls of Delphi and in the Comedy on Thasos and is close to the proportions given to the human body by Lysippus, thus it is still late classical. At pp. 418-419, note 77, she rejects Stewart’s high date of the small Pergamene offerings to around 200 BC, preferring a late Hellenistic chronology, but Stewart’s date is nailed on a very strong historical ground and in my opinion is conclusive. At p. 472, note 101, she claims that Pliny 34. 52 asserted that “art ceased” at 296-293 BC, and she does not realize that Pliny’s statement concerns only bronze sculpture. The bibliography (pp. 423-426) completely forgets Italian contributions.
Chapter 15 focuses Greek sculpture in Sicily (pp. 429-472). The author claims (p. 429) that there has been a “marginalization” of Sicily “by modern scholarship on Greek sculpture”: with this statement, the author devaluates the very important contribution of the schools of Palermo and Catania to the study of Greek sculpture in Sicily. From the time of Libertini onwards, these publications have not been marginal at all! He believes that the Motya youth has been made by a Parian sculptor, but the trembling folds of the drapery of the youth are never found on Paros. On the contrary, they are found in the Ludovisi throne and in the pinakes from Locri: in my opinion, the sculptor of the Motya youth pertains to this school. A salient omission is the absence of any reference on Pythagoras’ influence on sculpture of eastern Sicily, which has been recognized especially in the bronze statuette from Adrano. I would have expected that the author mentions also the torso Valentini, which is widely regarded a good copy of the wounded Phyloktetes set up in Syracuse. In the bibliography, the absence of any reference to the important studies of Rizza and Palermo is just a shame on the part of the author.
Chapter 16 concerns the sculptures of Melos (pp. 473-502). At p. 474, the author asserts that the Nani column from Melos was “Ionic”: no way! It was a Doric column as the absence of base and the number of flutes clarifies. In note 6, the author should have cited also my article about this column (in RdA, Suppl. 7 (1990) 227-230), which enjoyed a very high number of citations. Needless to say, even my article about the Melos Aphrodite (Xenia antiqua 4 (1995) 27-32) is subjected to damnatio memoriae (p. 479, note 30). At p. 481, the author’s claim that schools did not exist in the Hellenistic period is very subjective. The Praxitelean pedigree of the Melos Aphrodite, asserted by the author at p. 481, has been established by me in my article of 1995: the fact that the author does not cite me is entirely unethical. At p. 484, note 49, the date of the Gigantomachy of the altar of Pergamon around 160 BC is too late. At p. 491, the author write about a supposed suppression of piracy by Augustus: he must have meant by Pompey. At p. 493, the Melian copy of the Apollo Sauroctonus is considered but my study of this copy (The Art of Praxiteles 4, Rome (2013) 35 and 94) is ignored. Since he ignores my reconstruction of the historical and ideological context of this statue, he does not explain why this statue was on Melos. At p. 497, he states that the “catacomb cemetery” of Melos is “unique in Greece”: clearly, he is not aware of the Athenian catacombs below the Russian cathedral in odos Filellinon.
Chapter 17 focuses Macedonian sculpture (503-535). The author (p. 503) stresses “the diversity within its (scil.: Macedonia’s) population”, probably suggesting that this region was not ethnically homogeneous. This statement is contradicted by the epigraphy: in fact, only inscriptions in Greek have been discovered so far in this region. At p. 504, the author asserts that he does not consider monuments commissioned by Macedonians outside this region. At p. 505, he even asserts that ‘Lysippos’ portraits of Alexander (…) cannot be regarded as Macedonian art’(!?!). I cannot believe that someone dared to make such a statement. With this trick – the exclusion of Macedonian dedications abroad and of works by great sculptors – he transforms a region which was a crossroad of the most updated artistic trends, especially in the late 4th c. BC, into something provincial and peripheral. Unbelievably, the finds from the royal tombs of Vergina are ignored, as well as the Derveni krater: I am unable to find an explanation for the absence of so important materials. At p. 525, note 86, the author asserts that it is “highly improbable” that the lion of Amphipolis stood on top of the Kasta tumulus. This statement is a very serious error because fragments of the lion have been found on the tumulus, the lower surface of the lion fits well the base on top of the tumulus, finally a hole in the base in situ continues also in the lower part of the lion with the same dimensions, clearly in order to insert a vertical element which would fix the lion on its base. Denying this connection is impossible. In the same note, the author regards the so-called Caryatids at Kasta “archaistic”, a definition which I regard not acceptable. He specifies that “the elongated bodies and highly stylized folds of the archaistic Caryatids could indicate a late Hellenistic date”. This is another unforgivable error. First of all the folds are not highly stylized, second elongated legs characterize also the Comedy from Thasos and the Dancing Girls from Delphi, thus this canon was adopted already in late classical / early Hellenistic times. The association of this find with a coin struck during the reign of Alexander, the C14 date of a piece of wood inserted in the barrel vault supported by the Korai, finally late classical pottery from this spot leave no doubt that these Korai are late 4th c. BC. The author should have cited the publications of myself and of Mavrogiannis, in which the late classical date of these sculptures is fully proved.
Chapter 18 concerns the sculptures from Messene (pp. 536-576). This article is just perfect. Particularly the author’s presentation of Damophon (pp. 538-545) is really superb.
