FORMATION OF SCULPTURAL TYPES
THE Greeks, as has been well observed by Brunn, proceeded in art as in their written literature. They borrowed from the Phoenicians and other peoples the letters of the alphabet, but they used these letters to express their own ideas in their own language, and according to the rules of their own grammar. Similarly, they began their artistic activity by borrowing from the nations around them, or it may be from the primitive dwellers in their own country, certain simple forms -- the human, the forms of animals and monsters and plants. For a long while they did not from the technical point of view improve on these, but they used them almost from the first to embody their own notions of decoration, their own religious beliefs, and the tales of their ancestral heroes.
The growth of Greek sculpture from such simple and rude sketches of the human figure as are common to most nations would of course have been impossible without a close and loving observation of nature. But the Greeks were determined to see with their own eyes. Other peoples of very inferior artistic capacity, the Etruscans for instance, were more apt in copying the careful and stylish representations brought to them in the way of commerce by the Phoenicians. But the Greeks, instead of travelling in the facile ways of the imitator, seem from the first to have hammered out a style of their own. The early figures of Apollo and of athletes, with which Greek