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THE philosophic sculpture is born of liberty and dies because of it. The slave in Assyria could describe vividly the things he was permitted to see; in Egypt, he could give a definition of form as firm as the discipline which bowed him down, as full of nuances, as moving as the faith which sustained him. The free man alone gives life to the law, lends to science the life of his emotion, and sees that in his own mind we reach the crest of that continuing wave which attaches us to things in their entirety—until the day when science kills his emotion.

The artist of to-day is afraid of words, when he does not fall a victim to them. He is right to refrain from listening to the professional philosopher and especially to refrain from following him. He is wrong to be afraid of passing for a philosopher. Also, if we have no right to forget that Phidias followed the discourses of Anaxagoras, we recognize that he might, without loss, have been ignorant of metaphysics. He looked upon life with simplicity, but what he could see of it developed in him so lucid a comprehension of the relationships which, for the artist, make up its unity and continuity, that minds skillful in generalizing could extract from his work the elements out of which the modern world has come. Phidias formed Socrates [It must be recalled that Socrates worked as a sculptor] and Plato—unknown to themselves, doubtless—when he materialized for them, in the clearest, the most veracious, and the most human of languages, the mysterious affinities which give life to ideas.

We see the philosophic spirit as it is born at the beginning of the fifth century, still hesitating and astonished at the daylight; it appears already in the "Charioteer" and in the statues of Aegina. Sculptural science, which is not obliged to copy form, but rather to establish the planes which reveal the profound law of structure and the conditions of equilibrium of form—sculptural science already exists. The "Charioteer" is as straight as a tree trunk; one feels the framework within it, one sees how it is defined by all its contours. It is a theorem of bronze. But in the folds of its rigid robe, in its narrow bare feet planted flat on the ground, its nervous arm and open fingers, in its muscular shoulders, its broad neck, its fixed eyes, and round cranium, a slow wave circulates which—by somewhat abrupt fits and starts—tries to convey from one plane to another the integrally conceived forces of life which determined these planes. The same implacable surfaces, the same harsh passages, are in the warriors of Aegina, with something more; there is here, in the abstract, a course which leads from one figure to another across empty space, and which thus creates a continuing whole, even if still a troubled one, lacking in suppleness and partaking of the mechanical; but in it an irresistible sense of relationship awakens; the firm flower is only half open, and it demands its full expansion.

There is no break in the conditions we are studying. The plastic evolution and the moral evolution mount in a single pure wave. Antenor has already erected the Tyrannicides on the Agora—the symbolic myths unroll in the frieze of the temples, and the great national wars mingle the divinities with the soldiers, on the pediments of Aegina. The athlete is to become the man, the man is to become the god, until the moment when the artists, having created the god, find in him the elements of a new humanity. Polycleitus and Myron have already taken from the form of the wrestler, the runner, the charioteer, and the discus thrower the idea of those harmonious proportions which shall best define the masculine body in its function of uniting strength, skill, agility, nervous grace, and moral calm. To Polycleitus, the Dorian, belong rude and gathered power, virile harmony in repose; to Myron, the Athenian, belong virile harmony in movement, the vigor in the planes of the muscles, which show in a vibrant silence when the contracted tendons press hard on the head of the bones, when the furrows at the bottom of which repose the nerves and arteries, conveyors of energy, hollow themselves out at the moment when the tendons grow taut. The one establishes the profound architecture of the human body, its strength—like that of a bare column—and its visible symmetry, which the gesture and the modeling scarcely break in order that the theorem may be established upon sensation. The other discovers the theorem in the heart of sensation itself, to which the living arabesque returns as a geometrical abstraction, with the whirl of all its volumes, with the quiver of all its surfaces. By the one, man is described in his stable form, by his vertical frame, by the sheaves of the arm and leg muscles whose precise undulations mark out or mask the skeleton, by his straight belly, broad, sonorous chest, the circle of the collar bones and the shoulder blades carrying the column of the neck, the round head with its glance which continues it without a break. By the other, he is described in his action. It remains for Phidias only to penetrate the statics of Polycleitus with the dynamics of Myron in rounder, fuller masses, defined by planes more broad and more mingled with the light—and he has made the marble glow with a higher life and given a heroic meaning to that form and this action. In a few years, which fly with the swiftness of human imagination, anthropomorphism ripens.

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