It is this vigorous realism that distinguishes Roman sculpture from the Greek; but for this recurrent fidelity to their own bent the Romans would have added little to art. About 90 B.C. a Greek from south Italy, Pasiteles, went to Rome, lived there for sixty years, did excellent work in silver, ivory, and gold, introduced silver mirrors, made skillful copies of Greek masterpieces, and wrote five volumes on the history of art; he was both the Vasari and the Cellini of his time. Another Greek, Arcesilaus, made for Caesar a famous statue of his distant relative, Venus Genetrix. Apollonius of Athens, probably in Rome, carved the powerful Torso Belvedere of the Vatican: a work conceived with moderation, proclaiming no bulging muscles, but showing a man in the fullness of healthy strength; we can only say of it that it is perfect so far as it goes. For a time the studios busied themselves giving Greek form to Italian gods, even to divine abstractions like Chance and Chastity. Presumably in this period and in Rome Glycon of Athens carved the Farnese Hercules. We cannot tell to what age or country the Apollo Belvedere belongs; perhaps it was a Roman copy of an original by Leochares of Athens. Every student knows how its calm beauty stirred Winckelmann to Uranian ecstasy. Juno received now two renowned embodiments: the porphyry Farnese Juno of the Naples Museum and the Ludovisi Juno of the Terme- cold and stern, righteous and just; one begins to understand Jove’s wanderings.
All these, and the graceful Perseus and Andromeda of the Capitoline Museum, were in the Greek style, idealized and generalized, and tiresomely divine. More arresting are the portrait busts that constitute a bronze-and-marble dictionary of Roman physiognomy from Pompey to Constantine. Some of these too are idealized, particularly the Julio-Claudian heads; but the old Etruscan realism, and the ever-present example of unflattering death masks, reconciled the Romans to being represented as ugly, provided they were shown as strong. So many of them bequeathed their effigies to public places that at times Rome seemed to belong less to the quick than to the dead. Some worthies could not bide their end, but erected themselves as statues before their death, until the jealous emperors, to make room for the living, forbade such premature immortality. The greatest of the portrait busts is the so-named Head of Caesar, of black basalt, in Berlin. We do not know whom it represents; but the sparse hair and sharp chin, the thin and bony face, the heavy lines of weary thought, the resolution yielding to disillusionment, accord well with the traditional attribution. Only second to it is the colossal head of Caesar in Naples: here the wrinkles have set almost into bitterness, as if the giant had at last discovered that no mind is broad enough to understand, much less to rule, the world. Realistic to repulsiveness is the Pompey of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen: all the brave triumphs of his youth forgotten in the dull obesity of a beaten man. Of Augustus we have half a hundred statues, many of them masterly: Augustus the boy (in the Vatican), serious, keen, noble- the finest portrait of an actual youth in any age; Augustus at thirty (in the British Museum)- a bronze figure of burning determination, reminding us of Suetonius’ statement that the Emperor could quell a mutiny with a glance; Augustus the priest (in the Terme), a profound and pensive face emerging from a prison of drapery; and Augustus imperator, found in the ruins of Livia’s villa at Prima Porta, and now in the Vatican. The breastplate of this famous figure is covered with esoteric and distracting reliefs, the pose is stiff, the legs are too mighty for such an invalid; but the head has a quiet and self-confident power that reveals the hand and soul of a great artist- who could not quite forget the Doryphoros of Polycleitus.