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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: October 2010
  • First published in: 1896

CHAPTER XII - IDEAL TYPES OF ATHENA

Summary

The sculptor who surpassed all others in dealing with this type is Pheidias, and the greatest monuments of her worship are associated with his name. To understand these, it is necessary to remember what had been accomplished by the archaic and transitional period. Enough, perhaps, has already been said about her form in the archaic art; her predominant character there is warlike, although the peaceful and even the maternal idea appeared in some of the monuments, such as the seated figures found on the Acropolis: and already the older art had depicted her as the goddess of victorious peace, and the fertility that peace brings, under the type of Nike Apteros. Within its own narrow limits of expression it had sometimes been able to show the maidenly aspect of the war-goddess; but usually the forms and proportions are scarcely distinct from those of other goddesses, and the face has rarely any clear or individual character. Nor does the drapery add much to the ideal; in the later archaic period she wears often an Ionic chiton with sleeves, and over this a mantle which is looped up on one shoulder, and falls down from beneath the aegis in stiff parallel zigzag folds, as we see it on the form of Athena from the western Aeginetan gable, a work that represents the utmost that archaic art could do in rendering this type (PI. XXII. a).

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