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gave a stimulus to portrait-painting. They selected in preference for representation those myths which gave the largest scope for the delineation of the feelings, and especially those in which the passion of love played a prominent part. Stories of a sentimental character, such as those of Narcissus, Cyparissus, Hyacinthus, now appear for the first time in art. This whole tendency is reflected in the Pompeian paintings, and gives them their priceless interest, as it enables us to trace them back to a special period of Greek
being on the same level. Some of the dividuality in the countenance, and this mythological compositions have been found, not only at Pompeii but in other Roman ruins, and seem to have been the common property of the Roman world and to have had a common origin. But though these were also executed on the spot, the greater part of them were evidently not designed in the Roman Empire. With few exceptions, such as the Death of Sophonisba, the only historical subject, Venus coming down to the wounded Æneas, and one or two others, the subjects are all Greek. Some of them have Greek inscriptions and other characteristics art. which all point to a Greek origin. This confirms what Pliny and other contemporary writers say of the condition of art in their day. When Pliny speaks of painting as a dying art, it is evident that he means that the creative power was exhausted; for the frescoes found at Pompeii and in other Roman ruins show that the execution, in decorative art at least, was still on a high level.
The period of Greek art to which the compositions can be specially traced is that of Alexander the Great and his successors. It was in his time that the Athenians began to ornament their houses, which in the days of Pericles had been of an austere simplicity. While hitherto all the splendor of art had been bestowed on the temples and public buildings, the painters now began to paint small panel pictures for the private houses. At a later period these were replaced by imitations introduced into the wall-decoration itself, such as we see at Pompeii, a much less costly process, which was very generally adopted. It probably originated in Alexandria, the seat of Hellenic culture under Alexander's successors, and spread | from thence by degrees over the whole Roman world, into the palaces of the Cæsars as well as the private houses. The subjects of the compositions have all the characteristics of the Alexandrine age. Since the great days of Pericles, art had entered on a new phase. The sublime but severe character of the art of Phidias had been softened by the genius of Scopas and Praxiteles, and the expression of the emotions had now become the study of the sculptor and the painter. The gods Zeus, Athene, Hera were less frequently represented than Demeter, Dionysus, Eros, whose cult had developed later and was more in touch with human life and human nature. The artists had not abandoned their ideals, but they rendered them more human. They accentuated the in
We vainly try to imagine what painting was in the days of Phidias, when Polygnotus covered the walls of the Lesche at Delphi with those great compositions which were never equalled for elevation of thought, though the technique was still in its infancy; or at a later period when Zeuxis and Apelles brought the art of painting to its highest development in Greece. But as the afterglow on the mountains reflects the rays of the sun long after it has set, so we can at least trace in the Pompeian paintings a distant reflection of Greek art in its last great days and in its glorious decline. The compositions often repeat themselves with slight variations and can occasionally be traced to some great original of which we know the existence through Pliny, Pausanias, or other writers-as, for example, Medea meditating the murder of her children. We know that Medea was painted by Timomachus from Byzantium, the last great painter of the period of the Diadochi, and that this picture and another by him, representing Ajax, were afterwards sold to Cæsar and placed in the Temple of Venus in Rome. Timomachus died before Medea was finished, but the picture was valued all the more for being the last work of a great master. The same subject had been treated by Aristolaus, an earlier painter, who was known for the severity of his style; but the Medea of Timomachus was the most celebrated and most likely to be reproduced, according to that principle in ancient art by which all that was best was constantly copied; and it is generally believed to have inspired the representations from Pompeii and Herculaneum. Two of these have been much discussed. In the Pompeian one, Medea is represented standing with a sword in her left hand and grasping the hilt with her right; the unconscious children are playing at knucklebones, while the old pedagogue looks in through a
doorway. In the representation from Herculaneum she is seen alone, holding the hilt of the upturned sword between her folded hands. This attitude is more in harmony with the expression of irresolution on her face, and has therefore been thought to come nearest the original of Timomachus; and she is also represented in this way on a gem. In other respects the two figures are very much alike. The fierce struggle of her passions is rendered with great force, and with all the sense of measure and dignity which characterized Greek art. The painter Donner, who made a study of the technical part of the Campanian pictures, found traces of joints, showing that this Medea formed part of a larger composition, so that, in all probability, the children were included.
