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the rest together; because the Romans had so great a veneration for his memory, that it grew into a part of their religion to preserve a statue of him in almost every private family. But how comes it to pass, that
of these statues are cut after the very same model, and not only these, but of such as had no relation, either to the interest or devotion of the owner, as the dying Cleopatra, the Narcissus, the fawn leaning against the trunk of a tree, the boy with a bird in his hand, the Leda and her swan, with many others of the same nature? I must confess I always looked upon figures of this kind as the copies of some celebrated master-piece, and question not but they were famous originals, that gave rise to the several statues which we see with the same air, posture, and attitudes. What confirms me in this conjecture, there are many ancient statues of the Venus de Medicis, the Silenus with the young
Bacchus in his arms, the Hercules Farnese, the Antinous, and other beautiful originals of the ancients, that are already drawn out of the rubbish, where they lay concealed for so many ages. Among the rest I have observed more that are formed after the design of the Venus of Medicis than of any other, from whence I believe one may conclude, that it was the most celebrated statue among the ancients, as well as among the moderns. It has always been usual for sculptors. to work upon the best models, as it is for those that are curious to have copies of them.
I am apt to think something of the same account nay be given of the resemblance that we meet with in many of the antique basso relievos.
I remember I was very well pleased with the device of one that I met with on the tomb of a young Roman lady, which had been made for her by her mother. The sculptor had chosen the rape of Proserpine for his device, where in one end you might see the god of the dead (Pluto) hurrying away a beautiful young virgin (Proserpine) and at the other the grief and distraction of the mother (Ceres) on that occasion. I have since observed the same device upon several Sarcophagi, that have inclosed the ashes of men and boys, maids or matrons; for, when the thought took, though at first it received its rise from such a particular occasion as I have mentioned, the ignorance of the sculptors applied it promiscuously. I know there are authors who discover a mystery in this device,
A man is sometimes surprised to find so many extravagant fancies as are cut on the old Pagan tombs. Masks, hunting-matches, and bacchanals are very common; sometimes one meets with a lewd figure of a Priapus, and in the Villa Pamphilia is seen a satyr coupling with a goat. There are, however, many of a more serious nature, that shadow out the existence of the soul after death, and the hopes of a happy immortality. I cannot leave the basso relievos without mentioning one of them, where the thought is extremely noble. It is called Homer's Apotheosis, and consists of a group of figures cut in the same block of marble, and rising one above another by four or five different ascents. Jupiter sits at the top of it with a thunderbolt in his hand, and, in such a majesty as Homer himself represents him, presides over the ceremony.
1 Εύρον δ' ευρυοπα χρονίδην άτερ ήμενον άλλων
Ακροτάτη κορυφή πολυδείραδος Ούλύμποιο. . Immediately beneath him are the figures of the nine Muses, supposed to be celebrating the praises of the poet. Homer himself is placed ati one end of the lowest row, sitting in a chair of state, which is supported on each side by the figure of a kneeling woman. The one holds a sword in her hand to represent the Iliad, or actions of Achilles, as the other has an aplustre to represent the Odyssey, or voyage of Ulysses. About the poet's feet are creeping a couple of mice, as an emblem of the Batrachomyomachia. Behind the chair stands Time, and the Genius of the Earth, distinguished by their proper attributes, and putting a garland on the poet's head, to intimate the mighty reputation he
has gained in all ages and in all nations of the world. Before him stands an altar, with a bull ready to be sacrificed to the new god, and behind the victim a train of the several virtues that are represented in Homer's works, or to be learnt out of them, lifting up their hands in admiration of the poet, and in applause of the solemnity. This antique piece of sculpture is in the possession of the Constable Colonna, but never shown to those who see the palace, unless they particularly desire it.
