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The Endoios Athena: Athena Seated Essay

2709 words - 11 pages

On the Acropolis of Athens, there are a large number of votive images dedicated to Athena the city goddess in various medium, including marble, terracotta, bronze, relief and vase painting. Among these votive images of Athena, most of them are represented in a standing pose, either frontally facing the viewers or showing her profile (e.g. the bronze Athena Promachos (figure 1)); some of them are captured in the middle of an action (e.g. Athena in Gigantomachy on the pediment of the Parthenon (fg. 2)). However, the so-called Endoios Athena is a statue of Athena represented in a seated position. Although the seated position is not rare in reliefs, such as Athena on the East frieze (fg. 3) and on the metopes of the Parthenon (fg. 3), the so-called Endoios Athena is the only seated marble statue of Athena on the Acropolis in the history. (Mylonopoulos, The Acropolis of Athens in the 6th 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 decorative pattern on her kolpos, her right foot, left side of chair and most of the edge of the heavy base are weathered or damaged. Despite these damages, based on the gorgoneion on her breast and her aegis, we can safely identify her as Athena. we can still observe four bundles of pearl-like or “zig-zag incised” hair on each shoulder, following the curve of the goddess’s breast.
The shoulders are broad and the hips narrow, and the clumsy neck is followed by an abrupt incision that separates it from the aegis, a smooth heavy garment that is put on over the head. Although the representation of these body parts are being a little stiff, and the garment is neither as thin as the ones in “Wet” or “Rich” style of the High Classical period, the sensual curve of the body (e.g. breast and thigh) under the chiton of this seated Athena already starts to show. Also, the musculature of the legs is modelled correctly, showing the high technique of the artist in his time and anticipating a much more detailed and accurate representation of human musculature in the upcoming Classical period. The costume consists of a chiton with a deep kolpos reaching to the knees and situates between the legs. (Catalogue, Acropolis Museum) The wavy lines incised on the chiton displays the looseness of the kolpos sharply separated from the advanced left leg. The gorgoneion on a raised medallion on the breast is entirely weathered away.
Because of the severe damaging status of the statue, most color (if there is any) and incision on the garment are no longer visible today. However, the holes along the lower edge of the aegis in front of Athena’s...

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