The Parthenon and Its Sculptures

John Boardman, Author, David Finn, Author, David Finn, Photographer University of Texas Press $45 (256p) ISBN 978-0-292-76498-9
The Parthenon was built to glorify Athens. Pericles conceived its marble sculptures as an embodiment of the city's leadership of Greece, and of the Greeks' recent success in routing the Persians. Military heroes and kings are represented along with gods on the pediments. Athena Parthenosa dazzling gold and ivory statue, her helmet crowned with a sphinx, a spear at her sidewas an awe-inspiring figure. The building was also designed to encourage Athenians to worship the Olympian gods as a family rather than as individual deities. These underlying themes are explored with the aid of Finn's 229 dramatically lit photographs (15 in color), exceptional for their detail. Boardman, an Oxford archeologist, vividly recreates the thanksgiving festival, marked by animal sacrifices and offerings to gods, that was the inspiration for a 500-foot-long frieze of men, horses and chariots. He discusses the Parthenon's decline, the preservation of the Elgin marbles and the use of ancient drawings to devise hypothetical models showing how the magnificent sculptures must have looked. November 15
Reviewed on: 10/01/1985
Release date: 10/01/1985
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