CHAPTER XIII
LITERATURE AND PAINTING: THE EPIC

THE relations of poetry to art offer a subject of great interest to the student of the classics. The subject was brought fully before the learned world by Lessing in his Laocoon. The Laocoon has become a classic both in Germany and in England; and it still keeps the interest which always attaches to the first thorough study of an important subject by a great man. But Lessing's knowledge of Greek art was closely limited. The history of ancient sculpture had in his time barely been sketched, and Greek painting was practically unknown. One cannot, therefore, be surprised to find that many of his dicta no longer hold. His theories have the same relation to modern archaeology which the theories of Adam Smith have to modern economics.

Our present subject is especially the relations which may be observed between vase-painting and literature. This is a matter concerning all whose education is on classical lines.1

____________________
1
The most important general work on this subject is still Robert Bild und Lied; some of the papers of Jahn and Brunn are full of suggestion. Mr. Huddilston Attitude of the Greek Tragedians towards Art may also be consulted. In late years it has occurred to several publishers to issue editions of the Greek and Roman writers with illustrations, largely taken from ancient vase-paintings. I am sorry to say that this has seldom been done by adequate authorities or in a satisfactory fashion. Hill Illustrations of School Classics is a good exception. Engelmann Bilderatlas zur Ilias and zur Odyssee (English edition by Anderson) is also a work of a competent authority. Most of the vases which bear on literature are figured in Baumeister Denkmäler.

-207-

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