This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Erechtheion And Its Caryatids Essay

1685 words - 7 pages

Located opposite the Parthenon, the Erechtheion is one of the most distinctive buildings standing on the Athenian Acropolis constructed between 421 and 406 BC. The Erechtheion replaced the Old Temple of Acropolis, which was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC. The asymmetrical building was built of Pentelic marble, with friezes of black Elusinian limestone to take applied white marble relief sculpture. ( "Erechtheum (Erechtheion)" ) Since the complex temple sits on a slopping site, it has an irregular floor plan which consists of four chambers with multiple functions. It housed a great variety of ancient cults and many sacred objects, including the venerable image of Athena Polias in the east cella, a golden lamp made by Callimachus, a well containing sea water, which is known as the Erechtheian Sea, and the mark of Poseidon's trident, sacred shrines like the altar of Poseidon, and the altars of Boutes and Hephaestus. (Roberts, "Erechthēum" ) To the south-west of the building stood the olive tree, which is a gift of Athena to the city of Athens.
The whole structure also consists of two porches, the north porch at the northwest corner is supported by six tall Ionic columns, stands at a lower level and gives access to the western cella, while below its floor it was believed to be the spot where Zeus killed the legendary King Erechteus with a thunderbolt. ( In the south-west corner, there stands a uniquely projecting porch which is the most well-known part of the Erechtheion. It is supported by six massive female statues, and hence named the Porch of the Maidens, with the supporting figures known as caryatids. Below it stood the grave of Kekrops, another legendary King of Athens. ( The second caryatids from the western section in the front row was removed by Lord Elgin in 1801 and relocated to the British Museum, while the rest of the original caryatids are being displayed at the Acropolis Museum in Athens. All caryatids are now replaced by exact replicas of the originals. ("Erechtheum") So, what is the significance of the caryatids at the Erechtheion?
There is no definite explanation for why the maidens were used, and there are different interpretations regarding the reasons behind the construction of caryatids instead of regular Ionic columns that can be found at different parts of the building. Below is an account of the origin of Caryatids that was considered as necessary towards the education of architects, written by the first century roman writer, Vitruvius:
'But he must acquaint himself with many narratives from history; for architects often incorporate many ornamental features in the designs of their works, of which they must be able to give a reasoned account, when asked why they added them. For example, if any one erects marble statues of robed women, which are called Caryatids, instead of columns on his building, and places mutules and crowning members above them, this is how he will explain...

Find Another Essay On Erechtheion and Its Caryatids

The Acropolis Essay

2026 words - 8 pages across the sky. Gladiator’s fought for blood in monumental arenas and men ran faster than thought possible. Where a crown of olive branches was worth more than a wagon-load of gold. A time when men combined their strength to lift tons of stone more than 50 feet in the air to construct immense temples and monuments that would last thousands of years to come. This is Ancient Greece during its Golden Age. The worship of gods was not just a

Public Art in Greece: To what extent and in what ways does the Parthenon perform the function of a gigantic billboard for the late fifth century Athens? For whom is it intended?

1808 words - 7 pages . But the Parthenon statues could also stand for political power and imperial ambition. It was built on the site of an earlier temple destroyed by the Persians. Its location - it sits on the Acropolis - dominates Athens. It draws the citizen's eyes upwards, automatically elevating him in body and spirit, filling him with awe, civic pride, perhaps even fear of such an impressive monument of power and beauty. This could, so to speak, make him 'tow

The Public Life of Monuments

1425 words - 6 pages understanding of the Roman empire, might its viewers have been moved?” “The Summi Viri as a Monument” • summi viri a work of Augustan ideology and a reflection of historical memory. Represents an effort to restore the past, to establish “historical continuity.” Statues of Roman/Republican heroes within the Forum. Constructed representation of Rome’s past within a public destination • Focus: “What does it mean to see the collection as a

Greek Architecture

1554 words - 6 pages slender. Just like the Doric column, the Ionic column is proportioned to its diameter. The height of an Ionic column is nine to ten times the diameter. The column has a base and the capital is more decorative with the use of scroll volutes. The fluting is very much like the Doric except there is a flat area in between every hallowed out semi-circle. The entablature of an Ionic temple has a lot more decoration. The cornice and the frieze with both have

