Classical

Pediment drawing
  • West pediment of the temple of Zeus at Olympia c. 470-457 BC

The early Classical temple of Zeus at Olympia has pedimental subjects which relate to Zeus, as guardian of oaths, and Apollo, as upholder of law (at the battle with the centaurs, above).

Cast of Olympia metope
  • Cast of Olympia metope No. 10. Herakles supports the heavens as Atlas brings the apples of the Hesperides.
    Cast No. A069

Herakles, associated with the foundation of the sanctuary, is represented by his Labours set in metopes placed unusually over the porch doors and not over the outer columns of the temple.

The mainly Doric buildings of Athens' building programme from the mid-5th century to its end carry scenes more related to Athens' history, through myth, than to cult. The Hephaisteion metopes share the honours between Theseus and Herakles, at one end of the temple only; it also introduces friezes over the inner porch walls, with what seems to be an Athenian mythical encounter, and a centauromachy (below). This placing of friezes in the porch appears also in a new temple at Sunium.

Photo of Frieze sculpture
  • West frieze of the temple of Hephaestus in Athens. c. 430 BC

The Parthenon carries this use of friezes further by placing a continuous frieze round the whole central block of the building. The sculpture subjects seem to relate closely to the building's subsidiary role as celebration of Athens' success against the Persians: the birth of Athena and her winning the land of Attica in the pediments; metopes with Amazon fights, the sack of Troy, centauromachy, and the Gods fighting Giants -

Pediment drawing
  • East pediment of the Parthenon. The Basel reconstruction (by Berger)
Photo of Cast of Parthenon frieze
  • Casts lab of the west frieze of the Parthenon

- and the frieze with a heroic procession of cavalier citizens led to the presence of the Twelve Gods.


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