ELEFTHERES (Ancient city) ERYTHRES
One of the most celebrated Greek artists of Eleutherae, in Attica, an older contemporary of Phidias and Polyclitus, and, like them, a pupil of Ageladas. His works, chiefly in bronze, were numerous and very varied in subject--gods, heroes, and especially athletes and representations of animals, which were admired by the ancients for their life-like truth to nature. Most famous among these were his statue of the Argive runner Ladas; of Marsyas, of which a marble copy is now in the Lateran at Rome; his "Discobolus," or quoit-thrower, which we are enabled to appreciate in several copies in marble, the best being that in the Palazzo Massimi and one in bronze in the Palazzo Lancelotti in Rome; and his "Cow on the Market-place at Athens," which received the very highest praise among the ancients, was celebrated in thirty-six extant epigrams in the Greek anthology, all quoted in Overbeck's Schriftquellen. 550-588, and may be regarded as his masterpiece. He was also the first to represent what is really a genre portrait in his "Drunken Old Woman"; but this is now attributed to another artist, one Socrates.
This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Dec 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Myron of Eleutherai
Eleutherai was just inside Attica on the Boeotian border, which is why Pausanias (6.8.4, etc.) calls him an Athenian. Once again the only synoptic account of his oeuvre is Pliny's:
Myron was born at Eleutherae and was a pupil of Hageladas. He was particularly famous for his statue of a heifer, celebrated in well-known epigrams -- for most people owe their reputations more to someone else's talent than their own. He also made a dog, a discobolus, a Perseus and the sea-monsters (?), a satyr marveling at the flutes and a Minerva, pentathletes at Delphi, pancratiasts, and a Hercules now in the shrine dedicated by Pompey the Great at the Circus Maximus. Erinna also mentions in her poems that he made a cicada and a locust. He also made an Apollo which Antony the triumvir took from the Ephesians, but the deified Augustus restored it again after being warned in a dream. He seems to have been the first to extend the representation of natural truth, being more rhythmical in his art than Polykleitos and more careful over proportion (symmetria); yet though he was very attentive to the bodies of his figures he does not seem to have expressed the feelings of the mind, and also did not treat the hair and the pubes any more correctly than did the rude art of old.(Pliny, N.H. 34.57-8)
Pliny places him third in the "Xenokratic" sequence of bronze-workers, between Polykleitos (Pliny, N.H. 34.55-6) and Pythagoras (Pliny, N.H. 34.59), and consequently the late Hellenistic source (Pliny, N.H. 35.49-52) gave him a floruit of 420-417; for an explanation as to why, see the commentary (Pliny, N.H. 34.59), above. Contradicted by (a) his supposed apprenticeship to Hageladas (Pausanias 10.10.6); (b) the "histories" of Cicero and Quintilian; (c) his Aeginetan commission (no. 1), presumably pre-dating the Athenian conquest of 457/6; and (d) the activities of his son Lykios in the 440s and 430s (Jeffery 1980b), this erroneous chronology also suggests that his allegedly greater attentiveness to symmetria than -- of all people! -- Polykleitos (Pliny, N.H. 34.57-8) could simply be a rationalization introduced by Xenokrates or Varro (Pliny, N.H. 34.55-6) to save this evolutionary scheme, rigidly formalistic as it apparently was.
