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PRE FACE

TO THE COLLECTION OF CASTS OF STATUES, BUSTS, AND BAS RELIEFS IN THE

MUSEUM OF ART.

What tho' no marble breathes, no canvas glows,
From ev'ry point a ray of genius flows !
Be mine to bless the more mechanic skill
That stamps, renews, and multiplies at will ;
And cheaply circulates thro’ distant climes
The fairest relics of the purest times.
Here from the mould to conscious being start
Those living forms, the miracles of Art;
Here chosen gems imprest on sulphur shine,
That slept for ages in a second mine.

ROGERS.

The religious thought and feeling of the inhabitants of Greece exercised a powerful effect on Sculpture. Greece may be considered the country in which the art achieved its highest perfection.

The rude block of stone, the distorted trunk of a tree, the composite monsters polluted by pagan rites, claimed no reverence from a people endowed with a fancy so rich, an imagination so fertile.

To adore the elements or the vivifying powers of nature in their abstract vagueness, however suited to those content with the illusory contemplation of what they were unable to define, did not satisfy the sensibility of a nation gifted with a genius so active.

In the development of the exponents of their belief the Greeks lent to tradition a graceful and engaging credulity.

By interweaving the fictions handed down to them from their ancestors their mythological system became extremely complicated. Heroes and Heroines, associated with different alleged manifestations of the Gods, renowned for acts of valor, for having introduced civilising arts, wise laws, or useful inventions, were raised above the rank of mere mortals to celestial honors.

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