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Transcript
THEMES/ IDEAS OF THE PARTHENON
(Building, Frieze, Sthn Metopes)
THEME/
IDEA
POWER
SIZE
ECONOMIC
STATUS
PHOENIX
ORDER /
BALANCE
CHANGE:
MYTHOS TO
LOGOS
RELIGION
TECHNIQUES
Doric and Ionic blend: Embellishment to Doric
order through use of Ionic frieze
Stories sculpted (stories of Greek victory over
barbarism).
Huge cost of the project.
Positioning of the building pronaos facing away
from the propylaia to force citizens to walk
around the exterior and see the sculptures and
the size of the building.
Scale of building: more metopes than needed
(92), more columns than needed (8X17), bigger
than last temple to Athena, 160m long Ionic
frieze.
Army of workmen under Pheidias.
Pentelic marble used throughout along with gold,
bronze and ivory embellishments, painted
sculptures.
Cost of building huge to city-state.
Stories depicted in sculpture
Building larger in scale and size than last temple
to Athena, also used old marble from last temple.
Balance in sculptural stories
Symmetry in floor plan use of columns at rear and
front of temple.
4: 9 Ratio for symmetry.
Mathematical symmetry: built to work with the
flaws in our physical perception so that it is to our
eye absolutely symmetrical and therefore comes
to represent triumph over chaos.
Myths portrayed in Parthenon still important to
religious ritual, but not in actual running of state.
Temple functions still used in Panathenaia.
Housing great statue of Athena Parthenos.
PEDIMENTS:
East: Birth of Athena
West: Athena vs Poseidon
METOPES:
SOCIO-HISTORICAL CONTEXT
454 League moved to Athens acropolis.
League unable to stop funds being used to build
acropolis site.
Defeat of Persia, League hegemony, maritime
superiority, democratic government,
Dissent over use of League funds in Assembly
“dressing Acropolis up like a whore”
Focus of building not on individual glory, eg:
Civic heroes like Theseus not seen in sculpture),
but on group actions. More focus on glory of
Athena and Athenian achievements.
Use of League funds
Link to Imperial Athenian attitude
Philotimia and reciprosity. Built to glorify the
city and also to reinforce the size of the Empire.
Use of League funds to build temple.
Dissent over use of League funds in Assembly
“dressing Acropolis up like a whore”
Rebuilding of the temple after Persian sacking
of Athens. To remind Athenians of the loss of
the original temple and not to let it be
destroyed again.
Man winning over monsters (Order vs. Chaos)
Mathematical order important in 5th Century.
Desire for beauty in buildings as part of the
Empire, able to afford more elaborate designs.
Metopes stories: Balance of civic and familial
values: corrupted marriage (sack of troy),
disrupted but honourable marriage
(centauromachy).
Shift from mythical understandings of the world
to intellectual understandings. Desire to use
mathematical, scientific, philosophical
understandings of the world above that of
religion.
Devotion to patroness Athena Polias, Parthenos
and Nike, with other gods, heroes and old
leaders/kings of Athens also depicted on the
building.
Rebuilding a sign of religious reciprocity after
Persian sacking of religious sites on Acropolis.
East: Gigantomachy (Olympians vs Titans)
West: Amazons vs. Greeks
North: Ilioupersis (Sack of Troy)
South: Centauromachy (Centaurs vs Lapiths)
FRIEZE: Panathenaic Procession with gods
watching enrobing of Athena.
Chief religious centre of the city.
Athena: Androgynous female goddess born of
Zeus (little mention to her mother Metis
goddess of wisdom). Goddess of wisdom and
tactical warfare, patroness of Athens, heroes
etc. Andronyous nature able to lend itself to
patriarchal city-state like Athens.