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Siphnian Treasury - Battle of gods and giants

  • About 525BC
  • Figures carved in relief - some low like giant holding sword and then Apolo and Artemis who overlap are carved in higher relief - gives this sense of depth
  • A very popular story for Greek art - good for filling frieze - lots of figures and variety 
  • With a battle scene can also have figures at different levels etc. more visually exciting
  • Tangled limbs - lying body with one giants foot going behind, another's in front - no order emphasising chaos of battle
  • Good use of space - lots of levels of interest. 
  • Details of helmets, spears, details of animals and drapery on Apollo and Artemis. 
  • Smooth curves and repetition of 3 giants charging in from the right
  • Where there may have been space it is filled e.g. lying body filling space on ground between legs and warriors. And further up gaps filled by outstretched shields etc.
  • Separate interactions so your attention wanders. very visually interesting. 
  • Giant getting mauled by lion - gaping darkness of mouth and eyes can almost hear scream coming out - brings you into the moment
  • Fleeing giant's drapery actually flowing back as he runs away - gives more animation 
  • More improved anatomical elements - muscles and undulations coming out 
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Siphnian Treasury - Seated gods and goddesses

  • Shows gods and goddesses conferring about progress of Trojan war
  • Repetitive - horizontal line across, all sitting on benches
  • Highly decorative hair and drapery.
  • Within each figure certain motifs like hair or folds of drapery are repeated for decorative effect.
  • A bit of subtlety in poses - figures leaning in or turning on their chair
  • Carved in much higher relief to battle of gods and giants
  • Very impressive part - second figure in you can tell the lightness of the drapery by the way it catches on the back of the bench - thinness portrayed here is actually quite advanced 
  • Use of drapery to deal with tricky situations: last figure along almost at a 3 quarter turn - drapery hides any musculature that may have needed to be depicted. 
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Parthenon Frieze

  • 442-438BC
  • Doric temple but has an ionic continuous frieze - 160m in length and only about 1m tall - very long continuous frieze that needed to be filled. 
  • Difficulty of filling frieze that fills the long space and links together nicely - Depicts panathenaic procession which is held in Athens every four years. (two processions that parade in opposite directions until they meet over the door at east end of Parthenon. 
  • The point at which the two processions go in different directions is placed in the southwest corner, the least visible point of the Parthenon. People would be encouraged to approach western end first and walk round - same way procession on frieze goes, to get to eastern door
  • Would go by northern side because there was too little space on southern
  • Sculptures executed in low relief  
  • Central scene (peplos scene) shows the folded peplos of Athena that was taken through the city and then dedicated to ancient olive wood statue of Athena
  • Bearded man draped in long tunic typical of priest performing sacrifice faces a child. Athena is seated on a stoll while Hephaistos turns towards her. 
  • Interesting gods are facing their backs to the important handing over of peplos - caused people to think it may not have been panathenaic procession but one that took place before the battle of marathon. The gods actually welcoming the dead from the battle. theories that the number of men excluding charioteers matches the death toll at marathon. 
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Parthenon Frieze

  • Lots of calvary on west end of frieze while elders, musicians and people escorting sacrificial animals are al the east end. 
  • Gods are seated making them twice as large as standing figures. 
  • What is unique is the depiction of mortals as the subject of decoration on the temple
  • Line between divine and human seems deliberately blurred - intentional thematic narrative that places gods among mortals/humans among divine. 
  • Rows of horses - row of 6 slight overlapping, we see the one at the end of row closest to us, giving perspective
  • Could only glimpse frieze through outer colonnade - bursts of energy beyond each column of men riding horses. Contrast of slow moving procession and spurts of activity. 
  • Parthenon propaganda - figures look the same but different poses - promotes equality but also freedom - they work for the state because they want to not because theyre instructed to
  • heads of figures reach top of band so there is even pattern and no gaps. 
  • Horse centre of west frieze - very natural, strong vein lines on belly, efforts of man riding the horse revealed in facial expression and strained nuscles and the drapery flowing behind him
  • sacrificial animals - heifer protests a little looking up to skies - careful details like wrinkling on neck. representation contrasts with bold severity of bull on metope at olympia. 
  • Gods in centre of east frieze are all characterised e.g. Dionysus lolls on Hermes' shoulder and Hermes has a traveller's hat on knees. 
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Parthenon Frieze

  • Two most important gods hold the most striking positions.
  • Very varied poses of the gods. very different to gods on Siphnian treasury frieze
  • There is also a bit of structure - there is balance but not rigid symmetry. gap filled by mortals in between groups of 6 gods. framed by one male and one female. gods on inner side face procession white outer side twist towards centre. 
  • Orderly variation with Poseidon, Apollo and Artemis - each deity overlaps the next and is more clothed than the neighbour
  • Similar way the placement of their lower arms - Poseidon's hangs down, Apollo's raised to waist adn Artemis' lifted to shoulders - suggests one continuous movement analysed step by step
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