The full list of his works, all bronzes except possibly no. 1 (a xoanon , Paus. 2.30.2) is as follows:
Divinities and mythological groups
- Hekate (single-bodied) in Aegina
- Colossal Zeus, Athena, and Herakles in the Heraion at Samos; removed by Mark Antony; the Athena and Herakles returned by Augustus
- Apollo at Ephesos, removed by Antony but returned by Augustus (Pliny, N.H. 34.57-8)
- Apollo at Akragas, stolen by Verres in 73-70
- Dionysos at Orchomenos, later re-dedicated on Mt. Helikon by Sulla
- Nike killing a bull
- Athena and Marsyas
- Erechtheus at Athens
- Herakles at Messana, stolen by Verres
- Herakles, later in Rome (Pliny, N.H. 34.57-8)
- Perseus, on the Akropolis
- The runner Ladas, perhaps at Argos (Anthologia Palatina 16.54)
- A diskobolos (Pliny, N.H. 34.57-8) & (Lucian, Philopseudes 18)
- The horse breeder Lykinos of Sparta, at Olympia (twice)
- The pankratiast Timanthes of Kleonai, at Olympia
- The boy-boxer Philippos of Pellana, at Olympia
- The hoplite-runner Chionis of Sparta, at Olympia
- Pentathletes and pankratiasts, at Delphi (Pliny, N.H. 34.57-8)
- A dog (Pliny, N.H. 34.57-8)
- A cow, on the Akropolis (Pliny, N.H. 34.57-8), later taken to Rome
- Four oxen, later in Rome
- A sea-monster
- Embossed vessels in silver
The Diskobolos (no. 13; Rome, Terme 126371; Stewart 1990, fig. 300) is the only work identified beyond doubt in the copies, owing to a rare detailed description of one allegedly displayed with the Tyrannicides, Polykleitos's Diadoumenos, and Demetrios' Pellichos (Stewart 1990, figs. 227-31; 383-85; Lucian, Philopseudes 18, with commentary) in a house in Athens:
"When you came in the hall," he said, "didn't you notice a totally gorgeous statue up there, by Demetrios the portraitist?" "Surely you don't mean the discus-thrower," said I, "the one bent over into the throwing-position, with his head turned back to the hand that holds the discus, and the opposite knee slightly flexed, like one who will spring up again after the throw?" "Not that one, he said, that's one of Myron's works, that Diskobolos you speak of..." (Lucian, Philopseudes 18)
On the Athena and Marsyas, often identified as a group after Paus. 1.24.1, see Stewart 1990, 147, figs. 290-91, and the copy Louvre 2208; as for the others, optimists have recognized nos. 2, 8, 10, and 11 in Roman copies (though the Perseus is just as regularly given to Pythagoras), while Mingazzini 1972-3 and others attribute nos. 12 and 16 to namesakes of the Hellenistic period (contra e.g. Moretti 1957, nos. 260, 319, 529, 535). These individuals are shadowy figures at best: one, the Myron "of Thebes" whose signatures graced a dedication at Pergamon (along with Praxiteles' and Xenokrates': Pergamon, 8.1, nos. 135-140) and another found in Rome may well be a Hellenistic fiction perpetuated by locals charged with furnishing new bases for war-booty, for Eleutherai was disputed between Athens and Boeotia. Certainly, the epigrams describing the Ladas are by no means incompatible with early classical experimentation:
Just as you were in life, Ladas, flying before wind-footed Thymos, touching the ground with the tips of your toes, So did Myron cast you in bronze, on all of your body Stamping your expectation of an Olympian crown.(Anthologia Palatina 16.54)
On the other hand, Pliny's attribution of a marble "Drunken old Woman" at Smyrna (N.H. 36.32) has been universally rejected, not least because its most unclassical theme recurs in a copy of a work of advanced Hellenistic date, in Rome (Munich 437; Bieber 1961b, 81; Laubscher 1982, 118-21; Stewart 1990, figs. 753-54). To connect this with the Myron of Athens who worked on Delos ca. 140 (Marcade 1957, 57) is tempting but purely arbitrary.
Many have pondered over Myron's signal contribution to Greek sculpture; yet one must remember that in antiquity, though his statues of men were justly renowned (Laterculi Alexandrini 7.3-9), his most famous work was not the Diskobolos but his cow (no. 20), whose realism inspired countless epigrams (Overbeck 1868/1959, nos. 550-591, etc.), mostly vacuous in the extreme. His son Lykios carried on his work, also gaining major commissions at Olympia and Athens.
(Select bibliography: in the URL below)
This extract is from: Andrew Stewart, One Hundred Greek Sculptors: Their Careers and Extant Works. Cited August 2004 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains extracts from the ancient literature, bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
The strength and malleability of bronze allowed innovative sculptors like the Athenian Myron and Polyclitus of Argos to push the development of the free-standing statue to its physical limits. Myron, for example, sculpted a discus thrower crouched at the top of his backswing, a pose far from the relaxed and serene symmetry of early archaic statuary. The figure not only assumes an asymmetrical pose but also seems to burst with the tension of the athlete's effort. Polyclitus' renowned statue of a walking man carrying a spear is posed to give a different impression from every angle of viewing. The feeling of motion it conveys is palpable. The same is true of the famous statue by an unknown sculptor of a female (perhaps the goddess of love Aphrodite) adjusting her diaphanous robe with one upraised arm. The message these statues conveyed to their ancient audience was one of energy, motion, and asymmetry in delicate balance. Archaic statues impressed a viewer with their appearance of stability; not even a hard shove looked likely to budge them. Free-standing statues of the classical period, by contrast, showed greater range in a variety of poses and impressions. The spirited movement of some of these statues suggests the energy of the times but also the possibility of change and instability.
