Greek Sculpture: Its Spirit and Principles

By Edmund Von Mach | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
THE PARTHENON

I. METOPES AND FRIEZE

That Pheidias, as is popularly believed, had an intimate connection with the Parthenon cannot be proved. Ikteinos and Kallikrates were the architects of the building, and many sculptors were engaged to carve in stone its friezes and pedimental figures. When Perikles decided upon the building of this the largest of all the Athenian temples, he did so, at least in part, in order to provide occupation for large classes of citizens whom he found it desirable to keep well occupied. Under these conditions it was impossible to engage the best sculptors only, and this is shown by the differences in workmanship, which are at times pronounced. Pheidias, who, we are told, had general charge of all the art activities during the ascendency of Perikles, may naturally have paid special attention to the decoration of the Parthenon; but this is merely an assumption, not even based on transmitted evidence. Pheidias himself, while the temple was being built, was actively engaged in the making of his colossal gold and ivory statue of Athena, and doubtless had little time for anything else. The unity of conception,

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