The Eyes of Statues

The Brooklyn Rail

“Statues have a tendency to flicker between the quick and the dead. Lucian of Samosata describes a young man who spent his days before the Venus of Praxiteles, his sight fixed uninterruptedly upon herThe statue’s vitality, Lucian argues, comes from her eyes, with their “gaze so liquid, and at the same time so clear.” In a 1798 essay Goethe suggests viewing a Hellenistic sculpture by torchlight. “If one were to stand in front of the Laocoön, close one’s eyes, then reopen them, it would seem as if the figures had actually moved.” What if they had?…”