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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  History and Archeology (Moderator: David Atherton)  |  Topic: Artemis hound in sculpture? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Artemis hound in sculpture?  (Read 2221 times)
Scotvs Capitis
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« on: March 20, 2007, 12:34:40 pm »

I read a post here a while back about Artemis hounds, and slokind had posted an image of a hunting sculpture with a small hound, but I think it was a male figure. Are there any extant sculptures of Artemis/Diana with a hound running before?
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2007, 05:34:40 pm »

It probably was this one.  Somewhere I have a color slide of it, too.  This one has both a stag and a hound.  No restoration.  The Artemis of Versailles, in the Louvre, is heavily restored; I'll check to see whether she still has a hound as well as the 18c stag.  There is a copy from N. Africa, too, I think from Leptis MagnaPat L.
P.S. I was right.  The restorer fitted her with the stag alone, since the sources all say she has a stag; the early restorers were very text oriented, even when the works of art were earlier than their authors.  They did not understand that Artemis as at Ephesos has a stag as an attribute because that is her prey (and maybe also her incarnation?); the hound is what a hunter is accompanied by as he or she reaches for an arrow in the quiver.
The Versailles statue is a very fine copy, even though the arms and feet and the stag are restorations.  Properly, she ought to hold a bow, rather than stag antlers (no way to grasp a stag) and the animal that is at her feet would be her hound.
I thought I'd better add the Leptis Magna copy, as unrestored as the Athens but with a head and larger and with the hound alone.  It is from R. R. R. Smith, Hellenistic Sculpture, and I trust that the Tripoli Museum won't mind.
Pat L.
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2007, 06:06:25 pm »

I have found this pic of a bas-relief of Artemis together wit a horse and a hound, sadly without any comment. But here it is not Artemis the huntress but rather Artemis Phosphoros with a torch.

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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 09:32:04 am »

Thank you for the info, this is what I was looking for. There was a discussion on the typical hunting hound in Greek and Roman times not too long ago, I don't know if there was a determination of dog breed or typical size, nor do I think coins or sculptures are definitive at all in deducing such a conclusion since they are highly artistic forms of expression. I can't help but see smaller sizes of dogs on coins featuring Artemis, is it safe to assume this is artistic license if a hunting hound was typically a large animal?
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2007, 10:44:02 am »

Since the animal was apparently being used to hunt deer, it's probably safe to assume that it would have been pretty large in reality.
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2007, 12:24:40 pm »

Scott: You may be using the word 'artistic' in a common-parlance mid-20th century sense, in which persons who did not study ancient or any other art closely meant 'arbitrarily inaccurate'--owing to their misunderstanding and dislike of the Modern movement.  Greek and Roman art, at least until Late Antiquity, might elongate a bit for glamour (Lysippos making figures 9 heads tall, for example), but they would not deliberately have made a dog too large or too small for its purpose.  The headless statue that I first posted is not a very accurate copy, more for decorative use, I think, but the other two are fairly accurate (because though made at different times and places, they share most of their traits, apart from restorations).  Over and over, Artemis' hound is about the size of modern Greek village dog or a Louisiana Cajun Catahoula hound, which would be the next size smaller than a Retriever, so I guess that unless an emperor or a wealthy man had some specially bred for him the hound in use was that 'default' size.  There's a really nice special breed (I should think) hunting hound from the reliefs at Nineveh, 7c BCE.  I'll go find it.  Pat L.
Here are Ashurbanipal's hounds from Nineveh, mid-7c BCE.  Sorry for the old hand-held 1/15sec. slide taken indoors with outdoors film...never got back to do this digitally.  But isn't this a great artist?  And we don't know a single name.  Giving artists credit for their genius was a Greek idea, which doesn't mean that there weren't great artists elsewhere.
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2007, 01:04:20 pm »

Scott: You may be using the word 'artistic' in a common-parlance mid-20th century sense, in which persons who did not study ancient or any other art closely meant 'arbitrarily inaccurate'--owing to their misunderstanding and dislike of the Modern movement.  Greek and Roman art, at least until Late Antiquity, might elongate a bit for glamour (Lysippos making figures 9 heads tall, for example), but they would not deliberately have made a dog too large or too small for its purpose.

Slokind,

I'm using "artistic" in a practical sense, meaning "dog needs to go here', and size and space limitations on the coin require stylistic adjustments, much like later Roman busts on coins of the Constantine era would grossly adjust the proportions of the arms and hands to show the emperor with a scepter or mappa. I suppose artistic isn't the accurate term, perhaps 'practical adjustments' or 'degree of liberty' would be better.

