Classical Myths in Sculpture

Classical Myths in Sculpture

Classical Myths in Sculpture

Classical Myths in Sculpture

Excerpt

Students of classical mythology have often asked me where they could find a comprehensive account of art which illustrates the myths. Teachers of Latin and colleagues in other fields--English, comparative literature, art history-- have asked the same question; so have many other people who are no longer engaged in formal education but are still interested in mythology and the art which pictures it. To all of them I have had to reply that there was no such account, that the material is widely scattered and some of it almost inaccessible. Here I have tried to give my questioners a more useful answer as far as sculpture is concerned. A similar survey of classical myths in painting and the graphic arts remains to be made.

The first chapter analyzes the relationship between classical mythology and sculpture and the reasons why sculptors of nearly every period in Europe and America have made use of such themes. The next chapter establishes a frame of reference, showing how mythological subjects were treated by Greek and Roman artists. In the rest of the book a survey is made of the changing ways in which the myths have been represented to serve the purposes of various times, places, and individual artists, with some appraisal of the aesthetic value of the work produced. The estimates of aesthetic value reflect my preference for monumental sculpture.

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