Farnese Bull. This imposing group transmitted to us from the Greek art, fills all with the greatest admiration. Copy of an original in bronze, found in the thermes of Caracalla in 1546.
Restored first by G.B. Biondi under the direction of Michelangelo and later by Cal� in 1848. Rhodian art of the sculptors Apollonio and Tauriscus of Tralle. The subjects is taken from the tragedy of Euripides. Zethos and Amphion, sons of Antiope are binding Dirce to a bull to punish her for having persecuted their mother, and imprisoning her.
Origin: Museo di Napoli
This immortal work of art is one of the largest marble sculptures in existence. It measures some 12 ft. It is worthy of all the praise that can be bestowed upon it, for the grandeur of its conception and the marvelous skill of its execution have never been excelled and probably have never been equaled. It is thought to be the work of the renowned Rhodian sculptors, Apollonius and Tauriscus, and was found (badly mutilated) in 1546 in the Baths of Caracalla at Rome in a sadly mutilated condition. Some leading contemporary historians and scholars believe it to be Roman
In order to appreciate the immortal genius that is so brilliantly displayed in this colossal group, we must understand not only the nature of the effect which the sculptor sought to produce, but also the forces which brought the statue into being and contributed to this result. In Grecian art, sculpture and mythology, of which poetry was the highest and most artistic expression, went hand in hand, and long before the myth which the work represents was incorporated into stone, it had been immortalized by a celebrated tragedy of Euripides. The scene before us is full of terror and daring, and though wrought in the cool, snowy marble, is yet quivering with intensest passion and frenzied malice.
As you may see, two powerful youths are battling with an enraged bull ; the forms of these young men, especially of the one in front of the bull which can be plainly seen, are characterized by remarkable strength and agility. Notice how the muscles of the calf of the right leg are expanded and how they swell to whipcords down by the ankle. Over the horns of the mad bull this young fellow has placed a rope noose which the other brother is drawing tight and by means of which he assists in holding the furious beast, which is plunging desperately and striking the air with its hoofs. Their purpose is to bind to the horns of this terrible animal the helpless yet beautiful form of the woman whom you see in danger of being trampled by the bull. Only a moment they have to complete their diabolical task, for the combined strength of these two young giants cannot hold back this cyclone of fury; any minute it may break away and their vengeance be foiled. It is the supreme moment, when the struggles of the bull have reached their uttermost, when the strength of the men is put to its farthest limit, when the agonizing supplications of the beautiful woman are heartrending, and when the pity of the mother, standing in the background, breaks through all restraint and beseeches her two sons to be merciful, that the sculptors have caught and imprisoned for us in the gleaming stone. In order to appreciate the horrible fascination of the work which produces such a powerful impression upon all beholders, we must answer several questions which spring to the lips as soon as we see the group.
What is the cause of the hatred of these young men toward that lovely woman? What could impel them to such brutality? The story is quickly told, and it is a familiar one in ancient Greek literature. When Antiope, who is represented by the female figure standing in the background with the long spear resting in her left hand and against her shoulder, had given birth to Amphion and Zethus, she was driven away from her father's house and had to abandon her sons. The boys were given over into the care of an old shepherd who brought them up without their having any knowledge of their mother. Antiope, deprived of her children, also suffered terrible wrongs at the hands of her relative Dirce. One day, wandering on Mt. Cythaeron, in wild bacchanalian revel, Dirce met the two young shepherds, who at once became fascinated with her. Thinking her power over them complete and appreciating their great strength, she bids them bind Antiope to a mad bull that she may be dragged to a cruel death. In company with Dirce, they seek Antiope, but recognize their mother before it is too late. Then they consign Dirce to the fate she had prepared for another. To further illustrate the myth, notice the work on the base of the statue. A small boy adorned with a wreath, a figure regarded by some as the mountain god Cythaeron, decked with Bacchic ivy, is placed beneath the left foot of Amphion, and beneath his right foot springs the lithe and graceful form of a shepherd dog, and leaning against the trunk of a tree are a thyrsus or wand and other symbols, while on the right side of the base are carved the figures of a sheep and goat. But all these minor details are far surpassed in interest and power by the principal figures and their action. Nothing in the whole realm of art can surpass the artistic refinement of its execution, the exquisite folds of the drapery, the strength yet graceful symmetry of the forms, and the vivid and overwhelming sense of life and agony which pervades it all. No wonder the famous group exercises such a majestic and overpowering influence upon the minds of men; and remember also that it is the work of two artists and the whole group was sculptured out of a single block of marble. The parts restored are the head of the bull, the figure of Antiope (except the feet), the head and arms of Dirce, and portions of Amphion and Zethus. For boldness, life and masterful energy, blended with grace and beauty, this piece of statuary stands unrivaled and alone.
