Lydia, whose reign lasted from 560 to 546 B. C. In
the course of the excavations carried on for the British
Museum upon the site of Ephesus there were brought
to light, in 1872 and 1874, a few fragments of this
sixth century edifice. Even some letters of Croesus’s
dedicatory inscription have been found on the bases
of the Ionic columns, affording a welcome confirmation
to the testimony of Herodotus. It appears that
the columns, or some of them, were treated in a very
exceptional fashion, the lowest drums being adorned
with relief-sculpture. The British Museum authorities
have partially restored one such drum (Fig. 86), though
without guaranteeing that the pieces of sculpture
here combined actually belong to the same column.
The male figure is not very pre-possessing, but that
is partly due to the battered condition of the face.
Much more attractive is the female head, of which
unfortunately only the back is seen in our illustration.
It bears a strong family likeness to the head of the
Victory of Delos, but shows marked improvement over
that. Some bits of a sculptured cornice belonging
to the same temple are also refined in style.
In this group of reliefs, fragmentary though they
are, we have an indication of the development attained
by Ionic sculptors about the middle of the sixth century.
For, of course, though Croesus paid for the columns,
the work was executed by Greek artists upon the spot,
and presumably by the best artists that could be secured.
We may therefore use these sculptures as a standard
by which to date other works, whose date is not fixed
for us by external evidence.
The archaic period of Greek
sculpture second half 550-480 B.C.
Greek sculpture now enters upon a stage of development
which possesses for the modern student a singular
and potent charm True, many traces still remain of
the sculptor’s imperfect mastery. He cannot
pose his figures in perfectly easy attitudes not even
in reliefs, where the problem is easier than in sculpture
in the round. His knowledge of human anatomy—that
is to say, of the outward appearance of the human
body, which is all the artistic anatomy that any one
attempted to know during the rise and the great age
of Greek sculpture—is still defective, and
his means of expression are still imperfect.
For example, in the nude male figure the hips continue
to be too narrow for the shoulders, and the abdomen
too flat. The facial peculiarities mentioned in
the preceding chapter—prominent eyeballs,
cheeks, and chin, and smiling mouth—are
only very gradually modified. As from the first,
the upper eyelid does not overlap the lower eyelid
at the outer corner, as truth, or rather appearance,
requires, and in relief sculpture the eye of a face
in profile is rendered as in front view. The
texture and arrangement of hair are expressed in various
ways but always with a marked love of symmetry and