In later excavations at Pompeii another Medea has been found which deviates in many ways from the former type. She is seated in sombre meditation, leaning her head on one hand and holding with the other a sheathed sword that rests on the ground. The children are playing at knucklebones, and one of them runs up to her. The pedagogue looks in through a window, stern and watchful. Dramatic as the composition is, it does not compare with the former ones, and Presuhn's suggestion that it may be a reminiscence of the Medea of Timomachus is therefore less probable.
The frescoes representing Perseus and Andromeda, Achilles at Scyros, Achilles giving up Briseis, the abandoned Ariadne, the death of Laocoon, Pero and Cimon, are no doubt more or less reproductions of famous masterpieces as well as the celebrated dancers. This explains the fact that the composition is generally superior to the execution. The sacrifice of Iphigenia is one of the few pictures which preserve a tradition of an earlier period than the Alexandrine, in the veiled Agamemnon of Timanthes. The composition could not, however, be a copy of that great master; for, if we may believe Pliny's description, Timanthes represented Iphigenia standing near the altar, a noble and ready victim, like the Iphigenia of Euripides, while in the Pompeian painting she is carried, the artist following in this the tradition of Eschylus in the Agamemnon. The figures in the paintings are small, with a few exceptions, such as Diana and Actæon, Hercules and Omphale, Venus and Adonis, which are the natural size, or somewhat above it.
C. O. Müller has suggested that the majority of the Pompeian paintings which
have been chiefly found in the private houses, correspond to the various phases of human life, and belong to the cycle of Dionysus with his following of centaurs, satyrs, bacchantes; that of Aphrodite and the Erotes, and that of Apollo and the Muses, representing the idealized pleasures of the senses, of the heart, of the intellect. But as in life these are all interwoven, so we find Bacchus and Eros, Eros and Apollo, frequently together. Thus in the immortal "Dithyrambe."
Nimmer, das glaubt mir, erscheinen die
Phöbus, der Herrliche, findet sich ein.
The Bacchic representations occur most frequently, and both German and Italian investigators have remarked that there is scarcely a house in Pompeii where there is not some representation which refers to the worship of that divinity. This cor roborates what we know from other sources of the ascendency of the religion of Bacchus in southern Italy. Introduced at an early time by the Greek colonist with the culture of the vine, it was at a later period adopted simultaneously by the Etruscans and Romans, but it always flourished most in southern Italy owing to its volcanic soil being peculiarly suita ble to the growth of the tree of Bacchus. Already Sophocles speaks of the sway Bacchus held over Italy, and we read in Plato's laws that the whole town of Tarentum- —a Dorian colony was intoxicated during the Dionysiac festivals. Various myths point in the same direction. Bacchus and Ceres were disputing the possession of Campania. Dionysus, after conquering the Tyrrhenian pirates, had left his old satyrs on the Italic shores to cultivate the vine there. The vases in the tombs abound in Bacchic subjects, and Böttiger's theory that they were given as tokens to the initiated, and buried with them as precious possessions which had a significance for their future life, is not an improbable one. The worship in southern Italy had a strong mystic side, and its festivals were celebrated with great pomp.
