3. In the Anaceium, or Temple of the Dioscuri, at Athens,
which was perhaps more ancient than the time of Cimon, who seems to have repaired and beautified it, Polygnotus painted the marriage of the daughters of Leucippus, as connected with the mythology of the Dioscuri (Πολύγνωτος μὲν ἔχοντα ἐς αὐτοὺς ἔγραψε γάμον τῶν θυγατέρων τῶν Λευκίππου
, Paus. 1.18.1
), and Micon painted the Argonautic expedition.
The subject of Polygnotus was evidently that favourite subject of ancient poetry and art, the rape of Phoebe and Hilaera on their marriage-day, by Castor and Pollux : the ancient form of the legend, which was followed by Polygnotus, is supposed by Böttiger to have been contained in the cyclic poem entitled Cypria,
which related to the events before the Iliad
. We still possess, in bas-reliefs on ancient sarcophagi, three if not four representations of the story, which we may safely assume to have been imitated from the picture of Polygnotus, and which strikingly display that uniform symmetry, which we know to have been one characteristic of his works, in contradistinction to the more natural grouping of a later period.
In modern times, Rubens has painted the story of Phoebe and Hilaera in a picture, now at Munich, which would doubtless present a most interesting contrast to the treatment of the same subject by Polygnotus, if we had but the opportunity of comparing them.
The sculptures also, which are presumed to have been taken after the painting of Polygnotus, have furnished David with some ideas for his Rape of the Sabine women. (Böttiger, pp. 291-295.)