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In yesterday's Student Vagabond mention was made merely in passing of the fact that the dramas of Euripides seemed hardly golerable to the German romanticist. A. W. Schlegel. This is particularly interesting when one realizes that Euripides works contain within them the seeds of the movement of which Schlegel was to be the formulator and popularizer. In fact it is impossible to understand the reason for this strange opposition unless one understands at the same time the romantic conception of the Greek and Greek art.
The romantic movement is one full of contradictions. Not only was it most thoroughly un-Greek, but at the same time there arose a great interest and almost worship of Greece. It was a fair land of flowers and warm sunshine, of snowy temples and exquisite statues, of liberty and freedom. In this setting lived the Greek, the ideal being to whom the romanticist looked back with yearning as to something very dear which has been lost. Yet it is needless to say that this Greek was as inconsistent with the facts as was the conception of the golden land in which he lived.
With this in mind, the reason for Schlerel's distaste for Euripides easily suggests itself. Euripides dramas marked a change from what was held to be the ideal, they vorged on destroying the rosey illusions of the romanticist and for this very reason they were distasteful.
It is no less interesting to see how the romantic conception of Greek art influences popular opinion today. When we think of a Greek temple the very expression "classic", by which we describe it suggests pure white, immaculate marble, austere straight lines, and perfect symmetry. Much the same conception arises in regard to sculpture. That the snowy whiteness of the marble should ever have been colored seems not only impossible to most people but almost sac-religious. But it is well to realize that not only was such sculpture as was done in marble painted in many details, but also that colored designs decorated the temples, and that the greatest glory of Greek art was a statue in gold and ivory.
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