Gazing at these remarkable productions of ancient genius, we can but recall many a fair legend of those distant days, which causes the fancy to kindle and the heart to glow ; but still we shall never be satisfied unless we can look upon the life these worthies lived, and enter into their homes and walk the streets that their feet have trod. Such a thing seems simply impossible, for the centuries cannot be rolled back upon themselves, even if the sun might be made to stand still. And yet, the impossible has been achieved, and the first century, with its streets, its homes, its art, fresh as though painted with this morning's sunshine, waits our coming. Cities buried for almost two thousand years are flooded with the light of today, and all their treasures lie open for our inspection. We do not realize how many of these buried cities there are, all of them being once populous centers and powerful towns, having their armies and their navies, before which, for a time, even the power of Rome stood baffled. Among these were Cumae, the oldest Greek settlement in Italy ; Puteoli, of great commercial fame; Capua, the strongest southern fortress of Rome ; Baiae, often called the Vanity Fair of the first century ; and still others, many of which have been altogether forgotten, and some are beneath the present site of Naples. As we are eager to see one of these disinterred cities, let us leave Naples for a while and visit Herculaneum.
P.S. Vasari interpreted the culpture as a "Labor of Hercules".
The Farnese Bull is a massive sculpture attributed to the Rhodian artists Apollonius of Tralles and his brother Tauriscus. It is widely consisidered the largest single sculpture ever recovered from antiquity. The original produced in Rhodes was transported to Rome, as Pliny the Elder reports.
Amphion became a great singer and musician after Hermes taught him to play and gave him a golden lyre, Zethus a hunter and herdsman. They punished King Lycus and Queen Dirce for cruel treatment of Antiope. their mother, whom they had treated as a slave. Dirce was tied to the horns of a bull as revenge.
A Roman copy of the sculpture was found in 1546 in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. It is now located at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale Napoli in Naples.
More than forty versions exist in various sizes, one example is a relief found in Naxos. Additional figures have been added to the original composition which probably was produced for Attalos II Philadelphus and Eumenes II of Pergamon. It was probably the Roman Cassius Longinus who obtained violently this sculpture from Rhodes and later in Rome it was taken by Marc Antonius who gave it Asinius Pollio. The Caracalla Baths copy was probably produced during the period of the Emperor Claudius.with an additional figure of Antiope with some similarities with Venus Genetrix believed to represent the Emperors mother Antonia Augusta. Since the Emperor had a brother Germanicus it is possible that he and his brother and mother are represented by Amphion, Zethus and Antiope.
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The Farnese Bull
The Farnese Bull is a massive sculpture attributed to the Rhodian artists Apollonius of Tralles and his brother Tauriscus. We know this thanks to the writings of Pliny the Elder. He tells us it was commissioned at the end of the second century B.C. and carved from just one whole block of marble. It was imported from Rhodes. as part of the incredible collection of artwork and sculptures owned by Asinius Pollio. a Roman politician who lived during the years between the Republic and the Principate. It is widely considered the largest single sculpture ever recovered from antiquity. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 586 Ã 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (1399 Ã 1432 pixel, file size: 458 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Description: Toro farnese Source: self-made Location: National Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy Photographer: Massimo Finizio File links The following pages on the. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 586 Ã 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (1399 Ã 1432 pixel, file size: 458 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Description: Toro farnese Source: self-made Location: National Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy Photographer: Massimo Finizio File links The following pages on the. The Farnese family was an influential family in Renaissance Italy. Sculptor redirects here. Apollonius of Tralles (in Caria) was a Greek sculptor who flourished in the 2nd century BCE. With his brother Tauriscus, he executed the marble group known as the Farnese Bull, representing Zethus and Amphion tying the revengeful Dirce to the tail of a wild bull. Pliny the Elder: an imaginative 19th Century portrait. This article is about the Greek island of Rhodes. Gaius Asinius Pollio ( 76/75 BC-AD 5) was a Roman orator, poet and historian. Plato. âAncientâ redirects here.
