REPRODUCTION OF THE FRIEZE OF THE PARTHENON. EAST VI, 47-48. THE BRITISH MUSEUM, LONDON
Since ancient Rome times, the sense of “classicus” has had an implied quality that increased its value significantly. Then, a “classicus” writer was remarkable and consequently, also worthy of imitation. Therefore, a classic work of art meant a model worthy of admiration and imitation too.
60 CM (H), 60 CM (W), 8 CM (D)
30- 40 DAYS
In Athens, the annual festivals of the "Panathenaia" had a special solemnity every four years, it was the "Greater Panathena". This was the story that Phidias developed in bas-relief on the outer frieze of the Parthenon"cella", one of the most magnificent pieces in all of history sculpture.
With a narrative and broad sense, Phidias and his disciples showed the possibilities of composition and techniques that the relief allowed, leading a religious procession. It was civic and made up of the entourage that accompanied the "peplos" knitted for the Goddess Athena, protector of the city, as well as gifts and one hundredcows that would be later slaughtered (a bloodbath) It was a demonstration of the democracy power over the Olympian deities; a work intimately linked to a key figure of the athenians democracy, Pericles.
Equally, the Ionic frieze is bifurcated in two directions. It departs from the south-west corner with similar narrative sequences to meet again in the East frieze that corresponds to the front of the temple and where it is represented the ceremony culmination. It illustrates every moment of the festivity: the horsemen, the wagons, the elderly people, the musicians, the drivers of the cattle that would be later slaughtered, the maids and the heroes, the characters of higher social status who are next to the Olympians Gods assembly. Lastly, we find Athena: whose honor is the reason of the festivity.
The chosen scene would represent two characters close to the deities and admiring the arrival of the procession. They are wearing the “himation”, a one-piece rectangular cape. That covered all the body except for the right arm that remained bare because of the position of the cape. It is just a small sample of the 160 meters long of the carved frieze in pentelico marble. Although the genius of such sculptor is obvious, there are numerous traits that deserve our attention. Among them, we point out the perfect harmony between the figures, the unbeatable composition, and the bodies according to the standards, the delicate anatomy or the elegant shapes. Besides, the absolute accuracy of the characters’ psychological treatment, which is definitely contrary to the lack of eloquence, testify the subtlest spiritual equilibrium. The perfect sculptural remains exemplified thanks to the special treatment realized by its cloths leading to the concept of “wet cloths” technique. It is used to emphasize the light, invigorate the figures and display their subtlety.
While from the outside of the peristyle, the columns make it difficult to run your eyes over it, from the inside; the 12 meters that separate it from the ground oblige people to bend their necks excessively. This might be the reason why the blocks were slightly leaned to the front to get light from the ground. Although it was polychromatic at the beginning, no color is observed nowadays.
The west frieze is still in the Parthenon, whilst the other three sides are mostly in the Acropolis museum in Athens and the British Museum, belonging to the so-called Elgin marbles.