« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
cution of this piece, in the highest terms of praife, obferved that, had the figure of Laocoon been alone, it would have been perfect. As a man fuffering the most excruciating bodily pain with becoming fortitude, it admits of no improvement; his proportions, his form, his action, his expreffion, are exquifite. But when his fons appear, he is no longer an infulated, fuffering individual, who, when he has met pain and death with dignity, has done all that could be expected from man; he commences father, and a much wider field is opened to the artist. We expect the deepest pathos in the exhibition of the fublimeft character that art can offer to the contemplation of the human mind: A father forgetting pain, and inftant death, to fave his children. This Sublime and Pa-thetic the artift either did not fee, or defpaired of attaining. Laocoon's fufferings are merely corporal; he is deaf to the cries of his agonizing children, who are calling VOL. II. с
on him for affiftance. But had he been throwing a look of anguish upon his fons, had he seemed to have forgotten his own fufferings in theirs, he would have commanded the sympathy of the spectator in a much higher degree. On the whole, Mr. Lock was of opinion, that the execution of this groupe is perfect, but that the conception is not equal to the execution. I fhall leave it to others to decide whether Mr. Lock, in thefe obfervations, spoke like a man of taste: I am fure he spoke like a father. I have sensibility to feel the beauty and juftness of the remark, though I had not the ingenuity to make it.
It is difputed whether this groupe was formed from Virgil's defcription of the death of Laocoon and his fons, or the defcription made from the groupe; it is evident, from their minute resemblance, that one or other must have been the cafe. The Poet mentions a circumftance, which could
not be represented by the sculptor; he fays that, although every other person around fought fafety by flight, the father was attacked by the ferpents, while he was advancing to the affiftance of his fons
-auxilio fubeuntem ac tela ferentem *.
This deficiency in the fculptor's art would have been finely fupplied by the improvement which Mr. Lock propofed.
Reflecting on the dreadful condition of three perfons entangled in the horrid twinings of ferpents, and after contemplating the varied anguish fo ftrongly expreffed in their countenances, it is a relief to turn the eye to the heavenly figure of the Apollo. To form an adequate idea of the beauty of this statue, it is abfolutely neceffary to see it. With all the advantages of colour and life, the human form never appeared
* The wretched father running to their aid
fo beautiful; and we never can fufficiently admire the artift, who has endowed marble with a finer expreffion of grace, dignity, and understanding, than ever were seen in living features. In the forming of this inimitable figure, the artist seems to have wrought after an ideal form of beauty, fuperior to any in nature, and which exifted only in his own imagination.
The admired ftatue of Antinous is in the fame Court. Nothing can be more light, elegant, and easy; the proportions are exact, and the execution perfect. It is an exquisite representation of the most beautiful youth that ever lived.
The statue of Apollo reprefents fomething fuperior, and the emotions it excites are all of the fublime caft.
HE prefent Pope, who has affumed the name of Pius the Sixth, is a tall, well-made man, about fixty years of age, but retaining in his look all the freshnefs of a much earlier period of life. He lays a greater ftrefs on the ceremonious part of religion than his predeceffor Ganganelli, in whose reign a great relaxation of church-difcipline is thought to have taken place. The late Pope was a man of moderation, good fenfe, and fimplicity of manners; and could not go through all the oftentatious parade which his station. required, without reluctance, and marks of difguft. He knew that the opinions of mankind had undergone a very great C 3