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Myron

Μύρων), one of the most celebrated of the Greek statuaries, and also a sculptor and engraver, was born at Eleutherae, in Boeotia, about B. C. 480. (Plin. Nat. 34.8. s. 19.3.) Pausanias calls him an Athenian, because Eleutherae had been admitted to the Athenian franchise. He was the disciple of Ageladas, the fellow-disciple of Polycleitus, and a younger contemporary of Phi dias. Pliny gives for the time when he flourished the 87th Olympiad, or B. C. 431, the time of the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. (H. N. 34.8. s. 19.)

The chief characteristic of Myron seems to have been his power of expressing a great variety of forms. Not content with the human figure in its most difficult and momentary attitudes, he directed his art towards various other animals, and he seems to have been the first great artist who did so. To this characteristic Pliny no doubt refers, when he says, Primus hic nmultiplicasse veritatem videtur, numerosior quam Polycletus (l.c. § 3). To this love of variety he seems in some degree to have sacrificed accuracy of proportion and intellectual expression. (Plin. l.c.; comp. Cic. Brut. 18.) Neither did he pay much attention to minute details, distinct from the general effect, such as the hair, in which he seems to have followed, almost closely, the ancient conventional forms. (Plin. l.c.

Quinctilian (12.10) speaks of his works as softer than those of Callon, Hegesias, and Calamis. The author of the Rhetorica ad Herennium (4.6) speaks of his heads as especially admirable.

Myron's great works were nearly all in bronze, of which he used the variety called Delian, while Polycleitus preferred the Aeginetan. (Plin. Nat. 34.2. s. 5; Dict. of Antiq. s. v. ues.

The most celebrated of his statues were his Discobolus and his Cow. The encomiums lavished by various ancient writers on the latter work might surprise us if we did not remember how much more admiration is excited in a certain stage of taste by the accurate imitation of an object out of the usual range of high art, than by the most beautiful ideal representation of men or gods; and there can be no doubt that it was almost a perfect work of its kind. Still the novelty of the subject was undoubtedly its great charm, which caused it to be placed at the head of Myron's works, and celebrated in many popular verses. Pliny says of it: " Myronem bucula maxime nobilitavit, celebratis versibus laudata." The Greek Anthology contains no less than thirty-six epigrams upon it, which, with other passages in its praise, are collected by Sontag in the Unterhaltungen für Freunde der alten Literatur, pp. 100-119. Perhaps the best, at least the most expressive of the kind of admiration it excited, is the following epigram, which is one out of several epigrams on Myron's Cow by Ausonius (Epig. 58.):--

Bucula sum, caelo gentoris facta Myronis
Aerea; nec factam me puto, sed genitam.
Sic me taurus init: sic proxinma bucula mugit :
Sic vitulus sitiens ubera nostra petit.
Miraris, quod fallo gregem? Greis ipse magister
Inter pascentes me numerare solet.

” These epigrams give us some of the details of the figure. The cow was represented as lowing and the statue was placed on a marble base, in the centre of the largest open place in Athens, where it still stood in the time of Cicero. (Cic. in Verr. 4.60.) In the time of Pausanias it was no longer there; it must have been removed to Rome, where it was still to be seen in the temple of Peace, in the time of Procopius. (Bell. Goth. 4.21.)