The reason I was interested was just this issue - how much adjustment or liberty is taken in depictions of on coins? Obviously many examples can be cited of gross proportional discord, but how much of that was intentional versus simply stylistic, or even limitations of visual representation at that time. Thinking about this, I happened to remember the discussion about the dog. Since the dog is an attribute of Artemis/Diana, or at least an accessory if not a full attribute, is it actually used as a symbol or icon, with physical species particulars not considered? It was a passing thought, and in my mind not really developed enough as a thought to warrant a great discussion, though now I might be looking at rendering of objects as symbols more closely.  Smiley


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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2007, 01:18:19 pm »

But you still are generalizing beyong what the evidence will bear.  You must have taken some courses!  You have to look closely at the evidence before your eyes and see how IT was done.  Just look at the Assyrian hounds I found for you!  Just look!  Is the usual blah-blah about Assyrian art useful in understanding them?  I think not.  Nor is any blah-blah that Freshmen expect to be given to "make it clear" really useful for anything but getting a grade in a Freshman course.  The hounds on coins vary greatly.  First segregate competent work from incompetent work.  Then judge from the coins themselves.  Tiny as they are, don't the racing hounds on one of the Piso denarii from the Republic convey their character vividly?  Just look at the expression of the hound at right in my snapshot of Ashurbanipal's hounds.  The leaping ones by Artemis's legs are pretty much alike, only some more competent than others, and probably have a common prototype. 
Constantinian (and Tetrarchic) art are something else.  'Attribute' can be something symbolic there, but Artemis and her hound, in Greco-Roman art, is pictorial, representational, anecdotal, rather than symbolic at all.  They show something; symbols stand for something.  Pat L.
Congrats on making Caesar.
N.B.  It is INARTISTIC, not artistic, to make something fit rather than arranging a composition to make things work convincingly.  Be very careful to distinguished between 'stylistic' (pertaining to a personal or other kind of style) and 'stylized' (altered from real appearance for reasons of stylistic design or expression).  These two words are CATEGORICALLY not interchangeable.  Very common error.  And no, when discussing science or art or the like, one cannot say that a word means what one feels that it means or what 'everyone' uses it for.  Accurate communication matters.

Note that the hound, which looks like a woflhound, on the relief posted by Jochen is waist-high; that is a larger dog than the one that accompanies Artemis.
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2007, 02:48:06 pm »

Excellent info Slokind, and yes, the Piso denarii hounds are exceptional and full of life and vigor!

You said "Attribute' can be something symbolic here, but Artemis and her hound, in Greco-Roman art, is pictorial, representational, anecdotal, rather than symbolic at all.  They show something"

If I understand you correctly, what term would be appropriate for the act of simplifying the hound on a tiny medium, like a 20mm coin, that necessarily limits the pictorial fidelity of the hound when displayed in the traditional position at Artemis' feet? It is not "stylized" as you clarify (altered from real appearance for reasons of stylistic design or expression :: as opposed to technical limitations?::) and doesn't seem to fit the term 'stylistic' (pertaining to a personal or other kind of style :: expressive, emotive, intentionally sublime?:: ). What would be a proper term that doesn't bring with it a common-parlance mid-20th century understanding? I would think the term "simplify" would be appropriate, since a rendering on coins where the hound is limited to a few millimeters of bronze is usually a series of strokes of the engraving tool. Is this a case where the engraver attempted to render a faithful image of a hound as accurately as his tools and size limits would allow, or did Roman artisans consciously simplify for the sake of efficiency? Granted, the images of tiny hounds on coins usually capture the essence of "houndness", speed, vitality, etc. So what is the proper way of describing this sort of art or craft that captures the character of the hound with a minimal area footprint?

I studied from the Renaissance to modern, passing ancient art by in the intro and survey lessons, so I do indeed bring more modern baggage to the table  tongue What little knowledge I retained about Hellenistic cultural influence was gleaned through the painters and sculptors 1000 years later, which of course was a slanted or idealized view of things. Pretty lame, I know  Embarrassed
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2007, 03:11:33 pm »

...never got back to do this digitally.

I did a little experiment with Photoshop (this is not exactly as coming back to take a new picture, but...): I probably exaggerated a bit trying the sharpen the image, and I'm not sure that it's better than the original, but - as I said - it's just an experiment.

