Timeline of Architectural Sculpture

Details of all the temples sculptural decoration and contextual background needed to know for AS Classics.

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Timeline ­ Architectural Sculpture
West Pediment of the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina (500-490):
Depicts myth of Second Trojan War
Overcomes the problems of scale and theme:
The goddess Aphaia fills the apex, which is fitting as she is a gods and entitled to be larger
than others in composition
War is used as a unifying theme to link all figures ­ narrative allows figures to be depicted at
different heights
Homeric hero Aias features on pediment showing celebration of local heroes of Aegina
(Aegina and Athens were fiercely antagonistic towards one another)
Projection of polis-prestige = pediment has political and religious purpose
Archaic figures struggle to convey realism
Archaic smile contradicts death
Frontally emphasised
Limbs are stiff and angular (creates series of triangular shapes)
Warrior has long patterned hair
East Pediment of the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina (480BC):
Depicts myth of First Trojan War (Herakles and Telamon)
Overcomes the problems of scale and theme:
Goddess Aphaia stands in apex
Another battle is used as a unifying theme
Composition glorifies polis by celebrating mythological feats of local heroes
Change from West pediment:
Frontal emphasise has been removed ­ twist in warriors physique
Warriors left arm and wrist droop showing the draining of strength
Black, expressionless face gives warrior seriousness and dignity in death
Temple of Zeus sculpture:
East Pediment on the Temple of Zeus at Olympia (460):

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West Pediment on the Temple of Zeus at Olympia (460):
Internal Metopes on the Temple of Zeus at Olympia (460):
12 labours of Herakles
Internal (6 over pronaos, 6 over opisthodomos)
Myth of the Cretan Bull:
Metope (460):
Successfully overcome limitations of frame:
Bull and Herakles leap away from each other ­ dynamism and movement (pushes against
Crossed figures created strong diagonal lines, producing a focal point
Monstrous bulk of the bull is accentuated as it has to turn its head to fit in…read more

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Successfully overcomes limitations of frame:
Frame conveys narrative ­ top of metope depicts the sky
Difference between gods and mortals shown as Herakles is shorter than Athene and Atlas
(inclusion of the pillow allows him to be same size)
Composition is three static figures however each is in a different position which avoids
Celebrates Herakles' exploits, acknowledges the power of Zeus
Athene supports Herakles showing divine support for civilisation VS barbarity
Herakles' combination of physical strength and quick-thinking portray the ideal Athlete
(Olympic…read more

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East Pediment of the Parthenon:
Overcomes scale and theme:
Two deities used to fill the apex (Athene and Zeus)
Olympian gods fill the rest of composition, many look on in surprise whilst others, reclining,
are unaware.…read more

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Procession starts at west end of Parthenon and culminates over the pronaos and entrance to
the temple
Features ­ 192 mounted horsemen, musicians, sacrificial animals, culminates at Peplos
Gods appear uninterested in Peplos scene and gaze back at the procession
Superhuman scale of gods: sat down they reach the top of the frieze whilst the humans,
standing, reach the top.…read more


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