Among the Etruscans first, and afterwards among the Romans, the Bacchic festivals degenerated into scenes of immorality and licentiousness, and in 186 B.C. they were abolished throughout Italy by the Roman Senate. About the same pe
riod the Egyptian cults were introduced guide for its origin and chronology. The from Alexandria into Italy, and found an | fact of its first appearing in Greek art in eager reception. The cult of Isis did not Alexander's time, when so many Oriental penetrate to Rome till Sulla's time, about ideas were imported into Greece, might 80 B.C., but the original temple of Isis at easily lead one astray regarding its origin. Pompeii, of which but little remains, ex- The Christians adopted the nimbus, but isted as early as the second century. It there are few, if any, examples earlier than was restored after the earthquake in the Constantine. The nimbus recurs several latest style, and it is a significant fact that times at Pompeii, and has been found it was the only temple which had been round the heads of Jupiter, Apollo, Ceres, entirely, or almost entirely, restored when Venus, Selene, Ariadne, Hypnos, Leda, the eruption took place. From the mys. Circe, Phrixus, and Scopia the personificateries of Bacchus to the mysteries of Isis tion of the mountain, as well as round the there was but a step. The ceremonies of head of Bacchus. The color is sometimes initiation must have had many points in blue, sometimes yellow or white, but this common. Osiris had been identified with is determined by purely artistic consideraBacchus, and it is not surprising to find tions. A curious instance of the blue a statue of Bacchus in the temple of Isis. nimbus may be seen in an old Roman Of the original earnestness of the reli- mosaic pavement in the triclinium of a gion of Dionysus but little survives at Roman villa at Bignor, in Sussex, where Pompeii, except here and there the noble a female head-probably an Ariadne type of the face. The meaning of the old was found surrounded with it. A Bacchus religion was gone art had turned it to head with the nimbus was found in a simits own purposes. Bacchus is chiefly rep-ilar pavement at Avenches in Switzerland. resented as the god of the vine, and his type is that of the young and beardless god which was adopted in Greek art in the fourth century B.C., when Praxiteles gave it its ideal form. In the old Greek colonies we find the earlier type of the venerable bearded Bacchus, which continued to subsist more or less by the side of the later and more prevalent one. The coins of Naxos in Sicily show the two types, and on those dating from the end of the fifth century the earliest known representation of the youthful Bacchus may be
A remarkable picture of the young god on an ivory throne, with one hand stretched out, the other holding the thyrsus, was found in the house of Apollo at Pompeii. This preserves in its majestic appearance the best traditions of Hellenistic art, and it is interesting from having the nimbus, which was also found round the heads of the figures on each side Apollo and Venus.
The nimbus was first introduced into Greek art in Alexander's time, and was placed round the heads of divinities, heroes, magicians, personified constellations, and, at a later period, of kings and emperors. Stephani shows that, though the idea of the supernatural light or glory surrounding the divinity undoubtedly existed previously, it was first expressed in art by the Greeks, and that all the Oriental rep. resentations of it - Brahman, Buddhist, Egyptian-are of Greco-Roman_origin. In sculpture the nimbus occurs but seldom, as it was not suitable for plastic treatment, and the coins are the chief
These are believed to be of the same period Vespasian or Titus and to have been executed by the same hand.
Ariadne, who was so closely connected with the worship of Bacchus, is also frequently found on the Pompeian walls. According to the myth her birthplace was Crete, where she was originally worshipped as a nature goddess. It was there that Dædalus, the earliest Greek artist, constructed the "dancing place for Ariadne of the lovely tresses," and likewise the labyrinth into which Theseus went to fight the Minotaur. Ariadne giving Theseus the clue which, according to Virgil, Dædalus himself had procured for her, is rarely found in ancient art, and only three times at Pompeii, but the abandoned Ariadne on the shores of Naxos occurs very often. Sometimes she may be seen with a weeping cupid by her side, and a female figure- believed to be Nemesis
pointing to the ship which carries off Theseus. Or she is represented asleep with her right arm round her head like the well-known Ariadne in the Vatican, while Bacchus approaches, followed by Silenus, Pan, satyrs, and bacchantes. That graceful figure of the sleeping Ariadne so frequently reproduced in sculpture as well as in painting, is traced back to an original painting in the temple of Dionysus at Athens, described by Pausanias, and probably a work of the fourth century B.C. It became a favorite subject on the Roman sarcophagi, not only because it belonged to the Bacchic representations, which symbolized the happiness
that awaited the iniatiated, but more espe- | ject frequently recurs in bas-relief, on cially because the sleeping Ariadne, wak- coins and gems as well as in painting. ened by the god, was in itself one of those The representations of Andromeda and beautiful images under which the Romans Perseus looking at the reflection of the liked to symbolize death. Gorgon's head in the water, have the idyllic character which is preponderant in the Pompeian paintings, and which reflects the spirit of art and poetry in the Hellenistic age.
