A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

a sculptor mentioned only by Pliny (36.4.10) as the author of a group of the Thespiades, or Muses, which was placed by Asinius Pollio in his buildings at Rome, perhaps the library on the Palatine hill. This artist, who does not appear to have enjoyed great celebrity with the ancients, is particularly interesting to us, because one of the most exquisite statues, the Venus de Medici, bears his name in the following inscription on the pedestal:


This inscription, which has been undeservedly considered as a modern imposition, especially by Florentine critics, who would fain have claimed a greater master for their admired statue, indicates both the father and the native town of Cleomenes; and the letter Ω gives likewise an external proof of what we should have guessed from the character of the work itself, that he was subsequent to B. C. 403. But we may arrive still nearer at his age. Mummius brought the above-mentioned group of the Muses from Thespiae to Rome; and Cleomenes must therefore have lived previously to B. C. 146, the date of the destruction of Corinth. The beautiful statue of Venus is evidently an imitation of the Cnidian statue of Praxiteles; and Müller's opinion is very probable, that Cleomenes tried to revive at Athens the style of this great artist. Our artist would, according to this supposition, have lived between B. C. 363 (the age of Praxiteles) and B. C. 146.

Now, there is another Cleomenes, the author of a much admired but rather lifeless statue in the Louvre, which commonly bears the name of Germanicus, though without the slightest foundation. It represents a Roman orator, with the right hand lifted, and, as the attribute of a turtle at the foot shews, in the habit of Mercury. There the artist calls himself


He was therefore distinct from the son of Apollodorus, but probably his son; for the name of Cleomenes is so very rare at Athens, that we can hardly suppose another Cleomenes to have been his father; and nothing was more common with ancient artists than that the son followed the father's profession. But it is quite improbable that an Athenian sculptor should have made the statue of a Roman in the form of a god before the wars against Macedonia had brought the Roman armies into Greece. The younger Cleomenes must therefore have exercised his art subsequently to B. C. 200, probably subsequently to the battle of Cynoscephalae. We may therefore place the father about B. C. 220.

Another work is also inscribed with the name of Cleomenes, namely, a basso-relievo at Florence, of very good workmanship, with the story of Alceste, bearing the inscription

. But we are not able to decide whether it is to be referred to the father, or to the son, or to a third and more recent artist, whose name is published by Raoul-Rochette. (Monumens inédits
Orestéale, pl. xxv. p. 130.) The inscriptions of four statues in the collection of Wilton House are of a very doubtful description.