The Glory That Was Greece

to say that they had not much opportunity of knowing better, since genuine Greek work of the best periods was mostly lying below the surface unexcavated. Out of this mass of inferior material critics picked one or two examples for admiration. Even great men like Lessing and Winckelmann based excellent maxims of criticism on these rotten foundations. The “Laocoön,” a sensational work by Rhodian sculptors of the first century B.C., was taken by Lessing as the text of his great discourse on the proper functions of the arts. We, on the other hand, can see that this tangled triangle of writhing forms expressing violent emotion of pain and terror has a theatrical and sensational character abhorrent to the very spirit of Greek moderation. Exactly the same is true of the two Farnese masterpieces, the Bull and the Hercules. Such facts as these give one cause to ponder on the mutability of taste and the fallibility of artistic criticism. Restlessness, the symptom

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