THE WRATH OF ACHILLES.
It represents Patroclus, in obedience to the commands of Achilles, delivering up Briseis to Agamemnon’s heralds: and the artist has well expressed the reluctant step and lingering look with which the beautiful captive leaves the hero, to whom she had become fondly attached: while Achilles’ whole frame seems agitated with wrath, and breathing vengeance against the tyrant, for his insolence, injustice, and rapacity.
PRIAM SUPPLICATING ACHILLES.
It represents the unfortunate and aged Priam kneeling to Achilles, “kissing those murderous hands that had slain so many of his sons,”
χερσὶν Ἀχιλλῆος λάβε γούνατα καὶ κύσε χεῖρας
δεινὰς ἀνδροφόνους, αἵ οἱ πολέας κτάνον υἷας.
Homer. Iliad. XXIV. 478.
and imploring him to give up the corpse of Hector, that it might receive those funeral rites, which were held to be of most sacred obligation on the surviving friends, and of most important consequence to the souls of the deceased.
The Danish sculptor has admirably succeeded in expressing the feelings, which must be supposed to have shewn themselves in the countenances of Priam and Achilles at such an interview: he has chosen the very moment, when the proud heart of the conqueror, touched by the pathetic appeal of the bereaved parent, is relaxing from its resentment, and yielding to the impulse of compassion.
Thorvaldsen has ventured to deviate from the text of Homer, by introducing Trojan attendants, carrying part of the costly ransom into the tent of Achilles; and he has rendered them conspicuously national, by their Phrygian bonnets and dress; though the poet says, that Priam was expressly commanded by Jupiter, to take with him no Trojan, except one grave and aged herald:
οἶον, μηδέ τις ἄλλος ἅμα Τρώων ἴτω ἀνήρ.
κῆρύξ τίς τοι ἕποιτο γεραίτερος, ὅς κ᾿ ἰθύνοι
ἡμιόνους καὶ ἄμαξαν ἐύτροχον, ἠδὲ καὶ αὖτις
νεκρὸν ἄγοι προτὶ ἄστυ, τὸν ἔκτανε δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.
Hom. Il. XXIV. 177.
STATUE OF LADY
GEORGIANA ELIZABETH RUSSELL.
IN the vestibule of the Temple of the Graces are two niches; each containing a beautiful little statue.
That on the south side of the door represents Lady Georgiana Elizabeth Russell, eldest daughter of the Duke of Bedford, sculptured by Thorvaldsen at Rome, when she was four years old. He has succeeded in giving to it a mild expression of features, a purity and simplicity of forms, and a pleasing attitude of repose.