East Pediment of the Parthenon

Pg. 189 Fig. 5-43


Kent State Ohio

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These relief sculptures, larger than those of the metopes, occupied the triangular space above the triglyphs and metopes. Those at the west end of the temple depicted the contest between Poseidon and Athena for the right to be the patron deity of Athens (Athena's gift of the olive tree was preferred over Poseidon's spring). The eastern pedimental group showed the birth of Athena from Zeus' head. The pedimental sculpture suffered badly when the Parthenon was hit by a Venetian shell in 1687 and the powder magazine inside exploded. This reclining god (probably Dionysus) from the east pediment gives some sense of the quality of the sculpture:

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East Pediment of the Parthenon:

         The amount of damage was amazing.  This had extreme dramatic poses, expressions, emotion, and folds/ wrinkles.