This colossal marble sculptural group represents the myth of Dirce. She was tied to a wild bull by the sons of Antiope. Zeto and Amphion. who wanted to punish her for the ill-treatment inflicted on their mother, first wife of Lykos, King of Thebes. For other uses, see Marble (disambiguation). Dirce (double or cleft) was the wife of Lycus in Greek mythology, and sister in law to Antiope whom Zeus impregnated. In Greek mythology, Antiope was the name of the daughter of the Boeotian river-god Asopus, according to Homer (Od. Amphion (native of two lands) and Zethus, in ancient Greek mythology, were the twin sons of Zeus by Antiope. Amphion (native of two lands) and Zethus, in ancient Greek mythology, were the twin sons of Zeus by Antiope. In Greek Mythology, Lycus was a ruler of the ancient city of Thebes, Greece. Thebes (Demotic Greek: ÎÎ®Î²Î± â ThÃva; Katharevousa: â ThÃªbai or ThÃvai) is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain.
Engravings such as this, dated 1633, made the image familiar.
It was found in 1546 in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome during excavations commissioned by Pope Paul III in the hope of finding ancient sculptures to adorn his Roman residence. It is now located at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale Napoli in Naples. // Events Spanish conquest of Yucatan Peace between England and France Foundation of Trinity College, Cambridge by Henry VIII of England Katharina von Bora flees to Magdeburg Science Architecture Michelangelo Buonarroti is made chief architect of St. The Baths of Caracalla, in 2003 The Baths of Caracalla were Roman public baths, or thermae, built in Rome between 212 and 216 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla. For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). Pope Paul III with his cardinal-nephew Alessandro Cardinal Farnese (left) and his other grandson (right), Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma Pope Paul III (February 29, 1468 â November 10, 1549), born Alessandro Farnese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1534 to his death 1549. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale Napoli (National Archaeological Museum) is located in Naples, Italy. Location of the city of Naples (red dot) within Italy.External links
Categories: 2nd century BC works | Hellenistic and Roman sculpture | Farnese collection | Collection of Naples National Archaeological Museum | Sculpture stubs
Engravings such as this, dated 1633, made the image familiar.
The Farnese Bull . formerly in the Farnese collection in Rome. is a massive Hellenistic sculpture. It is the largest single sculpture ever recovered from antiquity to date. Pliny the Elder identified a version of it as the work of Rhodian artists Apollonius of Tralles and his brother Tauriscus. stating that it was commissioned at the end of the 2nd century BCE and carved from just one whole block of marble. It was imported from Rhodes. as part of the remarkable collection of artwork and sculpture owned by Asinius Pollio. a Roman politician who lived during the years between the Republic and the Principate. 
This colossal marble sculptural group represents the myth of Dirce first wife of Lykos. King of Thebes. She was tied to a wild bull by the sons of Antiope. Amphion and Zethus. who wanted to punish her for the ill-treatment inflicted on their mother.
The group was unearthed in 1546 during excavations at gymnasium of the Roman Baths of Caracalla. commissioned by Pope Paul III in the hope of finding ancient sculptures to adorn the Palazzo Farnese. the Farnese family's palatial residence in Rome. This sculpture is dated to the Severian period (A.D. 222-235). 
The group underwent a substantial restoration in the 16th century, when Michelangelo planned to use it for a fountain to be installed at the centre of a garden between Palazzo Farnese and the Villa Farnesina.  It also could have been adapted for this use soon after it was found, which is supported by descriptions from the Renaissance era. 
Unlike the discoveries of the Farnese Hercules and the Latin Hercules from this excavation, which were documented as to their location, the only reference to this grouping is from a 1595 engraving by Etienne du Perac of the ruins of the Baths, showing the end of the east palestra. which states: ". in the time of Paul III many beautiful fragments of statues and animals were found that were all in one piece in antiquity. and Cardinal Farnese had [it] erected now in his Palazzo." 
It has been argued that the sculpture noted by Pliny in his Natural History could not be the Farnese Bull, and is instead a 3rd-century AD Roman version, made specifically for Caracalla's Baths.   Other scholars dispute this, arguing that since the work was originally located in the nearby Horti Asiniani. or Asiniani gardens, which the Pollio family owned, to have commissioned a copy specifically for the Baths would have meant both pieces would have been displayed in very close proximity. 
