), one of the most distinguished sculptors of the later Attic school, was a native of Paros, which was then subject to Athens (Strab. xiii. p.604
; Paus. 8.45.4
); and he appears to have belonged to a family of artists in that island.
There is an inscription of a much later period (probably the first century B. C.), in which a certain Aristander, the son of Scopas of Paros, is mentioned as the restorer of a statue of C. Billienus, by Agasias, the son of Menophilus of Ephesus ; and we also know that there was a sculptor, Aristander of Paros, who lived during the latter part of the Peloponnesian War [ARISTANDER].
These facts, taken in connection with one another, and with the well-known alternate succession of names in a Greek family, make the inference extremely probable that the father of Scopas was that very Aristander who flourished about B. C. 405, and that his family continued to flourish as artists in their native island, almost or quite down to the Christian era (Böckh, C. I.
No. 2285, b., vol. ii. pp. 236, 237). Scopas flourished during the first half of the fourth century B. C. Pliny, indeed, places him, with Polycleitus, Phradmon, Myron, Pythagoras, and Perelius, at Ol. 90, B. C. 420 (H. N.
34.8. s. 19, Sillig's edition; the common editions place these artists with those of the preceding period, Ol. 87).
It will be seen presently that this cannot possibly be true.
The source of Pliny's error here, as in other such cases, is no doubt in the manner in which he constructed his lists of artists, arranging the groups according to some particular epoch, and placing in each group artists who were in part contemporary with each other, although the earliest may have lived quite before, and the latest quite after the date specified. Other explanations of the difficulty have been attempted, of which it can only be said here that that of Sillig (Cat. Art. s. v.
) is too far-fetched, and that the more usual plan of imagining a second artist of the name, a native of Elis, of whom nothing is known from any other source, is a vulgar uncritical expedient, which we have several times had occasion to condemn.
The indications which we possess of the true time of Scopas, in the dates of some of his works, and in the period at which the school of art he belonged to flourished, are sufficiently definite.
He was engaged in the rebuilding of the temple of Athena in Arcadia, which must have been commenced soon after Ol. 96. 2, B. C. 394, the year in which the former temple was burnt (Paus. 8.45.1
The part ascribed to him in the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, on the authority of Pliny (Plin. Nat. 36.14. s. 21
), is a matter of some doubt; but the period to which this testimony would extend his career is established by the undoubted evidence of his share in the sculptures of the Mausoleum in Ol. 107, about B. C. 350, or even a little later.
The date cannot be assigned with exactness to a year; but, as Mausolus died in Ol. 106. 4, B. C. 352, and the edifice seems to have been commenced almost immediately, and, upon the death of Artemisia, two years after that of her husband, the artists engaged on the work continued their labours voluntarily, it would follow that they were working at the sculptures both before and after B. C. 350 (Plin. Nat. 36.5. s. 4.9
; Vitruv. vii. praef. § 12). On these grounds the period of Scopas may be assigned as from B. C. 395 to B. C. 350, and perhaps a little earlier and later.
He was probably somewhat older than PRAXITELES, with whom he stands at the head of that second period of perfected art which is called the later Attic school (in contradistinction to the earlier Attic school of Pheidias), and which arose at Athens after the Peloponnesian War.
The distinctive character of this school is described under PRAXITELES, p. 519b.
Like most of the other great artists of antiquity, Scopas is hardly known to us except by the very scanty and obscure notices which Pliny and other writers give us of his works. Happily, however, we possess remains of those works of the highest excellence, though, unfortunately, not altogether of undoubted genuineness; we refer especially to the Niobe group, to various other statues, and the Budrum Marbles. We proceed to enumerate the works which he executed as an architect, a sculptor, and a statuary.
1. Temple of Athena Alea
He was the architect of the temple of Athena Alea, at Tegea, in Arcadia, the date of which has already been referred to (Paus. 8.45
. §§ 3, 4. s. 4-7).
This temple was the largest and most magnificent in the Peloponnesus, and is remarkable for the arrangement of its columns, which were of the Ionic order on the outside of the temple, and in the inside of the Doric and Corinthian orders, the latter above the former. From the way in which Pausanias speaks of the sculptures in the pediments, it appears evident that the sculptural decorations of the temple, as well as the building itself, were executed under the direction of Scopas; the sculptures were probably by his own hand, since Pausanias mentions no other artist as having wrought upon them.