Among the great variety of ancient coins which I saw at Rome, I could not but take particular notice of such as relate to any of the buildings or statues that are still extant. Those of the first kind have been already published by the writers of the Roman antiquities, and may be most of them met with in the last edition of Donatus; as the pillars of Trajan and Antonine, the arches of Druşus Germanicus, and Septimius Severus, the temples of Janus, Concord, Vesta, Jupiter Tonans, Apollo and Fausțina, the Circus Maximus, Agonalis, and that of Caracalla, or, according to Fabretti, of Galienus, of Vespasian's ampitheatre, and Alexander Severus's bath; though, I must confess, the subject of the last may be very well doubted of. As for the meta sudans and pons ælius, which have gained a place among the buildings that are now standing, and to be met with on old reverses of medals; the coin that shows the first is generally rejected as spurious;- nor is the other, though cited in the last edition of Mon. sieur Vaillant, esteemed more authentic by the present Roman medalists, who are certainly the most skilful in the world, as to the mechanical part of this science. I shall close up this set of medals with a very curious one, as large as a medallion, that is singular in its kind. On one side is the head of the Emperor Trajan, the reverse has on it the Circus Maximus, and a view of the side of the Palatine mountain that faces, it, on which are seen several edifices, and among the rest the famous temple of Apollo, that has still a considerable ruin standing
This medal I saw in the hands of Monseigneur Strozzi, brother to the duke of that name, who has many curiosities in his possession, and is very obliging to a stranger, who desires the sight of them. It is a surprising thing, that among the great pieces of architecture represented on the old coins, one can never meet with the Pantheon, the Mausolæum of Augustus, Nero's golden house, the Moles Adriani, the Septizonium of Severus, the Baths of Dioclesian, &c. But since it was the custom of the Roman emperors thus to register their most remarkable buildings, as well as actions, and since there are several in either of these kinds not to be found on medals, more extraordinary than those that are: we inay, I think, with great reason suspect our collections of old coins to be extremely deficient, and that those which are already found out scarce bear a proportion to what are yet undiscovered. A man takes a great deal more pleasure in surveying the ancient statues, who compare them with medals, than it is possible for him to do without some little knowledge this way; for these two arts illustrate each other; aud as there are several particulars in history and antiquities which receive a great light from ancient coins, so would it be impossible to decipher the faces of the many statues that are to be seen at Rome, without so universal a key to them. It is this that teaches to distinguish the kings and consuls, emperors and empresses, the deities and virtues, with a thousand other particulars relating to statuary, and not to be learnt by any other means. In the Villa Pamphilia stands the statue of a man in woman's cloaths, which the antiquaries do not know what to make of, and therefore pass it off for an hermaphrodite; but a learned medalist in Rome has lately fixed it to Glodius, who is so famous for having intruded into the solemnities of the bona dea in a woman's habit, for one sees the same features and make of face in a medal of the Clodian family.
I have seen on coins the four finest figures perhaps that are now extant: the Hercules Farnese, the Venus of Medicis, the Apollo in the Belvidere, and the famous Marcus Aurelius on horseback. The oldest medal that the first appears upon is one of Commodus, the second on one of Faustina, the third on one of Antoninus Pius, and the last on one of Lucius Verus. We may conclude, I think, from hence, that these statues were extremely celebrated among the old Romans, or they would never have been honoured with a place among the emperor's coins. We may further observe, that all four of them make their first appearance in the Antonine family, for which reason I am apt to think they are all of them the product of that age. They would probably have been mentioned by Pliny the naturalist, who lived in the next reign save one before ·Antoninus Pius, had they been made in his time. As for the brazen figure of Marcus Aurelius on horseback, there is no doubt of its being of this age, though I must confess it may be doubted, whether the medal I have cited represents it. All I can say for it is, that the horse and man on the medal are in the same posture as they are on the statue, and that there is a resemblance of Marcus Aurelius's face, for I have seen this reverse on a medallion of Don Livio's cabinet, and much more distinctly in another very beautiful one, that is in the hands of Signior Marc. Antonio. It is generally objected, that Lucius Verus would rather have placed the figure of himself on horseback upon the reverse of his own coin, than the figure of Marcus Aurelius. But it is very well known that an emperor often stamped on his coins the face or ornaments of his colleague, as an instance of his respect or friendship for him; and me may suppose Lucius Verus would omit no opportunity of doing honour to Marcus Aurelius, whom he rather revered as his father, than treated as his partner in the empire. The famous Antinous in the Belvidere must have been made too about this age, for he died towards the middle of Adriąn's reign, the immediate predecessor of AntoniVol. V.