fine mosaic pavement they chain up the lion and taunt him with his defeat. The Erotes, or Loves, as small winged boys, were a development of the Hellenistic period, following on the noble type of Eros as a youth, which had been perfected in the fourth century. Scenes from daily life in which the Erotes were the actors were favorite representations, and are often found at Pompeii. Thus we see these charming winged boys leave their bows and arrows and give mankind a respite, to work as shoemakers and carpenters, like the boys of a modern industrial school. Where Eros is, Psyche is not far distant, and they frequently appear together either as aërial figures or in idealized scenes of daily life, such as weaving wreaths or playing on musical instruments.
The crown which Bacchus gave her was put among the constellations; hence she is frequently surrounded with the nimbus. No less remarkable than these representations of Bacchus and Ariadne are those Cupids are prominent figures on the of Perseus and Andromeda. One of these, Pompeian frescoes. They animate the Perseus leading Andromeda gently down scene and give it a greater significance. from the rock, while the sea-monster lies They play with the club of Hercules, with expiring in the water at their feet, has the armor of Mars. They weep over the been traced by various critics and more wounded Adonis, and over the infidelity of especially by Helbig to an original of the Theseus. One cupid fights with Pan; painter Nicias who lived in Alexander the another is loaded with fetters by Venus. Great's time. Pliny mentions among his They are put in a cage and held up by the paintings an Andromeda and an Io. Both wings for sale. It was one of these these subjects have been found at Pompeii. charming pictures, the sale of the Cupids, Argus watching Io was in all probability found at Stabiæ and at Pompeii, which the counterpart of Perseus and Androm-inspired Goethe's little poem "Wer kauft eda the one heroine just delivered, the Liebesgötter," and Thorwaldsen's beautiother waiting for deliverance and in ful bas-relief, "The Ages of Love." In a the representation of Argus as a delicate youth, instead of the traditional giant, we find those characteristics which Pausanias noticed in one of the works of that painter at Amyclae. Nicias began his career when that of Praxiteles was drawing to a close, and according to Pliny, Praxiteles was assisted by him in painting his statues, and attached special value to his coloring (circumlitio). At such a school Nicias himself no doubt developed those qualities for which he became celebrated, bringing his forms into strong relief by a careful treatment of light and shade. He possessed that subtle delicacy of perception which made him a great painter of women, and he also excelled in painting dogs. So intense was his absorption in his art that he had frequently to ascertain from his servants whether he had had his The subjects of the frescoes usually bath and his meals. We have no means bear some relation to the uses of the of knowing how Nicias represented his rooms. This was in accordance with that Andromeda. Raoul-Rochette took her to sense of harmony which the Greeks carbe one of those single figures like the ried into all the details of life. The AlaHelen of Zeuxis, the Aphrodite of Apelles, bandines in Caria were criticised, says on which the great painters of Greece Vitruvius, the Roman architect, for placliked to spend all their science of drawing, ing in their gymnasium statues "in the all their power of expression, all their attitude of pleading causes, while those charm of execution," but tradition says that in the forum are holding the discus or Nicias attached great importance to the running or playing with balls." Fruit, selection of compositions which combined vegetables, and Bacchic subjects are fre many dramatic elements, and it is there- quently found in the triclinia, gardens, and fore most probable that his Andromeda landscapes in the peristylia, representawas the centre figure of a great compositions of various myths in the atria and tion. However this may be, there can be exedræ, and Zahn suggested ingeniously no doubt that the Pompeian painting must that it was probably a bedroom in which be traced back to some great original. were found those two beautiful aërial figThis is borne out by the fact that the sub- | ures on a black ground, one of which
