1. Of Sicyon, one of the most distinguished Greek statuaries, is placed by Pliny at Ol. 114, as a contemporary of Alexander the Great. (H. N.
34.8. s. 19). We have no very clear intimation of how long he lived; but there is no doubt that the great period of his artistic activity was during the reign of Alexander
; and perhaps Pliny has mentioned the 114th Olympiad in particular, as being that in which Alexander
died. We learn from Pausanias (6.1.2
) that he made the statue of the Olympic victor Troilus, who conquered in the 102nd Olympiad ; but there is abundant evidence that the statues of victors in the games were often made long after the date of their victories. On the other hand, there is an inscription on a base found at Rome, Σέλευκος βασιλεύς. Λύσιππος ἐποίει
. Now Seleucus did not assume the title of King
till Ol. 117. 1.
But this proves nothing; for the addition of an inscription to a statue made long before, was a most frequent occurrence, of which we have many examples.
Originally a simple workman in bronze (faber aerarilus
), he rose to the eminence which he afterwards obtained by the direct study of nature.
It was to the painter Eupompus that he owed the guiding principle of his art; for, having asked him which of the former masters he should follow, Eupompus replied by pointing to a crowd of men, engaged in their various pursuits, and told him that nature must be imitated, and not an artist (Plin. l.c.
It is not to be inferred, how ever, that he neglected the study of existing works of art: on the contrary Cicero tells us (Brut.
86), that Lysippus used to call the Doryphorus of Polycleitus his master; and there can be no doubt that the school of Lysippus was connected with the Argive school of Polycleitus, as the school of Scopas and Praxiteles was with the Attic school of Phidias; there being in each case a succession of great principles, modified by a closer imitation of the real, and by a preference for beauty above dig nity. Perhaps the great distinction between Lysippus and his predecessors could not, in a few words, be better expressed than by saying that lie rejected the last remains of the old conventional rules which the early artists followed, and which Phidias, without permitting himself to be enslaved by them, had wisely continued to bear in mind, as a check upon the liberty permitted by mere natural models, and which even Polycleitus had not altogether disregarded (Varr. de Ling. Lat.
9.18). In Lysippus's imitation of nature the ideal appears almost to have vanished, or perhaps it should rather be said that he aimed to idealize merely human
He made statues of gods, it is true; but even in this field of art his favourite subject was the human hero Hercules; while his portraits seem to have been the chief foundation of his fame.
He ventured even to depart from the proportions observed by the earlier artists, and to alter the robust form (τὸ τετράγωνον
, quadratas veterum staturas
) which his predecessors had used in order to give dignity to their statues, and which Polycleitus had brought to perfection. Lysippus made the heads smaller, and the bodies more slender and more compact (graciliora siccioraque),
and thus gave his statues an appearance of greater height.
He used to say that former artists made men as they were, but he as they appeared to be.
His imitation of nature was carried out in the minutest details: " propriae hujus videntur esse argutiae operum, custoditae in minimus rebus," says Pliny, who also mentions the care which Lysippus bestowed upon the hair. Properties (3.7. 9) speaks of his statues as seeming to have the breath of life (animosa
), and the same idea is expressed by the grammarian Nicephorus Chumnus, in an interesting but little known passage, in which he describes Lysippus and Apelles as making and painting ζώσας εἰκόνας καὶ πννῆς μόνης καὶ κινήσεως ἀπολεειπομένας
. (Boissonade, Anecdot.
vol. iii. p. 357.)
The works of Lysippus are said to have amounted to the enormous number of 1500; at least this is the story of Pliny, who tells us that Lysippus used to lay by a single piece of gold out of the price received for each of his works, and that, after his death, the number of these pieces was found to be 1500 (HN.
34.7. s. 17). His works were almost all, if not all, in bronze; in consequence of which none of them are extant.
But from copies, from coins, and from the works of his successors, we derive valuable materials for judging of his style.
The following are the chief works of his which are mentioned by the ancient authors:--
First, those of a mythological character. 1.
A colossal statue of Zeus, 60 feet high, at Tarentum, which is fully described by Pliny (H. N
34.7. s. 18; comp Strab. vi. p.278
; Lucil. apud Non. s. v. Cubitus).
2. Zeus in the forum of Sicyon (Paus. ii 9.6). 3. Zeus Nemeus, in an erect position, at Argos (Paus. 2.20.3
). 4. Zeus attended by the Muses (Paus. 1.43.6
). 5. Poseidon, at Corinth (Lucian, Jup. Trag.
