What is a frieze? History of Art
Frieze, in Greco-Roman Classical architecture, the middle of the three main divisions of an entablature (section resting on the capital). The frieze is above the architrave and below the cornice (in a position that could be quite difficult to view). The term also refers to any long, narrow, horizontal panel or band used for decorative purposes—e.g., on pottery, on the walls of a room, or on the exterior walls of . The ancient Greeks created many architectural concepts still used today, including the idea of a frieze. A frieze is a decorative band of architecture above a series of columns. It can be found on.
A scene from the Parthenon frieze: bringing the new how to make yourself better for the goddess. Most of the carving was done in a beautiful new stylewhere all the figures moved very gracefully, and the clothes were floating and very thin, almost transparent, so that you could see all the muscles and tendons of the women wearing them.
Young men ride horses on the Parthenon frieze. Another part of the Parthenon frieze showed the rich young men of Athens riding their horses.
The horses are excited to be in a parade, and the young men are trying to keep them under control. This gave Phidias a chance to show off how well he could show the movements of the horses and the men. The idea of keeping horses under control emphasizes the battle of order over chaosjust like on the metopes. Parthenonby Lynn Curlee Easy reading.
Lovely pictures. Hurwit Hurwit is a archaeologist and art historian who works on the Athenian Acropolis. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Parthenon frieze — Greek architecture. Parthenon frieze — seated goddesses. Cite this page: Carr, K. April 22, About the Author: Karen Carr. Related Posts. Pythagorean Theorem proof. September 25th, 0 Comments. South American and Central American architecture. September 8th, 0 Comments. What is Dysentery?
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Roman temple friezes
Parthenon frieze – Greek architecture Parthenon frieze – seated goddesses What is on the Parthenon frieze? On the Parthenon’s frieze, Pheidias carved a long procession of Athenians, with girls in the front, bringing a new dress for the goddess Athena to her temple. Aug 02, · Traditionally scholars of Greek art and architecture have believed that the Parthenon Friezes depict a Panathenaic procession, which was an element of the popular Panathenaic festival celebrated on the day of Athena’s birth. More specifically, experts believe that the frieze depicts a Greater Panathenaia, which was a more elaborate festival of the goddess’ birth that, beginning in Author: Paulina Wegrzyn. In classical architecture, a metope (??????) is a rectangular architectural element that fills the space between two triglyphs in a Doric frieze. Frieze. A long narrow band of sculpture that runs along the architrave of a Greek temple or another building. Fluting.
The Parthenon friezes meant to convey a Panathenaic procession, the victory of the Athenians at Marathon, the power of Athens as a city-state, and the piety of its citizens. The Parthenon is one of the most iconic buildings in the Ancient World. This building dedicated to the goddess Athena stands tall upon the ancient Athenian acropolis and serves as a reminder of times past.
Understanding the illustrations on these friezes allows us a whole new appreciation of this iconic piece of architecture. Many modern-day tourists do not realize that the Parthenon looked very different in antiquity than it does today. It is even believed that these sculptures were originally painted with bright colors , creating a whole new picture of the now monochromatic building. These sculptures and decorations are now scattered among some of the most famous museums in the world.
Despite a growing push to return all of the surviving sculptures and artwork from this building back to Greece, The Louvre, the British Museum, and the Acropolis Museum in Athens all currently house some of its artwork.
The Parthenon was built between and BC when Athens was at the peak of its power. In more ways than one, the Parthenon is a victory monument to Athens and its strength as an imperial force. It was built using funds from the Delian League, which was a group of city-states loyal to Athens, and for all intents and purposes, completely under its military and political control. Although there was a statue of Athena in the building, the Parthenon had no priestesses or an altar for sacrifices, meaning it is not truly a temple.
As a repository for state funds, the Parthenon, it can be argued, was actually a treasury. Furthermore, no ancient sources refer to the Parthenon as a temple for Athena Parthenos, strengthening the claim that it was at least in part a secular building. C, was celebrated every fourth year. The festival was only open to Athenian citizens, making it a large nationalistic festival. The culmination of this festival was the redraping of the Athena Parthenos statue, which was considered one of the wonders of the ancient world.
The giant statue, meant to be composed of chryselephantine, gold, and ivory, was redraped in a new elaborate cloak made by prestigious Athenian citizens in a showcase of Athenian piety. All around the frieze of the Parthenon subjects march or ride horses in a long procession until they finally reach the pantheon of the Greek gods.
Here they are meant to offer a sacrifice. The frieze is actually a continuous tableau of marble sculpture that runs around the entire exterior of the inner building. The procession begins on the west end of the building, as that is the side of the temple that would have been first seen when an individual walked up the Acropolis.
Here, there are colonnades of mounted horsemen , which slowly transition into men carrying different objects, presumably to sacrifice to Athena Parthenos. The west and much of the north and south friezes are taken up by heroized horsemen, which many scholars believe are a representation of mortal men who fought as soldiers at the Battle of Marathon , the famous battle between the Persians and the Greeks.