Along with the rest of the Farnese antiquities, it is since 1826 located at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale Napoli in Naples. inv. no. 6002. It is shown in the 1954 film Journey to Italy along with the Farnese Hercules .
External links Edit
Cupid and Psyche
Roman marble copy of a late Hellenistic work
The antique marble figures of Cupid and Psyche entered the Capitoline Museum in 1750, shortly after they were excavated and restored. Two other versions of the group already were known in Rome, but Haskell and Penny report that the Capitoline version quickly became the favorite. "It was the sentiment that most appealed to both travelers and scholars – 'the first burst of youthful loveliness' ; the 'innocent fondness' ; the 'virginal' and ingenuous gesture of the Psyche. But there were also many learned discussions of the philosophical allegory of the soul which the group might embody, and the execution was not always admired – Saint-Victor thought it was but a poor reflection of some earlier and superior work. "
Marchino di Campertogno
Cupid and Psyche
copy - ivory miniature statuette
Victoria & Albert Museum
Cupid and Psyche
Victoria & Albert Museum
Auguste Desnoyers after Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
Cupid and Psyche
Cupid and Psyche
photograph of a cast
The vast marble carving known as the Farnese Bull (below) was discovered in the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla in 1545. By 1546 it was owned by the Farnese. "By 1550 or not long after, it had (on the advice of Michelangelo) been partially restored and placed in the second courtyard of the palace." After several moves, the Farnese Bull came to a stable home in the 19th century at the national museum in Naples. Another name sometimes used for this group was The Fable of Dirce .
Roman marble copy after an earlier Hellenistic group
National Archaeological Museum, Naples
Peter Paul Rubens
early 17th century
"At first the group was praised enthusiastically by even the most sophisticated connoisseurs: thus Federico Zuccaro described this 'marvelous mountain of marble' as being, with the Laoco ö n, 'the most remarkable and marvelous work of the chisel of the ancients, showing what the art of sculpture can achieve at its most excellent'. This opinion continued to be held by many travelers and guides, but doubts about its quality were expressed with increasing frequency as the century advanced, though there was never any dispute that it was one of the most famous pieces of sculpture in the world – not least because it was one of the largest. Winckelmann did, however, emphasize how very extensive had been the restoration, ignorance of which, he suggested, had been responsible for so many absurd ideas about the work. There had long been anxieties on this score – anxieties which had clearly prompted Maffei's claim (also jeered at by Winckelmann) that only repairs of existing fragments had proved necessary and that nothing new had been added; the controversy continued about the degree of restoration, the authenticity and the quality of the Bull. With only a few exceptions – as late as 1802 a traveler called it 'the very finest group of ancient art, and superior even to the Laoco ö n' – opinion hardened against it, despite the most vigorous efforts of Neapolitan museum officials to sustain its declining reputation, and this decline continued throughout the nineteenth century."
Venus de Milo
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Venus de Milo was discovered quite late, in 1820. Even that late, it would certainly have been restored if officials at the Louvre had been able to agree about what position the arms should take. "The statue remains one of the most famous in the world, 'on sale in white plastic in the gift shops of Athens and everywhere else'. but the author of a recent study of Aphrodite suspects that most of his readers are 'unmoved' by the 'rather chilly giantess in the Louvre'. Moreover, its reputation, 'which, started by propaganda, has become perpetuated by habit'. perplexes the scholars who since the late nineteenth century have tended to place it in the second century BC and believe it to represent a revival of pre-Hellenistic ideals."
Venus de Milo
copy - bronze statuette
Royal Collection, Great Britain
"My first initiation into the mysteries of the art was at the Orleans Gallery: it was there that I formed my taste, such as it is: so that I am irreclaimably of the old school of painting. I was staggered when I saw the works there collected and looked at them with wondering and longing eyes. A mist passed away from my sight: the scales fell off. A new sense came upon me, a new heaven and a new earth stood before me. Old Time had unlocked her treasures, and Fame stood portress at the door. We had heard the names of Titian, Raphael, Guido, Domenichino, the Carracci: – but to see them face to face, to be in the same room with their deathless productions, was like breaking some mighty spell – was almost an effect of necromancy."
– William Hazlitt, On the Pleasure of Painting, 1820
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