In the History of Ancient Art, Winckelmann writes that Persian religious service was not favourable to the arts as "the visible heavens and fire were the highest objects of their adoration" (314) - interesting to contemplate in a culture that expects ideals to be materialised.
In The History of Ancient Art Among the Greeks, he writes that "ancient artists" depicted the expression of passions such that it "always corresponds to what we should look for in a man of disciplined mind, who prevents his feelings from breaking forth, and lets only the sparks of the fire be seen; who seeks to penetrate the latent motives of him who comes to honor him, or to play the spy." (163) In this context, greatness of mind is represented as "noble simplicity" betraying neither frivolity nor craft but innocence and a "trustful nature". An interesting contrast to the jaded perhaps even corrupt hero of today.
Winckelmann compares beauty to essence extracted from matter by fire, "it seeks to beget unto itself a creature formed after the likeness of the first rational being designed in the mind of the Divinity" (ibid., 44). Were that all we wrote such an essential phoenix emerging from the flames.
Brush: pfefferminzchen paper via DeviantArt.