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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/221

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VALUE OF THE STUDY OF ART.

you way be losing time. Which, by long and affectionate intercourse, you shall have sufficiently entered into our intimacy to be able at any given hour to evoke in your spirit, as clearly as if we stood before you, a vision of the forms which shall have become dear to you, then the images which shall be awakened in your memories when you read the poets will be akin to those which the same recitals and the same epithets suggested to the Greeks who saw us born. To them you will be drawn by similarity of impression. You will be nearer to them, nearer to thinking and feeling after their fashion, at least by moments, than the most subtle grammarian or the most learned Hellenist who never has seen us."

Turning from Greece to Italy, Perrot derives a no less striking lesson from the statues of Roman emperors:

"Is there a lesson, though given by the most learned professor, that could cause to live before us all the life of the Rome of the Cæsars as do these effigies? In the long succession of portraits which embrace three centuries of history the differences of times and of men are contrasted more keenly and more vividly than in the recitals of ancient authors or in the dissertations of modern erudites. Augustus and Tiberius, Constantine and Theodosius, all bore the same title—'imperator'; all were called consuls, Cæsars, Augusti, patres patrice, etc. Nevertheless, from the first to the fourth centuries the supreme power was greatly modified. Volumes have been written to explain the change, but there is nothing that makes it so clear as the comparison of the images of these princes. Augustus, in perhaps the most beautiful of all his statues, called de Prima Porta, has his head, arms, legs, and feet bare. Over the soldier's short tunic he wears a cuirass, and over it is thrown the military mantle of command. He is represented as supreme chief haranguing his troops. Another statue may represent him as a simple citizen, clothed with the toga and holding in his hand the manuscript of the discourse he proposes reading to the senate. The statues still show forth the Roman Republic, at least the customs and the style of it. Most vividly is the spirit and also the deception of the system perceived which, while investing a single individual with a power almost limitless, affects for two centuries a preservation of ancient liberties. Turn from these to an image of one of the successors of Diocletian, one who preferred to reside in Constantinople, the new capital of the empire. Do not seek his image in one of the ceremonial statues where, by force of routine, the sculptor may perchance have preserved classic rules; but in monuments of another order, where the artist kept closer to reality, in miniatures adorning manuscripts, in mosaics, in ivory diptychs, etc. There you will find figures which have nothing left