Parthenon

Panayotis Tournikiotis, Editor ABRAMS $75 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8109-6314-6
Built in the fifth century B.C. as a temple to the goddess Athena, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church in the seventh century, and in 1460, Mehmet II, conqueror of Constantinople, converted it into a mosque. The building sank into obscurity, and was rediscovered as a monument of matchless perfection, symbol of Athenian democracy, only in the 18th century. In this stunningly beautiful album featuring 336 illustrations (138 in color), an international team of architects, archeologists and art historians follow the Parthenon's changing fortunes and gauge its shifting image, in various epochs, as a romantic touchstone of antiquity, a classical gateway to eternity and a symbol of the triumph of reason over primordial forces. The influence of the Parthenon's sculpture and architecture on Rodin, Viollet-Le-Duc, Henry Moore, Picasso and Le Corbusier is discussed; one essay chronicles the temple's eight successive restorations from the fourth century onward; another examines its use as a national symbol in modern Greek ads, paintings and cartoons. Tournikiotis is an architect and professor in Athens. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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