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Mr. Edward Robinson, Curator of Classical Antiquities in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, delivered the first lecture in his course on Greek Art in the Fogg Lecture Room last evening. The lecturer took up and carefully outlined the social, religious and intellectual conditions amid which the Greeks lived, and which tended to foster and develop the spirit of art.
The mental activity and imagination of the Greeks were stimulated by the very configuration of the landscape about them. Divided into communities by mountain ranges, they had a chance to develop along individual lines, to acquire a distinctive spirit of thought. The lines of the country are gentle and undulating, always suggesting what lies beyond. The coloring is of soft grays, pinks and violets, calling for the same restraint on the part of the artist as is shown by Nature herself. Everywhere one sees a combination of great variety with the utmost delicacy and refinement,- an effect which no sensitive imagination could resist.
The Greeks had a close sympathy with Nature, which to them was always good. Their emotions and passions were natural, on the surface, never restrained by social conventions. The perfect man was he who properly balanced and developed all the natural instincts in himself. Their intensely imaginative minds gave to their divinities a distinct idealization. Juno-the protector of the family-was conceived to be beautiful and severe; Venus was gentleness itself; Diana's nature was wild, untamed. It was to these ideal conceptions that the Greek sculptors were called upon to give worthy physical form. With such high ideals, and amid such favorable conditions, it is but natural that the Greeks should have become the greatest exponents of art whom the world has known.
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