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than on the long sides with their more excited movement. Negligence in this, as in other respects, is most apparent on the south side, which, as we have said, was the least likely to be inspected by visitors. On slab xiii. of that side the mane of the horse is good and his action spirited, but his head is too big for his body, and altogether he is a diminutive creature.
We are accustomed to think that a long, flowing tail is a beauty in a horse. But on the whole Parthenon frieze we find at most two or three instances of this. The best is on the west frieze (viii.), where we have the incomparable group of a rearing horse and a man vigorously holding it in, his mantle flapping in the wind. The upper part of the tail is modelled in relief, but the lower part is cut into the background, so as to reproduce an aspect of unsubstantiality. But as for most of the horses, it is both curious and instructive to observe with what anxiety the sculptor has studied to hide their tails behind the oncoming horse. He must have seen that with the multitude of legs he was bent on introducing he could not afford to let the tails of the horses sweep downwards without encroaching on the background of the relief, and leaving too little of it for a clear appreciation of the numerous legs of the horses. Hence his efforts to get rid of the tails somehow. That his artistic instinct was perfectly right in the matter may be gathered from the fact that no one notices the discrepancy of tails. When, however, we have once noticed it, this discrepancy becomes not altogether agreeable. It is unnecessary to specify the various instances, but we may remark that on one slab in particular of the south frieze (xxii.) there is a tail which could not be surpassed for rudeness of execution, and even then it is only a stump, and the same may be said of another (xix.). Be it remembered, however, that gross carelessness of this kind is only to be seen on the south frieze, which, as we have said repeatedly, was the least likely to be visited. That would account for negligence of supervision in many places, almost side by side with some of the finest slabs of the whole frieze.
In several instances the young horsemen of the north frieze are nude except for a slight mantle. Observe him on slab xxxvi., who is turning in his seat, with his left arm thrown back easily, the right hand holding the reins. There is here a singular charm in the combination of nude form and slight mantle, the folds of which are made to show just where they are wanted, on the neck and the right fore arm. They are especially fine between the body and the left arm, where they seem to thicken in the wind, and lose all formality. We do not suppose that there had been in the actual procession through the streets of Athens any riders comparatively nude, but we do assume that the sculptor required these bright nude spots at intervals, as so many restful points for the eye of the spectator.
In those days everyone was familiar with nude, or nearly nude, figures in works of art. We
may, indeed must, suppose that in the actual procession there had been a far greater display of ceremonial costume than we now see on the frieze, so far at least as concerned the cavalcade. Here and there we see a cuirass, plain or highly decorated, a helmet, a leather cap, a petasos, a wreath, a bare head, high boots, or bare feet. In all these matters there may have been in the procession through the streets
some settled order of groups of horsemen similarly costumed keeping together, as in fact seems the case in a group of the south frieze, where they all wear the cuirass. But were that so, the sculptor has allowed himself considerable freedom. The uniformity of costume is most marked in the horsemen of the north frieze. It is mainly the ordinary dress of Athenian youth of the well-to-do class, and it suits admirably the rapid movement of the horses. We can understand the greater diversity on the west frieze, which, being more stationary, would better display incidental varieties of costume.
We pass on to the chariot groups, observing first of all that those of the north frieze have a striking advantage over those on the south in one respect, important from an artistic point of view. Whether on north or south, each chariot has a driver and an apobates or armed youth, who leaps up and down in the manner of a Homeric hero as the chariot advances. Now the position of the apobates was necessarily on the left hand of the driver, from which fact it follows that on the north frieze, where the movement is from right to left, the apobates appears in the nearest plane of the relief, and is thus fully displayed to the spectator, whereas on the south frieze, which moves from left to right, he is necessarily on the farther side of the driver, and would thus in ordinary circumstances be largely hidden from view, notwithstanding that he was the principal person in the chariot. Something could be done by bringing the apobates farther forward than the charioteer, and thus showing the upper part of his figure as we see from the eight chariots of the south frieze still existing in Carrey's time. At the
present day comparatively little exists of that section. But we possess one particularly splendid group (xxx.), in which to intensify the apobates on the farther side the sculptor has carved him deep into the background of the relief. Possibly this was a solitary exception, for in the group immediately preceding (xxxi.) the apobates is not similarly cut into the background, though he is in the same position in the chariot. Still it is not unreasonable to suppose that the deep cutting of the apobates in the other slab may have been a protest against the difficulties presented by the south as compared with the north frieze. And if this apobates is striking by the forceful manner in which he is sculptured, the horses in front of him are even more fascinating by the beauty of their heads and necks, in which the fiery action of the creatures is concentrated, as it should be, within the smallest possible space, and with the most lovely transitions from one plane to another.
Mr. Ruskin says': “The projection of the heads of the four horses one behind the other is certainly not more altogether than three-quarters of an inch from the flat ground, and the one in front does not in reality project more than the one behind it, yet by mere drawing you see the sculptor has got them to appear to recede in due order, and by the soft rounding of the flesh surfaces and modulation of the veins he has taken away all look of flatness from the necks. He has drawn the eyes and nostrils with dark incision, careful as the finest touches of a painter's pencil; and then at last when he comes to the manes, he has let fly hand and chisel with their full force, and where a base workman (above all if he had
1 Aratra Pentelici, p. 174.
modelled the thing in clay first) would have lost himself in the laborious imitation of hair, the Greek has struck the tresses out with angular incisions deep driven, every one in appointed place and deliberate curve, yet flowing so free under his noble hand that you cannot alter without harm the bending of any single ridge, nor contract nor extend a point of them.”
As a contrast we may take the chariot group xvii. of the north frieze which is now in Athens and finely preserved. The young apobates is here in the act of leaping down, and thus clears the figure of the driver fairly well. With his shield thrown backward, showing off his youthful form, each arm extended quite naturally, yet not so as to cross his body in any way, or complicate the planes of the relief, a handsome helmet and a very simple chiton, he seems the very ideal of a young Greek playing in a public ceremony the part of one of the heroes of old. His body throbs with life.
On either frieze the section of chariots begins with one which has not yet started. On the north, a groom or guide, such as accompanies each chariot, is standing at the head of the horses (xxiii.). In this group there is no element of distinction. But in the corresponding chariot on the south frieze we find exceptional beauty (xxv.). The guide at the farther side of the quiet horses is giving directions for the start with a firmly outstretched right arm, modelled with the greatest care. The apobates stands placidly on the nearer side of the chariot full in view. A moment later he will have to take his place at the farther side of the driver, and be half hidden. Meanwhile the sculptor has seized his opportunity to make