Callistratus: Descriptions


(1) Οὐ ποιητῶν καὶ λογοποιῶν μόνον ἐπιπνέονται1 τέχναι ἐπὶ τὰς γλώττας ἐκ θεῶν θειασμοῦ πεσόντος, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν δημιουργῶν αἱ χεῖρες θειοτέρων πνευμάτων ἐράνοις ληφθεῖσαι 30κάτοχα καὶ μεστὰ μανίας προφητεύουσι τὰ ποιήματα· ὁ γὰρ δὴ Σκόπας, ὥσπερ ἔκ τινος ἐπιπνοίας κινηθεὶς εἰς τὴν τοῦ ἀγάλματος δημιουργίαν τὴν θεοφορίαν ἐφῆκεν. τί δὲ ὑμῖν K. 423οὐκ ἄνωθεν τὸν ἐνθουσιασμὸν τῆς τέχνης διηγοῦμαι;

(2) Ἦν βάκχης ἄγαλμα ἐκ λίθου Παρίου πεποιημένον ἀλλαττόμενον πρὸς τὴν ὄντως βάκχην. ἐν γὰρ τῇ οἰκείᾳ τάξει μένων ὁ λίθος 5τὸν ἐν λίθοις νόμον ἐκβαίνειν ἐδόκει· τὸ μὲν γὰρ φαινόμενον ὄντως ἦν εἴδωλον, ἡ τέχνη δ᾿ εἰς τὸ ὄντως ὂν ἀπήγαγε τὴν μίμησιν. εἶδες ἂν ὅτι καὶ στερεὸς ὢν εἰς τὴν τοῦ θήλεος εἰκασίαν ἐμαλάττετο γοργότητος διορθουμένης τὸ θῆλυ 10καὶ εἰς ἐξουσίαν ἀμοιρῶν κινήσεως ᾔδει βακχεύεσθαι καὶ τῷ θεῷ εἰσιόντι τὰ ἔνδον ὑπήχει.

(3) Πρόσωπόν γε μὴν ἰδόντες ὑπὸ ἀφασίας ἔστημεν· οὕτω δὴ καὶ αἰσθήσεως συνείπετο


2. On the Statue of A Bacchante

2. On the Statue of A Bacchante

It is not the art of poets and writers of prose alone that is inspired when divine power from the gods falls on their tongues, nay, the hands of sculptors also, when they are seized by the gift of a more divine inspiration, give utterance1 to creations that are possessed and full of madness.2 So Scopas,3 moved as it were by some inspiration, imparted to the production of this statue the divine frenzy within him.4 Why should I not describe to you from the beginning the inspiration of this work of art?

A statue of a Bacchante, wrought from Parian marble, has been transformed into a real Bacchante. For the stone, while retaining its own nature, yet seemed to depart from the law which governs stone; what one saw was really an image, but art carried imitation over into actual reality. You might have seen that, hard though it was, it became soft to the semblance of the feminine, its vigour, however, correcting the femininity, and that, though it had no power to move, it knew how to leap in Bacchic dance and would respond to the god when he entered into its inner being. When we saw the face we stood speechless; so manifest upon

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.callistratus-descriptions_2_statue_bacchante.1931