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Athena Lenormant, unfinished statuette, 1 st century AD.

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Presentation on theme: "Athena Lenormant, unfinished statuette, 1 st century AD."— Presentation transcript:





5 Athena Lenormant, unfinished statuette, 1 st century AD

6 Pausanias (I. 24.5-7) on the statue of Athena Parthenos […] The statue itself is made of ivory and gold. On the middle of her helmet is placed a likeness of the Sphinxthe tale of the Sphinx I will give when I come to my description of Boeotia and on either side of the helmet are griffins in relief. [6] These griffins, Aristeas of Proconnesus says in his poem, fight for the gold with the Arimaspi beyond the Issedones. The gold which the griffins guard, he says, comes out of the earth; the Arimaspi are men all born with one eye; griffins are beasts like lions, but with the beak and wings of an eagle. I will say no more about the griffins.

7 [7] The statue of Athena is upright, with a tunic reaching to the feet, and on her breast the head of Medusa is worked in ivory. She holds a statue of Victory about four cubits high, and in the other hand a spear; at her feet lies a shield and near the spear is a serpent. This serpent would be Erichthonius. On the pedestal is the birth of Pandora in relief. Hesiod and others have sung how this Pandora was the first woman; before Pandora was born there was as yet no womankind. W.H.S. Jones - H.A. Ormerod (1918) Pausanias Description of Greece, 4, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press – London: William Heinemann Ltd.

8 Plinius Secundus, Historia Naturalis 36. 18 (36.4), on the statue of Athena Parthenos Among all nations which the fame of the Olympian Jupiter has reached, Phidias is looked upon, beyond all doubt, as the most famous of artists: but to let those who have never even seen his works, know how deservedly he is esteemed, we will take this opportunity of adducing a few slight proofs of the genius which he displayed. In doing this, we shall not appeal to the beauty of his Olympian Jupiter, nor yet to the vast proportions of his Athenian Minerva, six and twenty cubits in height, and composed of ivory and gold; but it is to the shield of this last statue that we shall draw attention; upon the convex face of which he has chased a combat of the Amazons, while, upon the concave side of it, he has represented the battle between the Gods and the Giants. Upon the sandals again, we see the wars of the Lapithae and Centaurs, so careful has he been to fill every smallest portion of his work with some proof or other of his artistic skill. To the story chased upon the pedestal of the statue, the name of the "Birth of Pandora has been given; and the figures of new-born gods to be seen upon it are no less than twenty in number. The figure of Victory, in particular, is most admirable, and connoisseurs are greatly struck with the serpent and the sphinx in bronze lying beneath the point of the spear. Bostock J. - H.T. Riley, (1855) Pliny the Elder. The Natural History, London.

9 Plutarch, Life of Perikles 31.4, on the shield of Athena Parthenos But the reputation of his works nevertheless brought a burden of jealous hatred upon Pheidias, and especially the fact that when he wrought the battle of the Amazons on the shield of the goddess, he carved out a figure that suggested himself as a bald old man lifting on high a stone with both hands, and also inserted a very fine likeness of Pericles fighting with an Amazon. And the attitude of the hand, which holds out a spear in front of the face of Pericles, is cunningly contrived as it were with a desire to conceal the resemblance, which is, however, plain to be seen from either side. Bernadotte Perrin (1916) Plutarch. Plutarch's Lives, 3, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press – London: William Heinemann Ltd.

10 The position of the statue of Athena Parthenos in the Parthenon


12 The statue in Parthenon and the small pool of water in front of it, in order to prevent the ivory from drying out.

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