The Repetitive, Meditative Style of Lawrence's Birds, Beasts, and Flowers

3859 words - 15 pages style" that "functions not only as a means of communication but [also] as a process of discovery" (131-32). Building on Gilbert's studies, an examination of "Fruits," the first sequence of the nine-part Birds, Beasts, and Flowers, reveals that Lawrence's repetitive, meditative style employs three types of repetition. "Fruits," an archetypal sequence about eating fruit and being changed by its magical properties, admits readers into

When the Bubble Burst

1539 words - 6 pages By the time I arrived state side from my second tour in the Middle East the housing bubble had already burst. I noticed a drastic change in the way that many of my friends and family were living. Several of my friends that worked in real estate had sold their boats and seconds houses. My own stock portfolio had lost a third of its value. My sister and her husband had defaulted on their home mortgage leaving them scrambling for a place to live. I

phase diagram

4456 words - 18 pages . When the free energy of all states are equal to each other, the system is at equilibrium. The Heat that is relased or absorbed during a state change absorbed is known as latent heat. For a binary mixture such as durene and naphthalene, the Clausius-Clapeyron equation (cf. Appendix) relates the latent heat of fusion or solidification to the rate of change of melting point with pressure. Also when a mixture is cooled its latent heat changes. Since

Revolutionary Work of Art

1890 words - 8 pages Walter Benjamin emphasizes in his essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” that technology used to make an artwork has changed the way it was received, and its “aura”. Aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art that has not been reproduced. The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is an example of a work that has been and truly a beacon of art. It has brought a benefit and enlightenment to the art

Enlightenment Thought in New Zealand Schools

1594 words - 6 pages to focus on the freedom of the individual and the autonomist of the individual. As Kramnick (1995) states “Liberals paid homage to the Enlightenment and invoked its individualistic vision of citizens voluntarily consenting to government, acting freely in the market place and thinking, publishing, and believing what they wanted to, without interference from church or state.” (p.xx) This freedom was only limited by that an individual could not

Psychological Egoism Theory

2240 words - 9 pages theory depicts in its arguments in order to make this to remain as objective as possible. Psychological egoism theory is ambiguous in its formulation in “a number of ways”. When this theory is objected in one way it will shift to the defense of another way. These ambiguities include the following: This ambiguity is caused by the tendency of egoists to ignore the difference there is between the motive and the consequences of an action. Actions

How Celtic Folkore has Influenced My Family

1587 words - 6 pages Every family has a unique background that influences the way they live and interact with other people. My parents, who emigrated from Ireland to the States with my three brothers in 1989, brought over their own Celtic folklore and traditions that have helped shaped the way our family operates and lives. One aspect of folklore that has helped shape my family dynamic is the Celtic cross—both its background and what role it has played in our lives

Similar Essays

The Architectural Evolution Of The Greek Temple

1804 words - 8 pages . Ionic columns filled the interior while Doric order was used on the exterior. The Temple of Athena Nike, a smaller sized temple built in front of the Propylaia. It consisted of the cella, front porch and rear in much smaller proportions than that of the Parthenon. The stone constructed temple uses four Ionic columns on both the front and back end to complete its harmonized appearance. Lastly, the Erechtheion consisted of a rather unique design

All The Main Buildings In The Acropolis

1160 words - 5 pages the entablature - the famous caryatids. The Erechteum is the finest expression of the Ionic order, yet the building loses none of the compact severity of classical Attic architecture.The Erechtheion was built in ca. 420 B.C. in the Ionic order. It has a prostasis on the east side, a monumental propylon on the north, and the famous porch of the Caryatids on the south. The main temple was divided into two sections, dedicated to the worship of the

Question And Answer About Art Meseums

719 words - 3 pages its “scrolls” that decorate the top of the column. You see the same style of columns holding up the architrave of the Boston Museum. Also visible, is the frontal staircase that leads up to the entrance, which is located just behind the columns. Indeed most of their history they were designed to resemble them. The Greek temples and Renaissance palaces that house public art collections suggest secular values, but not religious beliefs. Museums are

The Endoios Athena: Athena Seated Essay

2709 words - 11 pages and 5th Century BCE, Lecture Notes at Columbia University, March 31) Found on the N. slope of the Acropolis below the Erechtheion in 1821, the so-called Endoios Athena statue is made of Island marble and is usually dated around 530-20 BCE. (Catalogue, Acropolis Museum) Due to the long exposure to open air and the destruction of wars, Athena’s head, her lower arms and the font of her left foot are completely lost, whereas much of the incision of