Page images

That it was customary with the Greeks to adorn the pediments of their temples with groups of statues is sufficiently proved by the remains of the temple of Minerva at Athens, called the Parthenon, by the discovery of those of the temple of Jupiter Panhellenius in the island of Egina, and of many other temples on which may still be traced the remains of similar ornaments, as for instance, the temple of Theseus. Pausanias also has accurately described the frontispiece of the temple of Jupiter at Olympus, Diodorus that of Jupiter Olympius at Agrigentum, and many other instances might be cited.

The relative dimensions of these statues, the gradual dimi. nution in their height, their action, which is a general inclination towards the central point, and the simplicity and larmony of composition, resulting from their arrangement, all tend to prove that these statues were designed for the tym, panum of a temple.

The passage in Pliny,* as it was written by one who may be supposed not to be conversant with technical terms, impugns what has been before laid down, but it is altogether unnecessary to cite it, as these statues may have been arranged at Rome in a manner totally different from that in which they were placed in their original situation from whence they were brought.

These statues, since their discovery in 1583, have heen considered by the antiquarians as an interesting subject of discussion, both by reason of their perfect preservation, and of their extraordinary excellence as works of art; and it is singular that the authority of Ovid should have been preferred by them to that of other authors, although no circumstance of his description coincides with these statues, with the exception of the wrestlers, which are however admitted to form no

* Hist. Nat. XXXVI. ch. 9, Par hæsitatio est, in templo Apol. linis Sosiani Nioben cum liberis morientem Scopas an Praxiteles fuerit.



part of the present group, although found at the same time and in the same spot. It should also be remembered that they were executed many centuries before Ovid's time, and doubtless, Scopas and Praxiteles would have preferred the authority of Homer, who gives Niobe only twelve children. In the excavation, with the exception of the two wrestlers, the statues of twelve children only were found, and these were in good preservation ;* fragments of the thirteenth and fourteenth would without doubt have been discovered had they existed; consequently it seems nearly certain, that the total number of the statues, including the mother and the statue No. 10, did not exceed fourteen.

In Mr. Cockerell's design of the composition or restoration only the fourteen figures which were found together in the same excavation have been introduced.

Their disposition is regulated by their heights, which have been accurately measured, and by the form of the tympanum ; and independently of this, it is frequently obvious by the relative connection of the different statues.

From this arrangement a beautiful composition is produced, in which is represented the fable of Niobe. The principles of elegance are completely observed in the group; six figures are symmetrically disposed on each side, presenting a variety of action and expression which produce an admirable contrast, and the composition may be considered as complete.

M. Schlegel, in a paper which he wrote on the subject of Mr. Cockerell's design, expresses his entire assent to the general views of Mr. Cockerell respecting these statues, but questions the place assigned by him to some of them, his assertion that we are in possession of the whole number of statues which formed the original composition; and lastly, the originality of the whole ; that is, whether these

* Mr. Schlegel observes that this is somewhat inaccurate, as several of the statues required considerable restoration, and that some fragments had been collected together.

statues are the production of Scopas, or Praxiteles, or merely a copy. In a remark on the difference in size between the mother and the children, Mr. Schlegel observes, that although it is contrary to the principles of art to employ two different scales for the dimensions of figures in the same compositin, that the same objection arises with respect to the Laocoon and his children, and the Colossal figures on the Monte Cavallo and the horses; but that these incorrectnesses were not accidental, but designed for the production of beauty and a grand effect.

In observing on the different statues, Mr. Schlegel suspects that No. 6 does not belong to the group, considering that statue not to partake of the light and youthful figure of the rest of the children. The statue No. 10, which Fabroni took for Amphion in the dress of a hunter, is also suspected by him. No. 11 is positively rejected as not belonging to the composition, the hair being arranged differently from the rest, and the head is without that general resemblance which appears to pervade the rest, and the figure does not seem to partake of the general action of the group.

Mr. Schlegel closes his paper on the subject with the hope that Mr. Cockerell will speedily give to the public those designs and observations respecting ancient Greece which have so long occupied his attention. In this wish we very heartily concur; and from what we have seen, can safely assert, that notwithstanding the ingenuity and knowledge which have been displayed by Mr. Cockerell, in the dissertation on these celebrated statues, his merits can in no wise be fairly estimated by the work we have noticed.

[ocr errors]

Art. XIII. Select ORCHIDEA from the Cape of Good

Hope. Continued from page 206 of the Fourth Volume

of this Journal. Or Disa porrecta, Disperis secunda, and Disperis capensis,

represented in Plate I. of this Number. : Three interesting Orchideous species are added in this place to the three of the last fasciculus. The drawings of these have been derived from the same source as those of the others, and we shall refer to the article concerning them for the character of the order, and for that of the genus Disa. Plate I. fig. 1. DISA PORRECTA.

Disa porrecta, casque obtuse, conical at the back, spur

subulate outstretched; interior segments with two teeth; label oblong undulated ; spike ovate many

flowered. Disa porrecta. Swartz act. holm. 1800. 211. Id. in Schra

der's neues journal, 1. 27. Willd. sp. pl. 4. 47. A species first recorded by Swartz. We are not aware that it has been even introduced into any European garden. There are indigenous samples of it in the Banksian Herbarium, which were collected by Masson.

Plate 1. fig. 2. DISPERIS CAPENSIS.

DISPERIS. Corolla ringent, 5-parted: three of the seg

ments exterior, upper one of these upright, vaulted, and forming with the two interior lateral ones, which are contiguous to it, either an upright or a depreseed and incumbent casque. 'Two exterior lateral ones pointing forwards, and borizontally divergent, each with a short obtuse pouch or spur that projects downwards: label upright from the base of the column, tapered at the lower part, grown to the parts of fructification, bent back at the top underneath the

very short, oblong-cylindrical. Anther grown to the column at the summit, either upright or reclined, oblong, twocelled; concealed by a veil or curtain from each side of the edge of which a small cartilaginous spirally recurve ed strip is projected towards the front. Pollen-masses, the same as in Orchis, with their footstalks adhering to the two strips of the veil. Stigma in front, near to



the anther. Capsule like most others in the order. Obs. The name is compounded of doo, bis, and nepce, a pouch, the two exterior lateral segments of the corolla having each a small obluse pouch or spur. The genus comes very near to PTERYGODIUM, but differs in having these pouches, as well as by the insertion of the label, besides having another shaped anther, and a differently situated stigma,

Disa capensis, stem two-leaved, one flowered; leaves lan

ceolate. Disperis capensis. Swartz act. holm. 1800. 220. Id. in

Schrader's neues journal. 1. 40. Willd. sp. pl. 4. 59. Arethusa capensis. Linn. suppl. 405. Thunb. prod. 3. Said to grow on the Table Mountain. The genus is perhaps one of the most singular of the order. We know of no species of it that has been introduced into any European garden; or that has been represented by a published figure. Specimens of the present are preserved in the Banksian Herbarium.

Plate I, fig. 3. DISPERIS SECUNDA.

Disperis secunda, stem two-leaved, many flowered, leaves

linear : flowers pointing one way.
Disperis secunda. Swartz act. holm. 1800. 220. Id. in

Schrader's neues journal. 1. 40. Willd, sp. pl. 4. 60.
Arethusa secunda. Thunb. prod. 3.
Ophrys circumflexa. Lin. sp. pl. ed. 2. 2. 1344. Amæn.

acad. 6, afr. 95. The Banksian Herbarium contains indigenous samples of the species, collected by Masson.

« PreviousContinue »