The subject represented in the pediment of the front portico was the chase of the Calydonian boar, and, from the description of Pausanias, this must have been a most animated composition.
In the centre was the wild beast himself, pursued on the one side by Atalante, Meleager, Theseus, Telamon, Peleus, Pollux, Iolaüs, Prothous, and Cometes; on the other side, Ancaeus was seen mortally wounded, having dropped his axe, and supported in the arms of Epochus, while standing by him were Castor, Amphiaraüs, Hippothous, and Peirithous.
The subject of the hinder pediment was the battle of Telephus with Achilles, in the plain of Caicus, the details of which Pausanias does not describe. Only some insignificant ruins of the temple now remain. (Dodwell, Tour,
vol. ii. p. 419; Klenze, Aphorist. Bemerk. auf einer Reise nach Griechenland,
p. 647; Müller, Archäol. d. Kunst,
§ 109, n. 2.13.)
In his account of this temple, Pausanias takes occasion to mention that Scopas made statues in many places of Greece Proper (τῆς ἀρχαίας Ἑλλάδος
), besides those in Ionia and Caria; an important testimony to the extent of the sphere of the artist's labours.
2. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Pliny, in describing the temple of Artemis at Ephesus (H. N.
36.14. s. 21), says that thirty-six of its sixty columns were sculptured (caelatae ;
perhaps Caryatids), and then adds words which, according to the common editions, affirm that one of these columns was sculptured by Scopas; rather a curious circumstance, that just one of the thirty-six should be ascribed to so great an artist, and nothing be said of the makers of the other thirty-five; and rather surprising, also, that Scopas should have been engaged on what was more properly the work of a stone-mason.
The fact is, that in the common reading -- ex iis XXXVI. caelatae, una a Scopa ; operi praefuit Chersiphron, &c.
is a conjectural insertion of Salmasius (who, however, with greater consistency, also changes una
) and it is wanting in all the MSS.
The case is one of those in which we can hardly hope to clear up the difficulty quite satisfactorily, but we are inclined to accept as the most probable solution that proposed by Sillig (Cat. Art. s. v.
), namely, to follow the reading of the MSS., pointing it thus: -- ex iis XXXVI. caelatae. Una Scopa operi praefuit Chersiphron architectus,
i. e. " Together with Scopas, Chersiphron the architect superintended the work ;" for una,
may be used as a preposition with an ablative.
It is known that Chersiphron was the architect, not of this temple, but of its predecessor, which was burnt by Herostratus [CHERSIPHRON].
But it is clear enough from Pliny's whole description, that he confounded the two temples; and therefore we may infer that, finding, in his Greek authorities, Chersiphron mentioned as the architect of the one, and Scopas as the architect of the other, he confused the two together.
In no other passage is Scopas mentioned as the architect of this temple : it is generally ascribed to DEINOCRATES : but the variations in the name of the architect warrant the conclusion, which might be drawn a priori
from the magnitude of the work. that more than one architect superintended its erection.
The idea that Scopas may have been one of these architects, receives some confirmation from the reference of Pausanias, already quoted, to his works in Ionia and Caria ; and the fact of his share in the temple not being referred to by any other writer, may be explained by his architectural labours having been eclipsed by his greater fame as a sculptor, and by the renown of Deinocrates as an architect, especially if the latter finished the work.
The absence of any mention of Deinocrates by Pliny is another reason for retaining the name of Scopas in the passage.
It is to be hoped that some critic may lie able to cast some further light on a question which is so interesting as connected with the character of Scopas as an architect.
3. The Mausoleum
The part which Scopas took in the decoration of the Mausoleum has been already referred to.
It is now scarcely possible to doubt, either that, by the sculptures mentioned by Pliny and Vitruvius, on the four faces of the edifice, we are to understand the bas-reliefs of the frieze of the peristyle which surrounded it, or that the slabs brought from Budrum
(the ancient Halicarnassus), and now deposited in the British Museum, are portions of that frieze (see Dict. of Ant.
2nd ed. art. Mausoleum
These slabs are thought, by competent judges, to show traces of different hands, and unfortunately we have no means whatever of determining which of them, or whether any of them, were the work of Scopas; since, of the whole frieze we possess only enough to make up a quarter, or one side of the peristyle, and these pieces are not all continuous, nor were they found in their places in the building, but in the walls of the citadel of Budrum, into which they had been built by the knights of Rhodes.
