, the most celebrated sculptor of antiquity, was an Athenian, and a contemporary of the celebrated Pericles, who flourished in the 83d olympiad, or B.C. 440 to 450. This wonderful artist was not only consummate in the use of his tools, but accomplished in those sciences and branches of knowledge which belong to his profession; as history, poetry, fable, geometry, optics, &c. He first taught the Greeks to imitate nature perfectly in this way; and all his works, distinguished for their grandeur and sublimity, were received with admiration. They were also incredibly numerous; for he united the greatest facility with the greatest perfection. His Nemesis was ranked among his first works: and is said to have been carved out of a block of marble which was found in the camp of the Persians, after they were defeated in the plains of Marathon. He made an excellent statue of Minerva for the Plateaus; but the statue of this goddess, in her magnificent temple at Athens, of which there are still some ruined remains, was a more astonishing production of human art. Pericles, who had the care of this pompous edifice, gave orders to Phidias, whose talents he well knew, to make a statue of the goddess; and Phidias formed a figure of ivory and gold, thirty-nine feet high. Writers never speak of this illustrious monument of skill without raptures; yet what has rendered the name of the artist immortal, proved at that time his ruin. He had carved upon the shield of the goddess his own portrait and that of Pericles, which the envious censured as a crime. He was also charged with embezzling part of the materials which were designed for the statue. Upon this he withdrew to Elis, and took a most honourable revenge over the ungrateful Athenians, by making for that place the Olympic Jupiter, which was afterwards ranked among the most wonderful pieces of art in the world. It was executed with astonishing sublimity of conception; its dimensions being sixty feet high, and every way proportioned. * c The majesty of the work equalled the majesty of the God,“says Quintilian;” and its beauty seems to have added lustre to the religion of the country." Phidias concluded his labours witu this master-piece; and the Eleans, to do honour to his memory, appropriated to his descendants an office, which consisted in preserving from injury this magnificent image. 1


Plinii Nat. Hist. Juaius de Pictura veteruin, -Plutarch in Pericles. Quintilian Inst. Orat.