Base Deception

In 1821, the French carved a classical Greek sculpture. In the Venus de Milo, they thought they finally had one. Never mind that it wasn't really classical

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Early in the 20th century, one other intriguing piece of evidence came to light. The name Alexandros of Antioch is mentioned twice in an inscription found in Thespiae, a city near Mount Helicon on the mainland of Greece. It was in Thespiae that an important competition of poetry and theatrical arts was held every five years. The inscription, which dates to about 80 B.C., identifies Alexandros of Antioch, son of Menides, as a victor in singing and composing.

Like many artists of his time, Alexandros no doubt left his home in Antioch, wandering wherever his commissions took him. As a musician, he was good enough to win the contest and some ephemeral fame. As a sculptor, however, he was indisputably a genius whose name deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Phidias, Praxiteles and the other ancient masters. After all, Alexandros, son of Menides, created the Venus de Milo.


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