A work of higher art, and far more interesting to us, was his Discobolus, of which there are several marble copies in existence. It is true that we cannot prove by testimony that any of these alleged copies were really taken from Myron's work, or from imitations of it; but the resemblance between them, the fame of the original, and the well-known frequency of the practice of making such marble copies of celebrated bronzes, all concur to put the question beyond reasonable doubt. Of these copies we have the good fortune to possess one, in the Townley Gallery of the British Museum, which was found in the grounds of Hadrian's Tiburtine Villa, in 1791: another, found on the Esquiline in 1782, is in the Villa Massimi at Rome: a third, found in Hadrian's Villa, in 1793, is in the Vatican Museum; a fourth, restored as a gladiator, is in the Capitoline Museum. To these may, in all probability, be added (5) a torso, restored as one of the sons of Niobe, in the gallery at Florence; (6) the torso of an Endymion in the same gallery; (7) a figure restored as a Diomed, and (8) a bronze in the gallery at Munich. (Müller, in the Amalthea, vol. iii. p. 243.) The original statue is mentioned by Quinctilian and Lucian. The former dilates upon the novelty and difficulty of its attitude, and the triumph of the artist in representing such an attitude, even though the work may not be in all respects accurate (2.13). Lucian gives a much more exact description. (Philopseud. ] 8, vol. iii. p. 45):--Μῶν τὸν δισκεύοντα, ἢν δ᾽ ἐγώ, φῂς, τὸν ἐπικεκνφότα κατὰ τὸ χῆμα τῆς ἀφέσεως, ἀπεστραμμένον εἰς τὸ δισκοφόρον, ἠρέμα ὀκλάζοντα δῷ ἑτερῷ, ἐοικότα ξυναστησομένῳ μετὰ τῆς βολῆς ; οὐκ ἐκεῖνον, ν̓̂ δ᾽ ὅς, ἐπεὶ καὶ Μύρωνος ἔργον εν καὶ τοῦτο ἔστιν, δισκθβόλος δ̀ν λέγεις. We have given the passage at length in order to make manifest the absurdity of supposing that the figure was not in the action of throwing the quoit, but merely stretching back the hand to receive the quoit from some imaginary attendant who held it (τὸν δισκοφόρον). The real meaning is that the head was turned round backwards towards the hand which held the quoit. The two most perfect copies, the Townley and the Massimi, agree with Lucian's description, except that the former has the head in quite a different position, bending down forwards. Barry preferred this position (Works, vol. i. p. 479; ed. 1809, 4to.); but the attitude described by Lucian, and seen in the Massimi statue, gives a better balance to the figure. There is, also, great reason to doubt whether the head of the Townley statue really belongs to it. (See Townley Gallery, Lib. Ent. Knowledge, vol. i. p. 240, where it is figured.) On the whole, the Massimi copy is the best of all, and probably the most faithful to the original. It is engraved in the Abbildungen zu Winckelmann's Werke, fig. 80; and in Müller's Denkmäler d. alten Kunst, vol. i. pl. xxxii. fig. 139, b.

Of Myron's other works Pliny (34.8. s. 19.3) enumerates the following :--a dog; Perseus, which Pausanias saw in the Acropolis at Athens 1.23.8); sea-monsters (pristas, see Böttiger, inf. cit.); a satyr admiring a double flute and Minerva, probably a group descriptive of the story of MARSYAS; Delphic pentathletes; pancratiasts; a Hercules, which, in Pliny's time, was in the temple of Pompey, by the Circus Maximus; and an Apollo, which was taken away from the Ephesians by M. Antonius, and restored to them by Augustus, in obedience to an admonition in a dream. The words in the passage of Pliny, fecisse et cicadae monumentum ac locustae carminibus suis Erinna siynifieat, are a gross blunder, which Pliny made by mistaking the name of the poetess Myro in an epigram by Anyte (or Erinna, Anth. Pal. 7.190) for that of the sculptor Myron.

In addition to Pliny'saccount, the following works of Myron are mentioned by other writers: Colossal statues of Zeus, Hera, and Heracles, at Samos, the three statues on one base. They were removed by M. Antonius, but restored by Augustus, except the Zeus, which he placed on the Capitol and built a shrine for it (Strab. xiv. p.637b.) A Dionysus in Helicon, dedicated by Sulla. (Paus. 9.30.1.) A Hercules, which Verres took from Heius the Mamertine. (Cic. Ver. 4.3.) A bronze Apollo, with the name of the artist worked into the thigh, in minute silver letters, dedicated in the shrine of Aesculapius at Agrigentum by P. Scipio, and taken away by Verres. (Cic. Ver. 4.43.) A wooden statue of Hecate, in Aegina. (Paus. 2.20.2.) Several statues ofathletes. (See Sillig, s. v.) Lastly, a striking indication how far Myron's love of variety led him beyond the true limits of art, a drunken old woman, in marble, at Smyrna, which of course, according to Pliny, was inprimis inclyta. (Plin. Nat. 36.5. s. 4.) His Cow was not his only celebrated work of the kind: there were four oxen, which Augustus dedicated in the portico of the temple of Apollo on the Palatine, B. C. 28 (Propert. 2.23. 7); and a calf carrying Victory, derided by Tatian. (Adv. Graec. 54, p. 117, ed. Worth.)

He was also an engraver in metals: a celebrated patera of his is mentioned by Martial (6.92).

Nothing is known of Myron's life except that, according to Petronius (88), he died in great poverty. He had a son, LYCLUS, who was a distinguished artist.

(Besides the usual authorities, Winckelmann, Meyer, Thiersch, Müller, Junius, Sillig,&c., there is an excellent lecture on Myron in Böttiger's Andeutungen zu 24 Vorträgen über die Archäologie, Vorles. 21.)

[P.S]

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