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The Art of the Parthenon

  • Date Submitted: 09/09/2012 06:02 PM
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“The Parthenon sculptures were created more for the glory of the Athenian people than the gods. Discuss.

The Parthenon sculptures were created more for the glory of the Athenian people than the gods. Discuss.
The once grand temple, known as the Parthenon, was built between 447 and 438 BC. Constructed during the reign of the great statesman, Pericles, the Parthenon was created with the intention of honoring the goddess Athena, the patron goddess of Athens. In fact, many of the sculptures held a double meaning, glorifying not only the patron goddess of war, but rather glorifying people of Athens, known throughout the ancient world for their egotistical nature. By 450BC, Athens was the centre of the ancient world, birthplace of drama and democracy, the Athenians only saw it as fitting that a temple should be erected that would serve as a testament to their achievements. This amazing feat of architecture and art was unique both today and in its time. The Parthenon Marbles held great symbolism and represented mythology and cult that were exclusive to Athens. The Parthenon features three categories of architectural sculpture: the metopes, the pediments and the coveted frieze, all of which hold great symbolism and importance in understanding Athenian society.

The Pediments:
The pediments are the triangular gable ends of a Greek temple, often filled with sculptures. According to Pausanias, writing in the second century AD, the east pediment of the Parthenon represented the birth of Athena. Pausanias describes the west pediment as showing the contest between Athena and Poseidon for the land of Attica.   In 1674, artist Jacque Carrey made several sketches detailing the fantastic sculptures of the Parthenon pediments.   The east pediment, showing the birth of Athena from Zeus’ head is now mainly found in the British Museum. The right side of the east pediment shows the bringing of night by the horses of...


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