INTRODUCTORY: GENERAL CHARACTER OF GREEK ART
JUST as the poetry and prose of the Greeks is expressed in a particular language, the words and the grammar of which must be studied by those who would understand the literature, so works of Greek painting and sculpture also are composed in what may be called a particular artistic language.1 The words of that language are the strokes of the brush and the chisel; but these are put together in order to embody Greek ideas in ways which are distinctive and not like those adopted by any other people; certainly unlike those of modern art. The object of the present work is to set forth, as simply and directly as possible, what these ways are; to define, in fact, the grammar of Greek art, and so render more intelligible the works of painting and sculpture which have come down to us from Hellenic antiquity.
Although the problem before us is one which can only be solved by a close and long-continued examination of the monuments of Greek art, yet it is at bottom psychological. We have to determine the laws according to which the mind, the taste, the hand of the artist, worked. We are speaking of a generalized or ideal process. It will not, of course, be supposed that a sculptor or painter, before he set about his work, consciously or deliberately thought out the lines on which he