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Figures of three goddesses from the east pediment of the Parthenon

-438/-432

British Museum

British Museum

The east pediment of the Parthenon showed the birth of goddess Athena from the head of her father Zeus. The sculptures that represented the actual scene are lost. Zeus was probably shown seated, while Athena was striding away from him fully grown and armed.

Only some of the figures ranged on either side of the lost central group survive. They include these three goddesses, who were seated to the right of centre. From left to right, their posture varies in order to accommodate the slope of the architectural mouldings that framed the pediment. They are remarkable for their naturalistic rendering of anatomy blended with a harmonious representation of complex draperies.

The figure on the left is on the point of rising and tucks her right foot in to lever herself up. To the right another figure cradles a companion reclining luxuriously in her lap. They are perhaps, from left to right, Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home, Dione, and her daughter Aphrodite. However, another suggestion is that the two figures on the right are the personification of the Sea (Thalassa) in the lap of the Earth (Gaia).

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  • Title: Figures of three goddesses from the east pediment of the Parthenon
  • Date Created: -438/-432
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 123.00cm (maximum approx); Length: 233.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: classical deity
  • Registration number: 1816,0610.97
  • Production place: Made in Athens
  • Producer: Designed by Pheidias
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Parthenon
  • Period/culture: Classical Greek
  • Material: marble
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Elgin

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