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Pheidias Son of Charmides of Athens


Though certainly the most renowned of Greek sculptors in antiquity, Pheidias remains an enigma. Not only are key dates in his career a matter of serious dispute, but with the disappearance of his great cult statues, the uncertainty over his contribution to the Parthenon marbles, and the difficulty of separating "authentic" copies from the multitude of derivations, his personal legacy to Greek sculpture becomes a tricky issue indeed.

As to chronology, his floruit in 448-445 (T 1), if not completely arbitrary, should celebrate either the dedication or the commissioning of one of his major works at Athens. The obvious candidates are either the Athena Parthenos, begun in 447/6 (IG, 1(3): nos. 453-60) and finished in 438/7 (T 48), or the Athena Promachos, which must predate the Parthenos, but by how much is not clear, since the nine years of accounts attributed to it (IG, 1(3): no. 435) are themselves not dated. At the very least, though, they project his career back to ca. 460, perhaps earlier if the Promachos celebrated Kimon's defeat of the Persians at the Eurymedon in 467 or the peace of Kallias in ca. 465 (Walsh 1981; Plut. Per. 17). His Marathon group at Delphi, which celebrated Kimon's disgraced father Miltiades (Paus. 10.10.1) was probably made around this time, at least before Kimon's ostracism in 461, or just possibly upon his brief come-back in 451-449. At any rate it is generally agreed that Pheidias began work around 470, or maybe even earlier if his teachers really were Hegias (T 3) and Hageladas (T 25) as the ancients believed; cf. also Raubitschek 1949, 27. According to Pliny, N.H. 35.54, he was originally a painter.

The only other absolute date in his career is his trial, variously placed between 438/7 and 433/2. The earliest "evidence" of wrongdoing is from a comedy presented in 422/1:

“Pheidias began it all, he's the first offender,
Then Perikles, scared to death he'd share his fate,
Dreading your temper and your backbiting ways,
Realized he might take the rap, so set the town on fire.
With one teensy spark, the anti-Megara Decree,
He started such a fight that every eye in Greece
Was smarting with the smoke... and Peace: she disappeared!

Later historians, hungry for facts, turned this supposed chain of events into "history": thus Ephoros (FGH 70 F 196: ca. 350), Diodoros 12.39 (Diod. 12.39), and especially Plutarch:

“(13.4) Perikles' general manager and overseer was Pheidias, though the several works had great architects and artists besides. The Parthenon, for instance, ... was built by Kallikrates and Iktinos ... but it was Pheidias who produced the great golden image of the goddess, and he is acknowledged as its artist on the stele. Almost everything was under his supervision, and he was overseer of all the other artists, owing to his friendship with Perikles. This brought envy upon the one and slander against the other, to the effect that Pheidias was in the habit of procuring free-born women for Perikles when they came to see the building site. The comic poets took up this story and began a smear campaign...

(13.31) But the worst charge of all, and yet the one best supported by evidence, was the following: Pheidias the sculptor was contractor for the great statue, as I have said, and being a friend of Perikles and having great influence with him, made on that account a number of jealous enemies. Others, too, decided to use him to test the people, in order to see what the popular judgment would be in a case involving Perikles. They therefore persuaded one Menon, an assistant of Pheidias, to sit in the agora as a suppliant and to ask for immunity in return for laying information and bringing a charge against Pheidias. The demos granted the man's plea, and a motion to prosecute was laid before the Assembly. Yet the charge of theft was not proven, because right from the very beginning, at Perikles' suggestion, the gold had been worked and fitted to the statue in such a way that it could all be taken off and weighed, and this was now what Perikles ordered the prosecutors to do.

But the fame of his works still aroused jealousy against Pheidias, especially since when he made the Amazonomachy on the shield he included both his own portrait among the reliefs, as a bald old man lifting a stone high with both hands, and a very handsome one of Perikles fighting an Amazon. And the position of Perikles' arm, which is holding a spear before his eyes, is cunningly contrived for the purpose of concealing the likeness — which is, however, perfectly plain from either side.

So Pheidias was led away to prison and there fell sick and died; some even say he was poisoned by Perikles' enemies in order to blacken Perikles still further. And as for the informer, Menon, a proposal was passed, on a motion of Glykon, to grant him immunity, and the generals were instructed to provide for his safety.

[32: cases for impiety are brought against Perikles' mistress, Aspasia, and friend Anaxagoras the philosopher, and he is impeached for embezzlement.] Since in the case of Pheidias he had fallen foul of the people, he feared the judgment of the court, and so kindled into flame the war that was threatening, hoping thereby to dissipate the charges against him ... These are the motives alleged for his refusal to allow the demos to give in to the Spartan demands: but the truth is not clear.

But Plutarch notes even here that "the truth is unclear", and elsewhere explicitly charges Aristophanes with slander (Moralia 856A). These successive indictments for both embezzlement and impiety (the portraits) are problematic indeed, for the decree protecting Menon would not have been passed had the embezzlement charge failed, and his death in jail after the impiety conviction is contradicted by the archaeological evidence dating his workshop at Olympia to the 430s (Mallwitz 1964) and by the Pantarkes anecdote (T 50); on the other hand, the lesser sentence of deprivation of civil rights (atimia) and exile should have precluded him from signing the Zeus as a citizen (T 50).