It is important to mention that ancient temples would rarely feature mortal subjects in their artwork, as sculptures would typically feature gods, goddesses, or heroes in the Greek mythological realm. Some of these original frieze scenes no longer survive, and we must rely on old artistic renderings for information about the Parthenon frieze.
In Greek mythology, a Greek hero has one mortal and one divine parent. Thus, featuring these mounted horsemen on the frieze makes an important statement: they must be gods, or at least Greek heroes. These individuals were so extraordinarily honored by the Athenian city-states that they became a representation of Greek superiority over the Persians, and scholars often consider their representation on the Athenian frieze to be an implication of their status as Greek mythological heroes.
This means that the frieze of the Parthenon does not just celebrate Athena, but also these heroic, fallen Marathon warriors. It has been suggested that these horsemen are not just simply marching to meet the goddess Athena, who is the focal point of the temple frieze, but symbolically marching to their own death and subsequent heroization. The artistic rendering of the horsemen makes this heroization clear. The riders are shown nude , which is a typical representation of a Greek hero. They are depicted as impossibly young, while a true Athenian soldier would begin his career at 18 years old and not leave to fight battles abroad until he was All of the horsemen on the Parthenon frieze are clean, youthful, and beardless, showing their idealization in the eyes of those who commissioned the frieze.
This mythicizing quality of the statues further served to aggrandize the soldiers in the eyes of the Athenian citizens. The east side of the frieze depicts the culmination of the procession.
Here, mortals and gods alike are depicted in close proximity. Men and women, no longer on horseback, draw closer towards the deities, who are all seated in the center of the east frieze. The women on this frieze have been sculpted in the same style as the horsemen who began the procession: they too are idealized in the High Classical style.
Scholars often regard the women in this procession to be either the Ergastinai, women who wove the new cloak for Athena Parthenos, or other religious attendants carrying sacrifices. Only women who belonged to elite families were chosen to create the peplos or cloak for Athena. Interestingly, the individual in charge of supervising the weaving of the peplos was the priestess of Athena Polias, as Athena Parthenos did not have a priestess.
The priestess of Athena Polias was always chosen from one of the ancient families of Athens, who were believed to be descended from the old aristocratic Kings from which Athenian Kings were always named. It was a great honor to be chosen as an Ergastinai. Showing these prestigious individuals on the frieze of the Parthenon not only showcased the important aspects of the Panathenaic Festival but also celebrated the mortal women who were so honored to weave the cloak for Athena Parthenos.
This dual messaging of the Parthenon frieze as both political and religious seems obvious here. Following the Ergastinai came the Eponymous Heroes , who were another reminder of the power of the Athenians. As the legend goes, the Eponymous Heroes were male heroes who represented each of the ten voting tribes in Athens, which prided itself on its democratic process of government. It is said that when Cleisthenes established a democracy in BC, he sent the names of one hundred Athenian mythical heroes to the Oracle at Delphi.
The oracle then chose ten of the heroes to represent each of the ten voting tribes in the city. The Eponymous Heroes are a powerful symbol for the democracy and the secular state of Athens.
The Eponymous Heroes have achieved almost mythical status, as they are placed standing directly next to the entire Pantheon of the twelve Athenian gods and goddesses. One of the only ways in which the gods and goddesses differ from their mortal companions on the Parthenon frieze is through their size: they are depicted as twice as large as mortal humans.
This size discrepancy is meant to represent the power and majesty of the gods, and remind the viewer who is omniscient and in control. That being said, the gods and goddesses of the Athenian pantheon are often portrayed in very similar poses and fashions in Greek art.
This is largely due to the fact that visual imagery was very important in the ancient world, as the large majority of individuals were not literate.
The artist had to ensure that the viewer could recognize the gods and goddesses, and identify them from one another. Scholars have remarked on the similarities between the mortals and the gods on the Parthenon frieze. One of the often-mentioned gods in this context is Apollo: here he is seated beside Poseidon, the god of the sea left.
He is often identified by his triton, which is not included here due to its lack of preservation. On the other side of Apollo sits Artemis right , who is usually illustrated in close proximity to Apollo, since she is his sister.
Apollo sits unbearded and youthful. His expression here is very similar to that of the horsemen in the procession on the east side of the frieze. Academics believe that this similarity was done deliberately to create a further connection between the horsemen at Marathon and the idea of divinity. This, of course, could just be the style of the artist, but it makes one wonder if the similarities are deliberate and done to convey a specific visual message.
By making Apollo appear akin to the horsemen at Marathon, the horsemen at Marathon suddenly bring on images of Apollo, one of the most important gods in the Greek pantheon. Clearly, the cultural influence that the Battle of Marathon had on the Athenian psyche cannot be underestimated. It is easy to see that the content on the Parthenon was not only meant to be sacred but also political. It must have been even more apparent to the contemporaneous Athenian, as the imagery made allusions to very commonly recognized themes, myths, and characters in Athenian culture.
Sign in. Log into your account. Forgot your password? Password recovery. Recover your password. Get help. By Paulina Wegrzyn. August 2, Article continues below advertisement. Despite her new career focus, she continues to learn and write about the ancient world, as it will always have a soft spot in her heart.
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