Myron was a Greek sculptor of the middle of the 5th century BC. He
was born at Eleutherae on the borders of Boeotia
He worked almost exclusively in bronze: and though he made some statues of gods and heroes, his fame rested principally upon his representations of athletes, in which he made a revolution, by introducing greater boldness of pose and a more perfect rhythm. His most famous works according to Pliny were a cow, Ladas the runner, who fell dead at the moment of victory, and a discus thrower. We are fortunate in possessing several copies of the discobolus, of which the best is in the Massimi palace at Rome. The athlete is represented at the moment when he has swung back the discus with the full stretch of his arm, and is about to hurl it with the full weight of his body.
The ancient critics say of Myron that, while he succeeded admirably in giving life and motion to his figures, he did not succeed in rendering the emotions of the mind. This agrees with the extant evidence, in a certain degree, though not perfectly. The bodies of his men are of far greater excellence than the heads. The face of the Marsyas is almost a mask; but from the attitude we gain a vivid impression of the passions which sway him. The face of the discus-thrower is calm and unruffled; but all the muscles of his body are concentrated in an effort.
A recently discovered papyrus from Egypt informs us that Myron made statues of the athlete Timanthes, victorious at Olympia in 456 BC, and of Lycinus, victorious in 448 and 444. This helps us to fix his date. He was a somewhat older contemporary of Pheidias and Polyclitus.
This extract is cited July 2003 from the Malaspina Great Books URL below, which contains image.
Myron (Muron), one of the most celebrated of the Greek statuaries, and also a
sculptor and engraver, was born at Eleutherae, in Boeotia, about B. C. 480. (Plin.
H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19.3) Pausanias calls him an Athenian, because Eleutherae had
been admitted to the Athenian franchise. He was the disciple of Ageladas, the
fellow-disciple of Polycleitus, and a younger contemporary of Phi dias. Pliny
gives for the time when he flourished the 87th Olympiad, or B. C. 431, the time
of the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. (H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19.)
The chief characteristic of Myron seems to have been his power of expressing a great variety of forms. Not content with the human figure in its most difficult and momentary attitudes, he directed his art towards various other animals, and he seems to have been the first great artist who did so. To this characteristic Pliny no doubt refers, when he says, Primus hic nmultiplicasse veritatem videtur, numerosior quam Polycletus (l. c.3). To this love of variety he seems in some degree to have sacrificed accuracy of proportion and intellectual expression. (Plin. l. c.; comp. Cic. Brut. 18.) Neither did he pay much attention to minute details, distinct from the general effect, such as the hair, in which he seems to have followed, almost closely, the ancient conventional forms.
Quinctilian (xii. 10) speaks of his works as softer than those of Callon, Hegesias, and Calamis. The author of the Rhetorica ad Herennium (iv. 6) speaks of his heads as especially admirable.
Myron's great works were nearly all in bronze, of which he used the variety called Delian, while Polycleitus preferred the Aeginetan. (Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 2. s. 5; Dict. of Antiq. s. v. ues.)
The most celebrated of his statues were his Discobolus and his Cow. The encomiums lavished by various ancient writers on the latter work might surprise us if we did not remember how much more admiration is excited in a certain stage of taste by the accurate imitation of an object out of the usual range of high art, than by the most beautiful ideal representation of men or gods; and there can be no doubt that it was almost a perfect work of its kind. Still the novelty of the subject was undoubtedly its great charm, which caused it to be placed at the head of Myron's works, and celebrated in many popular verses. Pliny says of it: " Myronem bucula maxime nobilitavit, celebratis versibus laudata." The Greek Anthology contains no less than thirty-six epigrams upon it, which, with other passages in its praise, are collected by Sontag in the Unterhaltungen fur Freunde der alten Literatur, pp. 100-119. Perhaps the best, at least the most expressive of the kind of admiration it excited, is the following epigram, which is one out of several epigrams on Myron's Cow by Ausonius (Epig. 58.):--
"Bucula sum, caelo gentoris facta Myronis Aerea; nec factam me puto, sed genitam.
Sic me taurus init: sic proxinma bucula mugit : Sic vitulus sitiens ubera nostra petit.
Miraris, quod fallo gregem? Greis ipse magister
Inter pascentes me numerare solet.'
These epigrams give us some of the details of the figure. The cow was represented as lowing and the statue was placed on a marble base, in the centre of the largest open place in Athens, where it still stood in the time of Cicero (Cic. in Verr. iv. 60). In the time of Pausanias it was no longer there; it must have been removed to Rome, where it was still to be seen in the temple of Peace, in the time of Procopius (Bell. Goth. iv. 21).