Chapter 19 concerns Greek art in Rome (pp. 579-619). At p. 580, the author asserts that “if we confine the classical period between the end of the Persian Wars and the death of Alexander the Great (…) such restrictions would prevent us from considering ‘classical’ literary works like Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex” (!?!). Clearly this writer does not know that the production of the Oedipus Tyrannus falls exactly inside this historical frame. This error is a very serious one, because Sophocles is not a minor figure. The author fills these pages with generic comparisons which appear to me unconvincing: for example at p. 585 he regards Timarchides’ Apollo and an Apollo from the pediment of Luni similar, while I believe they are very different. The author discusses the opposition between phantasia and mimesis, but fails to recognize the Platonic pedigree of this concept (from Plato’s “Sophist”). At pp. 594-595, he reports about the re-use of several models for a new work but fails to specify that this approach derives from the teaching of the eclectic philosophical school of the 5th Academy. At p. 601, the author regards the Kleomenes’ draped statue at Piacenza an Apollo (!?!) rather than an Aphrodite: he clearly ignores Stewart’s conclusive argumentation that she is Aphrodite (in Hesperia 81 (2012) 267-342). The author minimizes too much the importance of the re-display of works of classical masters in Rome.
Chapter 20 (pp. 620-654) focuses copies from classical original statues in the Greek world. At p. 621 the cessavit ars of Pliny is wrongly dated in the years 298-295 BC, while it is dated in 296-293 BC. The article is a list of copies from sculptural originals without new suggestions. It is strange that the author does not mention the many copies of the Cnidia and of the Resting Satyr found in Greece.
Chapter 21 focuses piecing, attachments and repairs (pp. 657-689). At p. 657, note 2, the author interprets “ex uno lapide” or “ex eodem lapide” as “made of just one piece of stone or marble”, however the alternative interpretation ‘made of the same type of marble’ is preferable. At p. 658, note 7, the author cites only scholars of American universities for statues in southern Italy and Sicily, forgetting the publications by south-italian scholars, who in my opinion are much better. The bibliography is too much French, contributions in Italian language are cited very rarely. Despite that, the essay is a honest, although not original, exposition on this issue.
Chapter 22 concerns polychromy in Greek sculpture (pp. 690-723). At p. 690, the authors wrongly attribute the thesis that ancient marble statues were not colored to the XVIIIth c. scholarship but in fact this thesis had been already established in late antiquity (see A. Corso, Eulimene 2 (2001) 13-51). At pp. 693-694, the bibliography cited for Pliny and Vitruvius is very idiosyncratic and does not include my own editions with extensive archaeological commentaries, of these two authors. At p. 718, where the authors report on color on late classical sculptures, the authors should have mentioned the colors detected on sculptures from the Mausoleion in the British Museum and these noticed on the Hermes of Olympia at the time of his discovery. At p. 719, nota 114, the authors do not mention the researches of Castrizio concerning the Riace bronzes and instead rely on the very controversial publications by Brinkmann. The content of this article is a partial account on the use of color in several statues but lacks historical conclusions.
Finally chapter 23 concerns the after-life of Greek sculpture (pp. 727-767). At pp. 729-730, the author does not cite my contribution to the understanding of the collection of Greek statues in the Lauseion (in Prassitele. Fonti epigrafiche e letterarie 3, Rome 1992). He also refers to Constantine’s new capital the statues in the baths of Zeuxippus which on the contrary adorned an architectural complex established at Byzantium in the age of Septimius Severus. At p. 732, the author forgets the importance of ancient art in the 7th and 8th centuries (for example in the Parastaseis syntomoi chronikai). At p. 733, he should have written about the importance of Greek sculpture at Constantinople at the times of the Macedonia, Comnenian and Angeli dynasties but he overlooks this theme which is crucial because it contributed to the importance of ancient art in later periods in the west. Still at p. 733, about the re-use of ancient patterns in the court of Frederick II Hohenstaufen, it is a scandal that the important work by A. Giuliano is not cited. At p. 734, the author believes that the bronze quadriga from Constantinople adorned “Venice’s San Marco Basilica in 1204”: this is an extremely ugly mistake. The quadriga, after its arrival from Constantinople, was kept in the Arsenal of Venice for more than one century and was place on the façade of the basilica only in the advanced 14th century, after Maximus Planudes went to Venice as ambassador: he may have instructed the Venetians about the importance of these masterpieces. At pp. 734-735, he dates Master Gregorius’ treatise on the marvels of Rome “in the mid-twelfth century”: clearly he confuses his treatise De mirabilibus Urbis Romae with the earlier anonymous Mirabilia Urbis Romae: only the latter dates around 1150, the former is several decades later! This mistake is just unbelievable. Still at p. 735, he writes of “a greater range of Greek works in the fifteenth century (following the sack of Constantinople in 1453, etc.)”. This is not correct: the most important Greek manuscripts brought from the Greek world to the west went to Italy before the sack of Constantinople, especially thanks to Cardinal Bessarion. At p. 738, note 41, about the “Vitruvian man” and Vitruvius 3. 1. 1-3, the author fails to cite my comment to this passage of Vitruvius.
At p. 741, he believes that Botticelli’ Venus “descended from Praxiteles’ Knidian Aphrodite” (sic), while this Venus descends from the Capitoline/Medici types. At p. 743, the author locates “Villa Ludovisi on the Quirinal hill” (!?!), while it was on the Pincius. This essay, when it is not wrong, is obvious and trivial.
In conclusion, some articles are outstanding: especially those about the status of sculptors by Stewart and about Messene by Themelis. However most writers of these essays have not enough classical culture and thus are not able to write staff which reaches scientific dignity. Finally they never link sculpture with the deep spiritual life of given periods. In my opinion, it is impossible to understand early classical art outside the spirit of the tragedy, again late classical art should be seen in the context of the emerging hedonistic mentality of the period. Thus most of these essays, when they are not wrong, are superficial and dry.
The reader is warned to use this book with great care.