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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2007, 03:19:06 pm »

Do you have a pic showing the whole of the men behind the dogs? It's difficult to judge their size - maybe like a Labrador?
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2007, 04:14:51 pm »

Robert:
I have just that image; it is all I took.  The dogs are knee high to the men, but they do look like Labradors; maybe the modern ones have been bred for greater bulk and height?  The men's knees will be right at the height of the dogs' spines.  I can find for you any number of Assyrians wearing those protective boots with their short garment coming just about to the knees.  Wonderful dogs, anyway.  They are being led out for the hunt by their trainers.  The stone is, as you see, broken at left, else I'd have photographed more of the dogs.  Pat
Federico:
Yes, that is much more like the real stone, and thank you.  I used those for projection on a fairly large screen and wanted to avoid graininess, but the digital scans were taken from 30-year-old Agfachrome (old formula) slides, only ISO 50.  I must go back to the B.M.
Scott:
OK.  I thought I was taking too much space.  An attribute, such as Dionysos' kantharos or Hermes' kerykeion or Artemis the Huntress' hound or Eros' bow or quiver or torch or oil lamp, can be shown representationally as part of a story or an activity or symbolically by itself as a signifier or presented not in use but as an identifier or as a sign.  Greek art had a hard time with things that couldn't be shown in use or narratively.  On the other hand, Sandan stands on a horned creature, which is not what he rides, as Marcus Aurelius rides a horse or Septimius Severus, even on an Emesa denarius, nor is he a circus performer standing on his mount; he is not thought of as doing that; in fact, Sandan's animal, his 'vehicle' mythologically considered, is his 'vehicle' attribute, his symbol: it stands for him as a bee can stand for Ephesian Artemis, who does not play with or keep bees, as Aristaios is said to have done.  Yet Greek engravers made wonderfully apian bees for Ephesian coins, since they can do so without detracting from their symbolic value. 
I used 'attribute' for something associated with a deity, that does help identify him, that in Greek art is used in narratives and how he employs it and in other-than-Greek art is used to stand for or stand by him, symbolically.  Thus, the Nicene Creed, in Greek called the Symbolon, is not all of faith, much less all of religious experience, nor is it a prayer: it stands for what a Christian believes, so that in principle a non-Christian cannot or will not say it.  Forgive the use of space.  I know from teaching (or trying hard to teach) how hard this can be.  Pat L.
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2007, 05:54:55 pm »

slokind, Thanks so much, I really do appreciate your wealth of knowledge and willingness to bear with me. It is a great help and very useful!
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2007, 10:08:51 pm »

Just don't think I'm ever irritated with you, or anyone else.  I have often been, and sometimes am now, very irritated with an educational system that does not give you what you need for arts and sciences.  Pat L.
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2007, 01:03:23 am »

There is a picture showing the whole relief with the hounds and men here:

http://www.suffragio.it/bassorilievi/arteassiri.htm

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« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2007, 12:28:55 pm »

Thank you!  That is exactly what Robert Brenchley asked for.  Pat L.
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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2007, 03:09:40 pm »

Thanks; they look about Labrador size but stronger about the front end; I wouldn't want those things after me!
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« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2007, 05:15:45 pm »

 The article states that they are mastiffs.Mastiffs have larger chest and leg muscles.Not my idea dog to hunt deer with here in the South,but ideal for hunting lions.
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« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2007, 06:15:41 pm »

The article states that they are mastiffs.Mastiffs have larger chest and leg muscles.Not my idea dog to hunt deer with here in the South,but ideal for hunting lions.

<Off topic warning> I've known hound hunters for a long time, they say the smaller the hound, the denser the brush that can be hunted. That's small game of course, and the hound in hunting are of course not used to kill or assault the animal being hunted, but to drive it to the hunter or to track the animal. Dachshunds were bred to be hunting dogs, and contrary to the myth that says they were made small to follow badgers into their burrows (which they do, and are good at doing!), they were bred short to slow them down so that the hunter could keep up with them. As a multiple dachshund owner, I know that they are indeed natural hunters like all hounds, and mine have killed opossums and venomous snakes. It is amazing to see them work as a team, one being the distractor, the other moving for the throat. And these are just little weenie dogs. Hounds are indeed hunters, even small ones. One of these days I'd like to have a coon hound just because I think they are attractive animals.
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« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2007, 12:29:35 pm »

Those don't look like any of the mastiff breeds on Wikipedia, so I assume it's a pretty broad generic term. From what little I know of medieval hunting, the idea often seems to have been to drive the prey towards waiting archers.
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