In consequence of an opinion that the reliefs are hardly worthy of the fame of Scopas, it has been suggested that the slabs which we possess may have been all the productions of the other three artists; but a supposition so perfectly gratuitous cannot be admitted until some proof of it shall be furnished ; nor do we think it required by the case itself.
A bas-relief on the frieze of a building must not be compared with such statues as those of the Niobe group.
The artist was somewhat fettered by the nature of the work, and still more by the character of his subject, the battle of the Amazons, which belongs to a class from which, as may be seen in the Phigaleian frieze, and even in the metopes of the Parthenon, the conventionalities of the archaic style were never entirely banished.
These remarks, however, are only intended to apply to the comparison between these marbles and the separate statues, upon which the artist, free from all restraint, lavished his utmost skill; for in truth, considered by themselves, they do not seem to us to need any apology. Allowance being made for the great corrosion of the surface in most parts, they are beautiful works of art, and they exhibit exactly the characteristics of the later Attic school, as described by ancient writers, and as still visible in a very similar and nearly contemporaneous work of the very same school, the frieze of the choragic monument of Lysicrates, which is also preserved in the adjoining room (the Elgin Room 1
) in the British Museum.
The decided inferiority of both these works to the Panathenaic frieze of the Parthenon only proves the inferiority of the later Attic artists to those of the school of Pheidias; an inferiority which was not likely to be properly appreciated by judges who, in the kindred art of dramatic poetry, preferred Euripides to Sophocles.
The part of the frieze of the Mausoleum executed by Scopas was that of the eastern front; the sculptors of the other three sides were Bryaxis, Leochares, and Timotheus (or, as others said, Praxiteles), all of them Athenians; and Pliny tells us that the works were in his time considered to vie in excellence with each other : -- hodieque certant manus (H. N.
36.5. s. 4.9).
II. Single Statues and Groups
Having thus noticed the works of Scopas in architecture and architectural sculpture, we proceed to the single statues and groups which are ascribed to him, classifying them according to their connection with the Greek mythology.
The kinds of mythological subjects, which Scopas and the other artists of his school naturally chose, have already been mentioned under PRAXITELES, p. 519b.
Nearly all these works were in marble, the usual material employed by the school to which Scopas belonged, and that also which, as a native of Paros, he may be supposed to have preferred and to have been most familiar with. Only one bronze statue of his is mentioned; and some critics would erase his name from Pliny's list of statuaries in bronze (H. N.
34.8. s. 19).
1. Subjects from the Mythology of Aphrodite.
Pliny (Plin. Nat. 36.5. s. 4.7
), after mentioning Scopas as a rival of Praxiteles and Cephisodotus, tells us of his statues of Venus, Pothos (Desire), and Phaethon, which were worshipped with most solemn rites at Samothrace. (Respecting the true reading of the passage, and the mythological connection of Phaethon with Aphrodite, see Sillig's edition of Pliny; Hesiod. Theog.
986-991; and Welcker, in the Kunstblatt,
1827 p. 326).
A little further on, Pliny mentions a naked statue of Venus, in the temple of Brutus Callaicus, at Rome, as Praxiteliam illam antecedens,
which most critics suppose to mean preceding it in order of time ;
but Pliny appears really to mean surpassing it in excellence.
It would, he adds, confer renown on any other city, but at Rome the immense number of works of art, and the bustle of daily life in a great city, distracted the attention of men; and for this reason also, there was a doubt respecting the artist of another statue of Venus, which was dedicated by Vespasian in the Temple of Peace, and which was worthy of the fame of the ancient artists. Another work mentioned by Pliny as doubtful, is the Cupid holding a thunderbolt, in the Curia of Octavia. Pausanias (6.25
§ 2) mentions a bronze group by Scopas, of Aphrodite Pandemos, sitting on a goat, which stood at Elis, in the same temple with Pheidias's chryselephantine statue of Aphrodite Urania.
The juxtaposition of these works of the two Attic schools must have furnished an interesting comparison.