seems to rise buoyantly upwards and to typify wakening, while the other gently descends as if to sink to rest; but truth obliges us reluctantly to give up this poetical interpretation, for Fiorelli has, no doubt, good reason for calling the room a triclinium, and the two figures have been named bacchantes. Between them was the picture which the Academicians have called the " Wedding of Zephyrus and Flora," but which other good authorities, including Zahn, have believed to be the "Wedding of Pasithea and the God of Sleep." According to the received version, Flora lies asleep leaning on a draped figure with large black wings and a bluish radiated nimbus, holding a branch of red flowers and representing Hypnos, the god of sleep. It is so doubtful whether this figure is male or female that some have believed her to be Pasithea; but the latter, though mentioned as the bride of the god of sleep, is never called the goddess of sleep herself. Zephyrus comes down supported by two cupids, and a figure on a rock draws a drapery over the whole scene. If Pasithea is substituted for Flora, the winged figure on which she leans would represent Selene, the goddess of the moon. This picture has been much discussed, and various other interpretations of the subject have been given. Raoul-Rochette believed it to be Mars appearing in a dream to the vestal virgin, Rhea Silvia, but this is not probable as Roman subjects are very rare at Pompeii. Whatever may have been in the mind of the painter, it is one of the finest of the Pompeian pictures. Neither Correggio nor Albano, says the account in the journals of the excavation, have produced anything that excels the grace and beauty of the "puttini." Owing to a rainfall in the night before the excavation on November 6, 1826, the colors of the whole wall appeared in all their pristine freshness to the admiring eyes of those who were present.
The aërial figures form a large part of the Pompeian decorations. The lightness and buoyancy with which they are poised in the air are incomparably beautiful. Some of them have large wings to support them. "Creations of the artist's fantasy," says Helbig, "they are free from all the fetters of reality, and belong to those remains of ancient art which are most imbued with the Greek spirit." There is no doubt that they go back to the best period of Greek art, and that they must have been faithfully transmitted through generations. The artists had mastered them
so completely that here we find them at their best. Among these figures are the dancing-girls or bacchantes, and the centaurs, who are represented carrying young men and women, holding musical instruments and the thyrsus, the attribute of Bacchus. The centaur, a product of pure Greek art, is a remarkable instance of the evolution of the art type. Origi. nally a wild race of hunters in Thessaly, they probably became in the Greek imagination assimilated with their horses; but the early attempts to represent their dual nature were exceedingly clumsy, as may be seen on a bas-relief found at Olympia, where Heracles is seen pursuing a limping monster composed of a human body combined with the hinder part of a horse. Pausanias was struck with this early type of centaur on the chest of Cypselus at Olympia. On the frieze of a temple at Assos, believed to be of the sixth century, the later centaur type, with the four hoofs and only the bust of a man, has been found side by side with the archaic one, but it was probably not till the age of Phidias that the type was perfected into a homogeneous whole, such as we see it in the Parthenon marbles and on the Pompeian walls.
The great artists of Greece liked to exercise their ingenuity on so subtle a problem. Zeuxis brought it to perfection in a famous painting lost in a shipwreck when brought over to Italy by Sulla but immortalized in a description of Lucian, who saw the copy at Athens. It represented a family of centaurs, and in the female suckling her young, the most beautiful type of womanhood, and that of the finest Thessalian mare were blended together so artfully and imperceptibly that it was impossible to see where the one ended and the other began. At Pompeii we see in turn a furious bacchante kneeling on a centaur, with his arms tied behind him, and lashing him on picture of unbridled passion - and a lovely girl quietly seated on a female centaur- the image of purity and innocence. The centaur teaching a young man to play the lyre is Chiron teaching Achilles. This subject has been found on a larger scale at Herculaneum, and is probably a reminiscence of the famous marble group which in Pliny's time was in the septa in Rome. The same subject appears most appropriately on the shield in the fresco representing Achilles in female attire at Scyros among the daughters of King Lycomedes, when he betrays himself by seizing the arms offered for sale among