CHAPTER V
CHARACTER OF EARLIEST GREEK ART

WHETHER, in dealing with the grammar of Greek representative art, we should begin with sculpture or with painting, is not a question easy to decide. Painting is essentially a freer art than sculpture, and in all the changes and improvements by which art progresses toward its zenith, painting naturally takes the lead. To this general rule Greek art offers no exception. Polygnotus preceded Pheidias, and the impress which Pheidias placed upon art was in many respects originated by the Thasian painter. Painting at Pompeii has reached a degree of freedom and, so to speak, of modernity, which is never attained by ancient sculpture. Thus, if Greek painting were in our museums half as well represented as Greek sculpture, we should certainly prefer to treat first of the art of the brush. But unfortunately Greek painting is but very imperfectly known to us. We have to piece together its history from the designs of Greek vases and the frescoes of the Roman age, whereas we have an abundance of really good sculpture from all ages of production. Sculpture, therefore, on the whole, claims precedence in our treatment. We shall, to begin with, speak of Greek art as a whole, and then take up successively sculpture and painting in their separate and distinctive developments.

In spite of what was said in the introductory chapter as to the diversity of a search into character of a nation's art and the search into the origin of its art, it will be expedient, before

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