In the temple of Aphrodite at Megara was Scopas's group of marble statues of Eros, Himeros, and Pothos, in which he showed the perfection of his art by the distinct and characteristic personified expression of ideas so nearly the same (Paus. 1.43.6
The celebrated statue of Aphrodite as victorious (Venus Victrix
), in the Museum at Paris, known as the Tenus of Milo
(Melos), is ascribed, by Waagen and others, to Scopas and is quite worthy of his chisel.
It is one of the most beautiful remains of ancient art. (Waagen, Kunstwerke u. Künstler in Paris ;
Nagler, Künstler-Lexicon ;
Müller, Denkmäler d. alten Kunst,
vol. ii. pl. xxv. No. 270.)
2. Subjects from the Mythology of Dionysus.
Müller thinks that Scopas was one of the first who ventured to attempt in sculpture a free unfettered display of Bacchic enthlusiasm (Archaöl. d. Kunst,
§ 125. His statue of Dionysus is mentioned by Pliny (Plin. Nat. 36.5. s. 4.5
); and his Maenad, with flowing hair, as χιμαιροφόνος
, is celebrated by several writers (Callist. Imag 2 ;
Glancus, Ep. 3,
ap. Brunck. Anal.
vol. ii. p. 347, Anth. Pal.
9.774; Simonides, Ep. 81,
ap. Brunck. Anal.
vol. i. p. 142, Anth. Plannd.
4.60, Append. in Anth. Pal.
vol. ii. p. 642, Jacobs).
There are several reliefs which are supposed to be copied from the work of Scopas; one of them in the British Museum. (Müller, Arch. l.c.
n. 2, Denkmäler,
vol. i. pl. xxxii. No. 140; Townley Gallery,
vol. ii. p. 103.) Respecting his Paniscus,
see Cicero (de Div.
3. Subjects from the Mythology of Apollo and Artemis.
Scopas embodied the ideal of the Pythian Apollo playing on the lyre in a statue, which Augustus placed in the temple which he built to Apollo on the Palatine, in thanksgiving for his victory at Actium; whence it is called by Pliny Apollo Palatinus,
and on various Roman coins Apollo Actius
(Eckhel, Doct. Num.
vol. vi. pp. 94, 107, vol. vii. p. 124; comp. Tac. Ann. 14.14
; Suet. Nerv. 25
). Propertius describes the statue in the following lines (2.31, 10-14): --
Deinde inter matrem deus ipse interque sororem
Pythius in longa carmina veste sonat.
Hic equidem Phoebo visus mihi pulchrior ipso
Marmoreus tacita carmen hiare lyra.
These lines, and the representations of the statue on the coins, enable us easily to recognise a copy of it in the splendid statue in the Vatican, which was found in the villa of Cassius Mus. Pio-Clem.
vol. i. pl. 16; Musée Franç.
vol. i. pl. 5; Müller, Archäol.
§ 125, n. 4, Denkmäler,
vol. i. pl. xxxii. No. 141).
There was also a statue of Apollo Smintheus by him, at Chrysa in the Troad (Strab. xiii. p.604
; Eustath. ad Il.
1.39). Two statues of Artemis are ascribed to Scopas; the one by Pausanias (9.17.1
), the other by Lucian (Lexiph. 12,
vol. ii. p. 339).
But of all his works in this department, by far the most interesting is the celebrated group, or rather series, of figures, representing the destruction of the sons and daughters of Niobe. In Pliny's time the statues stood in the temple of Apollo Sosianus, at Rome, and it was a disputed point whether they were the work of Scopas or of Praxiteles.
The remaining statues of this group, or copies of them, are all in the Florence Gallery, with the exception of the so-called Ilioneus, at Munich, which some suppose to have belonged to the group.
There is a head of Niobe in the collection of Lord Yarborough, which has some claim to be considered as the original. Our space forbids our entering on the various questions which have been raised respecting this group, such as the genuineness or originality of the figures, the manner of grouping them, and the aesthetic character of the whole composition : on these matters the reader is referred to the works now quoted. (Müller, Archäol. d. Kunst,
§ 126, ed. Welcker, 1848, and the authorities there quoted; Denkmäler,
vol. ii. pl. xxxiii. xxxiv. ; Thiersch, Epochen,
pp. 368-371; Penny Cyclopaedia,
4. Statues of other Divinities.
Pliny (Plin. Nat. 36.5. s. 4.10
) ascribes to Scopas a much-admired sitting statue of Vesta in the Servilian gardens (respecting the corrupt words which follow, see Sillig's Pliny), a sitting Colossus of Mars in the temple of Brutus Callaicus, and a Minerva at (Cnidus (ib.