A work of higher art, and far more interesting to us, was his Discobolus, of which there are several marble copies in existence. It is true that we cannot prove by testimony that any of these alleged copies were really taken from Myron's work, or from imitations of it; but the resemblance between them, the fame of the original, and the well-known frequency of the practice of making such marble copies of celebrated bronzes, all concur to put the question beyond reasonable doubt. Of these copies we have the good fortune to possess one, in the Townley Gallery of the British Museum, which was found in the grounds of Hadrian's Tiburtine Villa, in 1791: another, found on the Esquiline in 1782, is in the Villa Massimi at Rome: a third, found in Hadrian's Villa, in 1793, is in the Vatican Museum; a fourth, restored as a gladiator, is in the Capitoline Museum. To these may, in all probability, be added (5) a torso, restored as one of the sons of Niobe, in the gallery at Florence; (6) the torso of an Endymion in the same gallery; (7) a figure restored as a Diomed, and (8) a bronze in the gallery at Munich (Muller, in the Amalthea, vol. iii. p. 243). The original statue is mentioned by Quinctilian and Lucian. The former dilates upon the novelty and difficulty of its attitude, and the triumph of the artist in representing such an attitude, even though the work may not be in all respects accurate (ii. 13). Lucian gives a much more exact description: -Mon ton diskeuonta, en d ego, pheis, ton epikeknphota kata to chema tes apheseos, apestrammenon eis to diskophoron, erema oklazonta doi heteroi, eoikota xunastesomenoi meta tes boles ; ouk ekeinon, n d hos, epei kai Muronos ergon en kai touto estin, ho diskthbolos dn legeis. We have given the passage at length in order to make manifest the absurdity of supposing that the figure was not in the action of throwing the quoit, but merely stretching back the hand to receive the quoit from some imaginary attendant who held it (ton diskophoron). The real meaning is that the head was turned round backwards towards the hand which held the quoit. The two most perfect copies, the Townley and the Massimi, agree with Lucian's description, except that the former has the head in quite a different position, bending down forwards. Barry preferred this position; but the attitude described by Lucian, and seen in the Massimi statue, gives a better balance to the figure. There is, also, great reason to doubt whether the head of the Townley statue really belongs to it. On the whole, the Massimi copy is the best of all, and probably the most faithful to the original.
Of Myron's other works Pliny (xxxiv. 8. s. 19.3) enumerates the following : a dog; Perseus, which Pausanias saw in the Acropolis at Athens (i. 23.8); sea-monsters (pristas, see Bottiger, inf. cit.); a satyr admiring a double flute and Minerva, probably a group descriptive of the story of Marsyas; Delphic pentathletes; pancratiasts; a Hercules, which, in Pliny's time, was in the temple of Pompey, by the Circus Maximus; and an Apollo, which was taken away from the Ephesians by M. Antonius, and restored to them by Augustus, in obedience to an admonition in a dream. The words in the passage of Pliny, fecisse et cicadae monumentum ac locustae carminibus suis Erinna siynifieat, are a gross blunder, which Pliny made by mistaking the name of the poetess Myro in an epigram by Anyte (or Erinna, Anth. Pal. vii. 190) for that of the sculptor Myron.
In addition to Pliny's account, the following works of Myron are mentioned by other writers: Colossal statues of Zeus, Hera, and Heracles, at Samos, the three statues on one base. They were removed by M. Antonius, but restored by Augustus, except the Zeus, which he placed on the Capitol and built a shrine for it (Strab. xiv.). A Dionysius in Helicon, dedicated by Sulla (Paus. ix. 30.1). A Hercules, which Verres took from Heius the Mamertine (Cic. Verr. iv. 3). A bronze Apollo, with the name of the artist worked into the thigh, in minute silver letters, dedicated in the shrine of Aesculapius at Agrigentum by P. Scipio, and taken away by Verres (Cic. Verr. iv. 43). A wooden statue of Hecate, in Aegina. (Paus. ii. 20.2). Several statues of athletes (See Sillig, s. v.). Lastly, a striking indication how far Myron's love of variety led him beyond the true limits of art, a drunken old woman, in marble, at Smyrna, which of course, according to Pliny, was inprimis inclyta (Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 5. s. 4). His Cow was not his only celebrated work of the kind: there were four oxen, which Augustus dedicated in the portico of the temple of Apollo on the Palatine, B. C. 28 (Propert. ii. 23. 7); and a calf carrying Victory, derided by Tatian.
He was also an engraver in metals: a celebrated patera of his is mentioned by Martial (vi. 92).
Nothing is known of Myron's life except that, according to Petronius (88), he died in great poverty. He had a son, Lyclus, who was a distinguished artist.
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited July 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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