Phidias and the Truth of Sculpture

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FC: Greek Scrapbook Project Allyson Linton Period 6 2013 | Phidias: The Truth of Sculpture

1: Phidias was a sculptor who was most famous around 440 BCE. He created several statues, but unfortunately, none have survived the toil of the centuries since. | The Athena Lemnia | Zeus at Olympia | Athena Parthenos

2: Zeus at Olympia was one of Phidias' most famous sculptures. These pictures are artists' renditions of the statue, as the actual statue no longer exists. There are figures of men on the throne, and Phidias was concerned with making them realistic and exact. He used male models, including his own apprentice, as guides for the figures. This is an example of how Phidias looked for truth. He tried to make things exactly as they were on the human body.

3: Phidias made three statues of Athena, two for the Parthenon and one for a small town.

4: This is a small scale model of the Athena Promachos | The Athena Promachos was the first sculpture for the Parthenon. It was 9 meters tall, the tallest sculpture in Greece, until Phidias made his Athena Parthenos. | The statue was destroyed after it lost its spear during a war. The people thought its beckoning hand had caused the invaders to attack.

5: Artist's rendition of the Athena Parthenos | Phidias tried to create exact replicas of his subjects. His works are proportional and lifelike. This was how Phidias pursued truth using art and sculpture. | His version of truth still exists today. While his subjects may not exist, nor his beliefs that he immortalized as art, the human body still has about the same look that it did during Phidias' life. | The Athena Parthenos was one of Phidias' most famous sculptures. She used to stand in the Parthenon, so that the people of Athens could worship her.

6: The picture shows us how Phidias tried to find truth using his artistic abilities. The face of the Athena Parthenos shows expression, and is very exact as was Phidias' nature. | In order to find the truth about art and the human body's complex design, Phidias used human models as a reference to make his sculptures exactly like the actual human body. This is how he found his truth, and how he found something that has stayed true throughout these centuries.

7: The Athena Lemnia was Phidias' second statue of Athena, but it did not stay in the Parthenon. He made it for a little town called Lemnos in Greece. It is obvious how Phidias found truth using this statue as a reference. The look on Athena's face says exactly what she is feeling, and she is in a natural pose too. Each of the folds on her tunic are exact and perfect, creating even more of a feel. All of the proportions of the goddess are perfect in correlation to the actual human body.

8: These two statues are called the Riace Warriors, and were found off the coast of Italy. They are loosely credited to Phidias, as there are no records that he actually made them. However, they do look like his style of art, where they are proportional and lifelike. These statues show us again how Phidias looked for a stable truth in his line of work. These sculptures are replicas of the human body; Phidias even caught the muscles of humans too, if these were actually made by him. We can see how he viewed the human body, and how he used his work to portray his understanding of truth.

10: Phidias was the creator of the frieze of the Parthenon. He designed it so that there would be two processional pictures that met in the middle. He used models to create the figures of the gods and goddesses.

11: The frieze shows how he made them all proportional and realistic, his definition of truth when he was alive. Each of his figures look exactly like what his subjects did. Unfortunately, that was his downfall.

12: The Parthenon

13: Phidias designed the frieze for the Parthenon, along with the statue of Athena that stood inside. While the Parthenon itself is not his creation, his sculptures inside represent what he determined truth was. Unfortunately, most of his work was destroyed after he was thrown in jail. He was thrown in jail, according to ancient records, because he used gold and ivory from another statue in the area, and because his statues were based on human models, telling the citizens of Athens that the gods were just like humans, not any better than humans. He joined the ranks of unappreciated artists that day. This was the consequence of seeking the truth and trying to tell others what he had found out in his mission.

14: This is one of Phidias' other sculptures. Just like all of his other sculptures, this sculpture is realistic and natural, and portrays exceptionally the truth about the human body. He created his statue and called it Heracles after the Greek hero. It was made for the Parthenon, but did not survive after the fall of Greece. The figure shows how Phidias viewed the truth about the human body, just like all of his other statues did too.

15: Impressive details that help to make it more realistic

16: Phidias was an amazing sculptor, however, many other sculptors were jealous of him. He created realistic and gorgeous statues, and he gained power and a reputation by building the Zeus at Olympia and the Athena Parthenos. | Unfortunately, because he was so well known, other sculptors were jealous, and some politicians were envious of his friend Pericles. These people had him thrown in jail because he was Pericles' friend and it would hurt Pericles politically.

17: Negative and Positive Consequences for Searching for the Truth using Art | Positive: Creating realistic and amazing statues that actually captured the truth about the human body. | Positive: Gained power and a large reputation as the creator of Zeus at Olympia and the Athena Parthenos. | Negative: Thrown in jail because he used human models instead of portraying gods as better than humans. | Negative: All of his statues were destroyed because he was thrown in jail and unworthy of appreciation.

18: To conclude, Phidias discovered truth in his own way, through art. Not math, not science, not philosophy. He found truth in the shapes of the world, in the lines of the human body. This was his version of truth. What's yours? | The End

19: Made by Allyson Linton All photos found at the cited websites

20: Citations:

21: Fun Fact: We know of two of Phidias’ pupils, Agoracritus and Pantarkes of Elis. Agoracritus created the sculpture of Nemesis at Rhamnous, and Pantarkes won the boys wrestling at Olympia. He was used as a model of Phidias for one of the figures that decorates the statue of Zeus. | General Fact: Phidias gained most of his fame for his two enormous chryselephantine (gold and ivory) sculptures: one of Athena in the Parthenon, and the other of Zeus at Olympia. | General Fact: Was paid to create the statues with money from the Delian League and is often considered the greatest Ancient Greek sculptor. None of his works still exist.

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