Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects 1550 (2nd. ed. 1568) (excerpt from the Preface to the Third Part)
Vasari and Ancient Statues
... After them [i.e. the artists of the Early Renaissance], indeed, their successors were enabled to attain to it through seeing excavated out of the earth certain antiquities cited by Pliny [i.e. Pliny the Elder, 23-79 CE, author of the Natural History] as amongst the most famous, such as the Laocoön, the Hercules, the Great Torso of the Belvedere, and likewise the Venus, the Cleopatra ["Sleeping Ariadne"], the Apollo, and an endless number of others, which, both with their sweetness and their severity, with their fleshy roundness copied from the greatest beauties of nature, and with certain attitudes which involve no distortion of the whole figure but only a movement of certain parts, and are revealed with a most perfect grace...