, a sculptor of Rhodes, who flourished probably in the fifth century B. C. is renowned for having executed, in concert with his son Athenodorus and Polydoros, that stupendous monument of Grecian art, the Laocoon.' It is supposed that this is the same groupe which decorated the baths of Titus in the time of Pliny, to whom we owe our knowledge of the names of the artists. It has been astonishingly preserved ever since to exhibit the perfection of the Greek artists in the imitation of nature and passion. It was discovered in the sixteenth century, in the baths of Titus, and in the very spot where, according to Pliny, it had attracted admiration in his time. The only circumstance which suggests a doubt on this subject is, that Pliny represents the groupe to have been formed of one solid block, whereas the present is evidently composed of several; but it is probable that time has rendered the fissures between the pieces more visible than when Pliny saw it. Julius II. bestowed a very liberal reward on Felix de Fredis who discovered the Laocoon, and it remained in Rome until the arrival of the French army, when that and other celebrated monuments of art were removed to the museum at Paris. Borghini and Winkelraan place the Laocoon and its sculptors in the most brilliant sera of the art in Greece; but of this some doubts have been entertained. Lessing, in his ingenious | dissertation on poetry and painting, of which the Laocoon is both the title and the subject, endeavours to prove that the statue was made after the sublime passage in Virgil, in which Laocoon’s story is given; and from a consideration of the exquisite finishing of this groupe, compared with the works of the Grecian artists, he is of opinion that it was executed under the Caesars. Be this as it may, the Laocoon has immortalised the names of Agesander, Athenodorus, and Polydorus. 1


Biographie Universelle.