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Plate VI.


p. 14

Invocation to Priapus



EVERYTHING in this bas-relief indicates an interior scene, an act of candour and piety, and not a disgusting orgy. The a married pair, clad as decently as the nature of the sacrifice to which they are about to proceed will allow, seem to be asking the god who presides over generation to put an end to a grievous sterility; the expressive gestures of the woman, especially, bear out this explanation. The husband is occupied in stretching out a curtain which is to veil from profane eyes the mysteries of the sacrifice.

Procul esto, profane!

The god, represented with the figure of a bald-headed and bearded old man, reposes on a little column, before which we observe a kind of altar erected in haste by the married pair, on which they have placed some oak-leaves and the pine-apple which surmounted the thyrsus of the priestesses of Bacchus.

The execution of this piece is not without some merit. The figures in it are expressive and harmoniously grouped; but the defects are sufficiently obvious to enable us to dispense with enumerating them all. It will easily be perceived, for instance, that the man's back shows too much convexity; that his legs are too short and his arms too powerful. Doubtless nature is often thus made, but not that which artists use as a model.

Next: Plate VII: Bacchanalia