1. APOLLONIUS and TAURISCUS of Tralles, were two brothers, and the sculptors of the group which is commonly known as the Farnese bull, representing the punishment of Dirce by Zethus and Amphion. [DIRCE.] It was taken from Rhodes to Rome by Asinius Pollio, and afterwards placed in the baths of Caracalla, where it was dug up in the sixteenth century, and deposited in the Farnese palace.
It is now at Naples.
After its discovery, it was restored, in a manner not at all in keeping with its style, by Battista Bianchi of Milan.
There is some reason to believe that additions were made to it in the time of Caracalla.
It was originally formed out of one block of marble.
A full description of the group, is given by Winckelmann, who distinguishes the old parts from the new.
From the style of the ancient portions of the group, Winckelmann and Müller refer its execution to the same period to which they imagine the Laocoon to belong, that is, the period after Alexander the Great. Both groups belong to the same school of art, the Rhodian, and both probably to the same period. If, therefore, we admit the force of the arguments of Lessing and Thiersch respecting the date of the Laocoon [AGELADAS], we may infer, that the Farnese bull was newly executed when Asinius Pollio took it to Rome, and consequently, that Apollonius and Tauriscus flourished at the beginning of the first century of the Christian aera.
It is worth while to notice, that we have no history of this work before its removal from Rhodes to Rome.
Pliny says of Apollonius and Tauriscus, "Parentum ii certamen de se fecere: Menecratem videri professi, sed esse naturalem Artemidorum," which is understood to mean, that they placed an inscription on their work, expressing a doubt whether their father, Artemidorus, or their teacher, Menecrates. ought to be considered their true parent. The Farncse bull bears no such inscription, but there are the marks of an effaced inscription on a trunk of a tree which forms a support for the figure of Zethus. (Plin. Nat. 36.4.10
; Winckelmann, Werke,
vi. p. 52, vii. p. 205; Müller, Archäol. der Kunst.