Image from page 226 of "History of art" (1921)
Title: History of art
Publisher: New York and London : Harper & brothers
Contributing Library: PIMS - University of Toronto
Digitizing Sponsor: University of Toronto
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ich there issued through Egypt and Greece the civih-zation of the Occident? Everything that was not deathwas hidden from theeyes of the people.Only when the sun wasat its zenith did ittouch the sculpturedaltar in the well thatwas hidden in the heartof the artificial moun-tain. The flat bas-reliefs with which thewalls were covered andin which one might,under the brilliant var-nish of the greens, theturquoise blues, and thereds, have seen men inplumed helmets hunt-ing the tiger and theboa, disappeared underthe blood. The vaporof the slaughterhousemasked the idols. Thetradition of sculpturedmaterial could not behanded on to mutilatedgenerations, and thelandscape at which they looked too hastily was always steaming with rain orelse vibrating with sunlight. It is by the intuition formass, and not by intelligence in the use of profile, thatone may compare the stone idols which the bronzetools of the Mexicans drew little by little from theblock, with the pure Egyptian colossuses whose planes
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God of the water.(Museum of the City of Mexico.) 200 MEDIEVAL ART answer one another, introduce one another, and bal-ance, as the land balances the sea. The Mexicans scarcely reached and certainly couldnot go beyond the architectural stage in the evolutionof the mind. Undoubtedly, the need for an essentialsymmetry haunts them when they raise Tlaloc on anornamented pedestal, his hollow eyes turned to heaven,as he sits motionless with his prodigious expression ofwaiting and boredom, or when they represent Chacmoolgathering the rain in his belly, or the goddess of deathdressed in serpents and claws and raising her skeletonface and her horrible, rotted hands. In an effort thatone feels to have been a painful one, they attempt themost trenchant expression and, to be sure, they dooften attain profoundly moving structural epitomes, ina sudden equilibrium that arrests the tottering of theform and, with the energy of despair, sets it firmly inplace. The continuity of the composite monster isth
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