Page:A general history for colleges and high schools (Myers, 1890).djvu/219

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185
PHIDIAS.

A General History for Colleges and High Schools - p 185.png

ATHENA PARTHENOS.
After a statue found at Athens in 1880, which is supposed to be a copy of the colossal statue of Athena by Phidias, described in the text.

Heroic Age, and from these he drew subjects for his art. It was his genius that created the wonderful figures of the pediments and the frieze of the Parthenon.

The most celebrated of his colossal sculptures were the statue of Athena within the Parthenon, and that of Olympian Zeus in the temple at Olympia. The statue of Athena was of gigantic size, being about forty feet in height, and was constructed of ivory and gold, the hair, weapons, and drapery being of the latter material.

The statue of Olympian Zeus was also of ivory and gold. It was sixty feet high, and represented the god seated on his throne. The hair, beard, and drapery were of gold. The eyes were brilliant stones. Gems of great value decked the throne, and figures of exquisite design were sculptured on the golden robe. The colossal proportions of this wonderful work, as well as the lofty yet benign aspect of the countenance, harmonized well with the popular conception of the majesty and grace of the father of gods and men. It was thought a great misfortune to die without having seen the Olympian Zeus.[1]

  1. Phidias avowed that he took his idea from the representation which Homer gives in the first book of the Iliad in the passage thus translated by Pope:—