The King of Olympus

Zeus, also known as Jupiter by the Romans, commanded the sky and was the figure of absolute authority atop Mount Olympus. Heralded as King of the Gods he was the centerpiece and inspiration for many pieces of art throughout the Bronze Age; from massive statues to small depictions on decorative vases.

Here we see a sculpture of the head of Jupiter. It is believed that it was originally part of a whole statue, as it shows evidence of being broken off at the shoulders. The individually laid curls atop the head and woven in the beard create an elegant and regal texture. This in turn contrasts against the smoothness of the figure’s face, which still manages to convey a look that demands respect.
This bust is actually a combination of gods. During the reign of Hellenistic culture in Alexandria, Egypt there was a blend of Greek and Egyptian cultures. To accomplish this end they created Zeus- Serapis as a combination of Zeus, Osiris, and the sacred bull Apis. Again we see the iconic curls along with folds and drapes in the clothing, which add a great sense of texture. Much like the other face of Jupiter, this one features smooth and flawless look.
This statuette shows the full form of Zeus in a very Classical style pose. It is believed that it once held a scepter in the left hand and a lightning bolt in the right. The figure is muscled which adds an interesting texture to the form and like many other statuettes in the collection, it features silver inlaid eyes and teeth that contrast in color from the rest of the dark body.
Zeus, thunderbearer is a Classical statuette that depicts a nude Zeus driving forward to hurl his lightning bolt. The image immediately conveys the sense of forward motion and determination. The muscles are flexed to further portray mid-movement. The hair on this piece has small intricate lines that create the detailed texture. Overall, this piece is considered one of the most iconic and beautiful images of the King of the Gods.
This funerary vase shows images from the great war between the gods and the giants. Zeus is featured in the middle of the piece as he rides his chariot pulled by two stunning white horses. All the figures in this piece are painted in such a way that they contrast against the black background which creates depth and intensifies the image. There are also complicated patterns that dissect the vase into individual scenes.
On this vase, Zeus stands, scepter in hand, next to his son Dionysus. The light colored figures stand apart from the dark black background. They stand in a walking position and Zeus’s clothing is shown swaying; adding movement to the still picture. Much like the last vase, this one features patterns that break up the different scenes and along the rim. Unlike the last vase though, this one even has patterns running up the handles.
In this statuette Zeus sits atop a throne. This is popular imagery for the King of the Gods and is believed to be heavily inspired by Pheidias’s 40-foot tall statue, Zeus at Olympia. His clothes drape and fold over his left shoulder, creating texture and exposing the muscular body underneath. He sits in a rather stationary, beauty pose reminiscent of early classical sculpting.
The Olympian’s clothing hangs low, across his back leaving his muscular torso exposed again but in this sculpture Zeus is portrayed with a sense of maturity as his textured and curly beard also hangs low. The base of the sculpture appears rough and earthly which contrasts against the sharp corners and smooth faces of Zeus’s throne.
In this statue the King of the Gods demands respect with his stoic gaze and confident stance. The clothing he wears features small patterns around the edges and his typically flawless throne appears to have a long crack in it adding a sense of texture to it. Next to him stands a symbol of his power, the eagle.
Again the King of the Gods is depicted atop his throne in one of the most well preserved statues from its time. The wrinkles in the face and flowing curly hair adds extremely detailed texture to the artwork adding realism. Much like its inspiration, Zeus at Olympia, this statue adds a bold golden color to certain parts of the statue, which contrasts against the smooth white marble of the rest of the statue. Zeus sits with his mighty scepter and eagle at his side.
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