§ 5); and the following works are mentioned by other writers :--a statue of Hermes (Anth. Planud.
4.192; Brunck. Anal.
vol. iii. p. 197; Jacobs, Append. Anth. Pal.
vol. ii. p. 684) : a marble Heracles, at Sicyon (Paus. 2.10.1
) : a beradless Aesculapius and a Hygieia, at Gortyna in Arcadia (Paus. 8.28.1
) : a statue of Athena, which stood on one side of the entrance of the temple of Apollo Ismenius, outside the gates of Thebes; on the other side of the entrance was a Hermes by Pheidias; and the two statues were called Πρόναοι
) : a Hecate at Argos (Paus. 2.22.8
): and two Furies at Athens. (Clem. Alex. Protrept.
p. 30, ed. Sylburg ; Sillig. Cat. Art. s. v. Calus.
5. Achilles conducted to the Island of Leuce
But the most esteemed of all the works of Scopas, according to Pliny, was his group which stood in the shrine of Cn. Domitius in the Flaminian circus, representing Achilles conducted to the island of Leuce by the divinities of the sea.
It consisted of figures of Neptune, Tihetis, and Achilles, surrounded by Nereids sitting on dolphins and buge fishes (κήτη
) and hippocampi, and attended by Tritons, and by an assemblage of sea monsters, which Pliny describes by the phrase Chorus Phorci et pistrices et multa alia marina.
All these figures, he adds, were by the hand of Scopas himself, and would have been enough to immortalize the artist, even if they had cost the labour of his whole life. Miller thinks it probable that Scopas infused into this marine group something of the spirit of those Baechie revellers upon the land whom he was so successful in pourtraying, making the Tritons to resemble Satyrs, and the Nereids Maenads.
There is still extant a beautiful statue of a Nereid on a hippocamp, both in the Florentine Gallery and the Museum at Naples (Tafeln zu Meyer's Kunstgeschichte,
pl. 10, A), besides other statues of sea gods and monsters, but none of them can be assigned with certainty to the group of Scopas. (Müller, Archäol.
§§ 125, 126, 402.)
Problematic Canephorus mentioned by Pliny
The above list contains, we believe, all the known works of Scopas, except a (Canephoros mentioned by Pliny, which was in the collection of Asinius Pollio.
There is also a hopelessly corrupt passage of Pliny (34.8. s. 19.33
), in which Scopas appears
to be mentioned as the maker of bronze statues of philosophers; but perhaps the name ought to be altogether banished from the passage (see Sillig, Cat. Art.,
and edition of Pliny, and Janus, Cod. Bamb.
app. to Sillig's Pliny). If this passage be rejected, there is no mention by Pliny of any work in bronze by Scopas, although his name appears in the chronological list of statuaries at the beginning of the chapter.
But even that passage is, as has been seen, involved in difficulty, and one proposed emendation, that of Thiersch, would banish the name of Scopas
from it altogether, substituting Onatas.
The only work in bronze expressly ascribed to Scopas is the Aphrodite Pandemus at Elis, mentioned, as above stated, by Pausanias.
Possible Engraver named Scopas
Raoul-Rochette enumerates, among the ancient engravers, a Scopas
whom he considers to be a Greek artist, of the Roman period (Lettre à M. Schorn,
pp. 153, 154).
It is not improbable that among the Parian artists descended from Scopas, one of the same name may have practised this branch of the art at the period in question; and if the antiquaries be correct in supposing the subject of one of the gems bearing his name to be the head of Sextus Pompeius, this evidence would be sufficient. Visconti, however, doubts the genuineness of the inscription on that gem; and besides, there is no positive evidence that the portrait is that of Sextus Pompeius.
With regard to the other two gems bearing the inscription ΣΚΟΠΑ
, it is pretty evident that on the one, which represents an Apollo Citharoedus,
the inscription merely indicates that the subject is copied from the celebrated Apollo of Scopas; and it seems by no means improbable that the case is similar with respect to the other, which represents a naked female coming out of the bath.