9, vol. ii. p. 652, Wetst.). 6. Dionysus, in the sacred grove on Mt. Helicon (Paus. 9.30.1
). 7. Eros, at Thespiae (Paus. 9.27.3
; comp. Sillig in the Amalthea,
vol. iii. p. 299).
As above stated, his favourite mythological subject was Hercules.
The following are some of his statues of that here:--8.
A colossal Hercules resting from his labours, in a sitting posture, at Tarentum, whence it was carried to Rome by Fabius Maximus, when he took Tarentum (Strab. vi. p.278
b.; Plut. Fab. Max.
It was afterwards transferred to Byzantium (Nicet. Stat. Constant.
5. p. 12).
It is frequently copied on gems. 9. Hercules, yielding to the power of Eros, and deprived of his weapons.
The statue is described in an epigram by Geminus (Anth. Pal.
App. ii. p. 655; Anth. Plan.
This also often appears on gems. 10.
A small statue (επιτρα πέζιος
), representing the deified hero as sitting at the banquet of the gods, described by Statius (Stat. Silv. 4.6
) and Martial (9.44
The celebrated Belvedere Torso is most probably a copy of this (Meyer, Kunstgeschichte,
vol. li. p. 114; Heyne, Prisc. Art. Op. ex Epigr. illust.
p. 87). 11. Hercules in the forum at Sicyon (Paus. 2.9.7
There were originally at Alyzia in Arcadia, and afterwards at Rome, a set of statues by Lysippus, representing the labours of Hercules (Strab. x. p.459
c.). Perhaps one of this group may have been the original of the Farnese Hercules of Glycon, which is undoubtedly a copy of a work of Lysippus. (GLYCON; Müller, Archäol. d. Kunst,
§ 129, n. 2.)
To his mythological works must be added:-- 13.
A celebrated statue of Time, or rather Opportunity (Καιρος
; Callistr. Stat.
p. 698, ed. Jacobs, with Welcker's Excursus). 14. Helios in a quadriga, at Rhodes (Plin. Nat. 34.8. s. 19.6
). 15. A Satyr at Athens (Ibid.
Of those of his statues which were neither mythological nor strictly portraits, the following are mentioned:--16.
A bather or athlete, scraping himself with a strigil, which was placed by M. Agrippa in front of his baths, and was so admired by the emperor Tiberius that he transferred it to his own chamber; the resentment of the people, however, compelled him to restore it (Plin. l.c.
). From the way in which Pliny speaks of this statue, it may be conjectured that it was intended by Lysippus to be a normal specimen of his art, like the Doryphorus of Polycleitus. 17.
An intoxicated female flute-player. 18. Several statues of athletes (Paus. 6.1.2
A statue of Socrates (D. L. 2.43
). 20. Of Aesop (Anth. Graec..
4.33). 21. Of Praxilla. (Tatian. ad v. Graec.
We pass on to his actual portraits, and chiefly those of Alexander
In this department of his art Lysippus kept true to his great principle, and imitated nature so closely as even to indicate Alexander's
personal defects, such as the inclination of his head sidewards, but without impairing the beauty and heroic expression of the figure.
He made statues of Alexander
at all periods of life, and in many different positions. Alexander's
edict is well known, that no one should paint him but Apelles, and no one make his statue but Lysippus.
The most celebrated of these statues is that in which Alexander
was represented with a lance. (Plut. de Isid.
24), which was considered as a sort of companion to the picture of Alexander
wielding a thunderbolt, by Apelles.
The impression which it produced upon spectators was described by an epigram afterwards affixed to it,--
αὐδασοῦντι δ᾽ ἔοικεν ὁ χάλκεος εἰς Δία λεύσσων:
γᾶν ὑπ᾽ ἐμοὶ τιθεμαι, Ζεῦ, σὺ δ᾽ Ὄλυμπον ἔχε.
(Plut. de Alex. Virt.
4; Tzetz. Chil.
The rest of his portraits of Alexander
are described by Müller (Archäol. d. Kunst,
§ 129, n. 2). To the same class belongs his group of the chieftains who fell in the battle at the Granicus.
There are still some other works of Lysippus of less importance, which are described by the historians of Greek art. (Sillig, Cat. s. n.;
Hirt, Gesch. d. Bild. Kunst;