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two women turning away from each other; 17, a woman turning her back to a man who stands to front; 13, a woman standing to front and a youth turning away a little ; 14, a woman to the front and a youth rushing away in fear, not of her, obviously, but of something which is happening outside. In short, we have in these central metopes a peaceful scene which is beginning to be broken into by a disturbance from without.
The disturbance has, in fact, begun very seriously. Already five of the Lapith maidens have been seized by Centaurs and carried outside, two on the left of the central group, 10 and 12, and three on the right, 22, 25, and 29. The danger is close at hand. In one instance, 22, the Lapith maiden is being seized hold of at the very side of her two sisters, who approach the sacred image for protection, 21. Of these two, possibly the one on the right with her breast bare has just escaped. The earliest victim was doubtless the one farthest from the centre on the right, 29, which metope we possess in the Museum. The Centaur has had time to throw her up in his arms and make off. In the instances nearer the centre the action is less complete, and in the metope nearest the centre the scene is almost sentimental. Thus a certain gradation of effect seems to have been intended.
In preparing a series of detached groups of sculpture such as the metopes of a Doric temple, it was a difficult task for a sculptor to find some common bond of union for them all. In the temple of Zeus at Olympia there were only twelve metopes.
In that case, the twelve labours of Heracles supplied a satisfactory bond of union, and were
appropriate to a national temple. On the Theseum, as it is called, at Athens, the labours of Theseus suggested themselves naturally for the metopes, but as these labours could not be multiplied so as to extend round the whole building, the side metopes were left blank. The archaic metopes which have survived from the Doric temples of Selinus in Sicily appear to have little connection with each other. But there is a wide difference between archaic times, when legends of doughty deeds were so much in favour as to need little coherency one with the other, and the comparatively later times of the Parthenon, when the Greek mind had become more critical, demanding at every turn cause, origin, or association of ideas. On the short ends of the Parthenon, each with only fourteen metopes, we see how one subject could be divided up into the required number of detached groups with no artistic bond uniting them. On the west end was the Amazonomachia, and on the east the Gigantomachia. In these instances the continuity of the subject must have been easily recognisable from the well-known types and attributes of the deities as compared with the giants. The Amazons wearing their peculiar dress and mounted on horseback could be equally well distinguished from the Greeks fighting on foot. But when it came to the long sides of the Parthenon, each with its thirty-two metopes, the problem assumed proportions which it had never reached before. For the first time in art a magnificent effort was made to introduce an artistic centre to the whole series, which should serve obviously as at once cause and effect. The archaic idea of any number of separate legendary groups collected together without any
association except as legends was brought to an end by Pheidias when he applied to it the rationalising spirit of his day on the Parthenon, giving to the whole series of south metopes an artistic unity which was dependent on the central group.
No wonder that thereafter we see little of metopes on Greek temples.
We may now examine in detail the Centaur metopes which have survived from the south side of the Parthenon. One would almost have expected that the Centaurs on the left would have rushed uniformly to the left, those on the right to the right. But the sculptor's conception of the scene appears rather to have been that of a general scrimmage. Accordingly, when we look at the series as a whole, they seem to throw themselves into pairs set back to back (1, 2), or face to face (2, 3), while again two groups may be regarded as following one after the other (3, 4). Nos. 4, 5 again present the scheme of back to back. The result is a sense of balance and harmony in the composition, which is greatly aided by the several groups being kept in profile as far as possible, while at the same time the general idea of a scrimmage is kept in view by the irregularity with which the confronting and opposing groups follow each other.
In the Centaur groups in the British Museum the figures are sculptured in very high relief. In some parts they are entirely severed from the background. There are certain marked differences. For instance, most of the metopes keep the forms of the Centaur and Lapith, though they are in close conflict, as separate as possible, the contours of each figure showing against deep shadow. In some
instances the effect seems spotty and unpleasant in the diffused light of the Elgin Room. In the open air, for which the metopes were intended, there would doubtless have been no such effect. But the light which was probably good for these particular metopes could not have been equally so for others on the same wall, where only the outer contours of the group show against deep shadow, as in 2. Here the mass of the group is as high in relief as in the other metopes, yet within the general outline of the group there is a marked avoidance of strongly rounded forms. The Lapith is pressed close to the Centaur in such a manner that the two together convey the impression of a low relief, detachable from the background and brought forward in a mass, as if the intention of the sculptor had been to get rid of those strong inner shadows which characterise the other metopes we have referred to. The comparative flatness of this group is the more noticeable because the body of the Centaur is actually kept flatter than the others to allow the legs of the Lapith to come in front of it; while again the head of the Centaur, instead of being set against deep shadow, is set against the mantle of the Lapith, the folds of which occupy to a large extent the place of the shadow. But as a whole it is like a Greek bronze relief, in which the figures have been embossed in a separate piece and then soldered on to a flat background. In such bronze reliefs it was necessary to keep the figures as close and compact as possible; in the marble it was not so. In any case, we must allow that a sculptor who had to produce no less than twenty-three metopes—each with exactly the same subject of
a combat of a Lapith and a Centaur, no more and no less, and all visible at once-must have had a hard task to invent variety in his groups. Each metope was of exactly the same size, and separated from the others by exactly the same space. Since Carrey's time this metope has lost the two nearer legs of the Centaur.
Among other instances of this same spirit of avoiding strong shadows within the general contour we may notice 8, 9, and 29, in the British Museum, 10 in Paris, and 12 in Athens. In 8 the Lapith is being forced down to the ground on one knee. In Carrey's drawing the Lapith still has his head, and the Centaur his human body and head. But observe how the space between the chest of the Centaur and the body of the Lapith, where ordinarily there would be a deep mass of shadow, is filled in by soft drapery, with folds just enough marked to indicate a contrast between the human forms of both Lapith and Centaur. In this metope there is much to admire in the rendering of the torso of the Lapith and his bent right leg. In 9 we have almost the same effect, the space between the Centaur and the Lapith being occupied by drapery, which is here rather more strongly marked in its folds, and is employed also, as we see behind the Lapith, to cover partially the upturned vase on which he has fallen. In Carrey both heads are complete, as well as the left arm of the Centaur, with his hand seizing the left leg of the Lapith to tip him over. It is curious to see the Lapith falling on an upturned vase before the attack of the Centaur. It is not a very natural position, but it gave the sculptor an opportunity of creating a new