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Sculptures and reliefs from Acropolis

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acropolis scuptureOne of the earliest, sculpures of Acropolis in low relief, represents the hero in combat with the Hydra, whose snaky coils fill one end of the pediment, the other end being occupied by the chariot of Heracles and a gigantic crab. The most conspicuous of the pedimental groups represents Heracles wrestling with Triton, the "Old Man of the Sea", the other half of it is occupied by a strange three-bodied monster and the three intertwined tails of this balance the fishlike tail of Triton as a filling for the narrowing space of the gable. This group probably ornamented one end of the early temple of Athena.

slaughter of TroilusAnother fine architectural pediment group is that representing the introduction of Heracles to the assembly of the gods on Olympus. It shows Hera and Zeus seated and Heracles in the corner. A further pediment sculpture is that which shows the scene of the slaughter of Troilus by Achilles. A fountain-house fills the centre, with a maiden outside it. Parts of Troilus and a tree are visible at the side. Another great group shows two lions tearing a bull. All these sculptures show the remains of rich colouring, and their effect when placed on the buildings to which they belonged must have been very impressive.

colossal figures The colossal figures in Parian marble which were placed in the pediment over the colonnade added to the early temple of Athena in the time of Pisistratus. In the centre was a figure of Athena striking with her spear a giant prostrate at her feet. Portions of two more giants are to be seen; the whole composition must have contained other gods and giants, and must have been a fine example of the bold and severe style of archaic Attic work.

The series of female statues which constitutes the chief treasure of the Acropolis excavations, most of them were found carefully buried in the space just to the north of the Erechtheum. They must have been thrown down by the Persians when they sacked Athens, and buried by the Athenians when they returned to the ruins of their city; and therefore they offer us characteristic examples of the art of sculpture as it was practised at Athens in the years preceding 480 B.C. We do not know whom these statues were intended to represent: their official name seems to have been "Maidens" (Korai), and it appears to have been customary to dedicate such statues to Athena, perhaps as a memorial of some service.

athens statuetesfemale statues

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Athens Greece Guide 2003-2007

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