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V, the river-god Cephisos or Ilissos. We do not propose to discuss these names further, but would rather insist on a due consideration of the place of the angle figures in the composition as a whole. To begin with, they are separated, as already said, by a gap from the family group next them. If the figures in the angles belong to a different order of beings, then we can understand these gaps and can feel the artistic significance of them, and at the same time appreciate at their proper worth all attempts to fill in these gaps with legendary heroes, and so extend the family group continuously right into each angle, as Professor Furtwaengler wishes.' In his view the reclining figure, A, would be a local hero Buziges, whom we hardly know by name; and Cecrops, instead of being conspicuous at the head of his family, would only be one hero among others. We prefer the familiar name of the Ilissos for the angle figure, A, not only because he would thus be a being of a different order—that is to say, a personification of a river—but also because he would thus represent the locality, as do the river-gods in the angles of the east pediment of Olympia. We lay stress on the parallel instance of Olympia (1) because of the artistic resemblance between the river-gods there and the Ilissos ; (2) because of the express statement of Pausanias, which no one would doubt in this case unless he had another axe to grind; and (3) because of what we know concerning the habit of thought of Pheidias in indicating the localities of his great compositions. In late Greek and Roman art the presence of river-gods at the extremities of a composition is employed to localise a scene, and nothing is more probable than that Pheidias had been one of the first to introduce this principle. The personifications of sun and moon at each extremity of his sculptured base of the Zeus at Olympia is a proof of this habit of mind on his part, to say nothing of his sun and moon at each end of the east pediment of the Parthenon itself, serving as boundaries of the scene.
1 Meisterwerke, p. 241.
The Ilissos has no corresponding figure in the right angle, as the analogy of the two river-gods at Olympia might lead us to expect.
In the interval there had been an artistic advance which had discarded the older feeling of a necessary balance in each angle. And similarly in the east pediment of the Parthenon we shall see that the so-called Theseus in one angle has no figure strictly balancing him in the other. That question we must leave for the moment.
But considering that the Ilissos is the only figure of the whole west pediment which has been fairly well preserved, we may now examine him more closely from an artistic point of view (Pl. V.). We do not expect him to have an urn by his side, with water flowing from it, and a branch in one hand, as in late Greek and Roman art; we may fairly be content if his nude form is resplendent with light, as becomes the representative of a river, on which the play of light is always one of its most characteristic features.
It is so. There is not certainly so much undulation in his limbs as in the river-gods of Olympia, but there is some. His mantle, which stretches behind him, is characterised by long lines and folds which may be described as wet. It spreads itself on the rock behind his left hand in a thin sheet of
flat folds, which, though only sketched in, or because of that, conveys the idea of water gliding over a smooth rock in the bed of a stream. It may be argued that this treatment of the drapery is mere negligence; if so, it is negligence in the right place for once. He is excited by the contest of the two deities, and raises himself in his channel, pulling back his left foot and raising his right knee; his right hand has caught hold of an end of his mantle, dragging it forward, an action always significant of surprise in Greek art. The somewhat violent raising of himself has necessarily thrown the more mobile parts of the body into a confusion which might easily have been indicated by a sculptor more expressively than here, but never with a finer conception and with just that degree of truth which is consistent with a lofty ideal. The massive bones of the chest and the ribs remain unchangeable, of course, however the body may turn. The task was to reconcile with them the easily changing forms of the abdomen. For ourselves, the way in which this has been done commands unaltering admiration.
At Athens there remain in the right angle of this pediment two torsos, V, W. The former is a male figure in the act of rising suddenly as in alarm. For the moment he still rests on his right knee, but the right foot is entangled in a mantle, in a manner which suggests haste. Probably the left knee had been raised, the foot on the ground. His bodily forms are very simple, but very grand. That he represents the river Cephisos we are content to believe. The other figure, W, is a woman, thickly draped, reclining at full length, and grasping with her right hand the rock