Phidias in Wikipedia

Phidias or Pheidias (in Ancient Greek, Φειδίας); circa 480 BC – 430 BC), was a Greek sculptor, painter and architect, who lived in the 5th century BC, and is commonly regarded as one of the greatest of all sculptors of Classical Greece:[1] Phidias' Statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Phidias also designed the statues of the goddess Athena on the Athenian Acropolis, namely the Athena Parthenos inside the Parthenon and the Athena Promachos, a colossal bronze statue of Athena which stood between it and the Propylaea,[2] a monumental gateway that served as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. Phidias was the son of a certain Charmides of Athens.[3] The ancients believed that his masters were Hegias[4] and Hageladas. Prior to the Peloponnesian war, Phidias was accused of embezzling gold intended for the statue of Athena inside the Parthenon. Pericles' enemies found a false witness against Phidias, named Menon. Phidias died in prison, although Pericles' companion, Aspasia, was acquitted of her own charges. Works Although no original works in existence can be confidently attributed to him with certainty, numerous Roman copies in varying degrees of supposed fidelity are known to exist. This is not uncommon. Almost all classical Greek paintings and sculptures have been destroyed, and only Roman copies or notes of them exist, like the passages of Plato that ascribe Phidias' works to him. The ancient Romans frequently copied and further developed Greek art. Ancient critics take a very high view of the merits of Phidias. What they especially praise is the ethos or permanent moral level of his works as compared with those of the later so called "pathetic" school. Demetrius calls his statues sublime, and at the same time precise. Of his life we know little apart from his works. His first commission was a group of national heroes with Miltiades as a central figure. The famous statesman Pericles also commissioned several sculptures for Athens from him in 447 BC, to celebrate Greek victory against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon during the Greco-Persian Wars (490 BC). Pericles used some of the money from the maritime League of Delos,[5] to rebuild and decorate Athens to celebrate this victory. In 1958 archaeologists found the workshop at Olympia where Phidias assembled the gold and ivory Zeus. There were still some shards of ivory at the site, moulds and other casting equipment, and a black glaze drinking cup[6] engraved "I belong to Phidias".[7] The Golden Ratio has been represented by the Greek letter \varphi (phi), after Phidias, who is said to have employed it. The Golden Ratio is an irrational number approximating 1.6180[8] which when studied has special mathematical properties. The golden spiral is also said to hold aesthetic values. Early works The earliest of the works of Phidias were dedications in memory of Marathon, celebrating the Greek victory. At Delphi he erected a great group in bronze including the figures of Greek gods Apollo and Athena, several Attic heroes, and General Miltiades the Younger. On the Acropolis of Athens Pheidias set up a colossal bronze statue of Athena, the Athena Promachos, which was visible far out at sea. Athena was the goddess of wisdom and warriors and the protectress of Athens. At Pellene in Achaea, and at Plataea Pheidias made two other statues of Athena, as well as a statue of the goddess Aphrodite in ivory and gold for the people of Elis. Zeus at Olympia and the Athena Parthenos Among the ancient Greeks themselves two works of Phidias far outshone all others, the colossal chryselephantine figures in gold and ivory of Zeus circa 432 BC on the site where it was erected in the temple of Zeus,[9] at Olympia, Greece, and of Athena Parthenos (literally, "Athena the Virgin") a sculpture of the Greek virgin goddess Athena named after an epithet for the goddess herself, and was housed in the Parthenon in Athens. Both sculpture belong to about the middle of the 5th century BC. A number of replicas and works inspired by it, both ancient and modern, have been made. From the 5th century BC, the copies of the statue of Zeus found were small copies on coins of Elis, which give us but a general notion of the pose, and the character of the head. The god was seated on a throne, every part of which was used as a ground for sculptural decoration. His body was of ivory, his robe of gold. His head was of somewhat archaic type: the Otricoli mask which used to be regarded as a copy of the head of the Olympian statue is certainly more than a century later in style. Of the Athena Parthenos two small copies in marble have been found at Athens which possess a certain evidential value as to the treatment of their original. Materials and theories In antiquity Phidias was celebrated for his statues in bronze, and his chryselephantine works (statues made of gold and ivory). In the Hippias Major, Plato claims that Phidias seldom, if ever, have executed works in marble,[citation needed] though many of the sculptures of his times were executed in marble. Plutarch tells us that he superintended the great works of Pericles on the Acropolis. Inscriptions[citation needed] prove that the marble blocks intended for the pedimental statues of the Parthenon were not brought to Athens until 434 BC, which was probably after the death of Phidias. It is therefore possible that most sculptural decoration of the Parthenon was the work of Phidias' atelier but supposedly made by pupils of Phidias, such as Alcamenes and Agoracritus. Our actual knowledge of the works of Phidias is very small. There are many stately figures in the Roman and other museums which clearly belong to the same school as the Parthenos. These are copies of the Roman age. According to geographer Pausanias (1.28.2), the original bronze Lemnian Athena was created by Phidias circa 450-440 BCE, for Athenians living on Lemnos. Adolf Furtwängler proposed to find, in a statue of which the head is at Bologna, and of which the body is at Dresden, a copy of the Lemnian Athena of Phidias. Some 5th century torsos of Athena found at Athens. The torso of Athena in the École des Beaux-Arts at Paris, which has unfortunately lost its head, may perhaps best serve to help our imagination in reconstructing the original statue.

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