More to the point, perhaps, is that Aristophanes was writing comedy, not history, and that the whole concoction, put into the mouth of Hermes the trickster and paralleled by an equally implausible one on the Spartan side (620-27), in fact astounds Hermes' audience by its novelty (615-18). This is not surprising, for four years earlier Aristophanes had made trusty old Dikaiopolis offer quite another motive for the war, a burlesque on the tit-for-tat rapes preceding the Trojan war (cf. Herodotus 1.1-5), also accepted by the chorus with "true and right; he tells no lies at all" (Aristoph. Ach. 509-61).

Altogether more plausible is a scholiast's note to T 46:

“(First scholiast). Concerning the archonship of [The]odoros [438/7], Philochoros says: The gold image of Athena was set up in the great temple and the gold weighed 44 talents; Perikles was the supervisor, and Pheidias made it. And Pheidias, after he had finished, was tried for embezzlement of some of the ivory for the scales [i.e. of Athena's snake]. Fleeing to Elis, he is said to have contracted to make the image of Zeus at Olympia, and after he had made it, to have been put to death by the Eleans. In the archonship of [P]ythodoros, seven years later [432/1, counting inclusively as usual], he says concerning the Megarians ... [there follows discussion of the Megarian decrees, then the version of the story referred to under T 46].

(Second scholiast). But the suspicion against Perikles seems groundless, since the Pheidias affair occurred seven years before the war. Pheidias, as Philochoros says, worked on the image of Athena in the archonship of [The]odoros [438/7] and stole the gold from her chryselephantine statue, on account of which he was prosecuted and condemned to exile. When he was in Elis as contractor for the Olympian Zeus he was condemned by them and killed while in exile.

Scholium to Aristophanes, Peace 605 (Philochoros, FGH 328 F 121)
Now as in T 34 Philochoros is a source of a quite different order. Though the archon's names are garbled and the second scholiast's note has been contaminated by the tradition of T 47, the seven years' interval secures the chronology, dating the trial to 438/7, probably just after the statue's completion and dedication in summer 438, when the committee of overseers (epistatai) would have submitted their accounts. Suggestively, in IG I(3) 453-60 the gold is always meticulously weighed whereas the ivory is only listed according to its price.

Fleeing to Elis, Pheidias (whose wealth was soon legendary: Plat. Meno 91D) then made the Zeus, which was promptly imitated by Theokosmas at Megara (Paus. 1.40.4), though work on this latter statue stopped when war broke out in 431. The molds from the Olympia workshop (Stewart 1990, fig. 376), for a thrice-life-size female figure, found with Pheidias' inscribed mug and closely related to the copies from the shield of the Parthenos in style, suggest further commissions still. His Aphrodite Ourania and Athena for Elis (Paus. 6.25.1, 6.26.3) come to mind, though there are obstacles: the copies now attributed to the Ourania (E.B. Harrison 1984) are quite uniformly life-size, while Pliny, N.H. 35.54 gives the Athena to his pupil Kolotes. The date and circumstances of his death are equally unclear (cf. T 48), though some argue that his supposed condemnation by the Eleans was what prompted Aristophanes' remarks in the first place.

As for the presumed portraits of him and Perikles on the shield (T 47; London 302; Stewart 1990, fig. 366), Preisshofen 1974b has shown that the seven mentions of one or other of these, and an eighth that substitutes Daidalos (Ampelius 8.10) emanate from a Hellenistic tradition of marvel literature that sought to explain the unusual iconography of the two Athenians nearest the spectator, even inventing a miraculous mechanism that would destroy the entire composition if the presumed "portraits" were removed. These fantasies appear to have even stimulated someone to create a Pheidias type in the round, represented today by a marble head (a copy) in Copenhagen, a superb Hellenistic (Alexandrian?) statuette in New York, and some later gems.

Pheidias' recorded works, in an extraordinary variety of techniques, are as follows (asterisks indicate late and/or unreliable sources):

    • Zeus at Olympia, in chryselephantine; later in Constantinople (T 49-54, 128
    • Zeus, later in Constantinople, in marble
    • Hera
    • Athena Parthenos on the Akropolis, in chryselephantine (T 46-8, 55-6
    • "Small" Parthenos on the Akropolis
    • Athena Promachos on the Akropolis, in bronze
    • Athena Lemnia on the Akropolis, in bronze (T 57-9
    • Athena, in competition with another by Alkamenes
    • Athena Areia at Plataia, gilded akrolith
    • Athena Areia at Pellene (Achaia), in chryselephantine
    • Athena in bronze, perhaps also from Pellene, taken to Rome by Aemilius Paullus in 168/7
    • Aphrodite Ourania at Athens, in Parian marble
    • Aphrodite Ourania at Elis, in chryselephantine
    • Aphrodite in marble, later in Rome
    • Apollo Parnopios on the Akropolis, in marble
    • Hermes Pronaos at Thebes, in marble
    Heroes and groups
    • Miltiades, Athena, Apollo, the Eponymous heroes, Kodros, Theseus, and Philaios, at Delphi, in bronze
    • Herakles removing dung from the Augeian stables
    • Youth binding his hair (Anadoumenos) at Olympia, probably in bronze
    • Amazon leaning on her spear at Ephesos, in bronze (T 60
    • Two draped bronzes, later in Rome
    • A nude in bronze, later in Rome
    • Various miniatures in bronze and silver
    • Nemesis at Rhamnous (actually by Agorakritos, T 76-8
    • Mother of the Gods, in the Metroon at Athens (ditto)
    • Athena at Elis (also given to Kolotes)
    • Asklepios at Epidauros (actually by Thrasymedes, T 89
    • Zeus and Apollo at Patara in Lykia (probably by Bryaxis)
    • Kairos (by Lysippos, cf. T 127
    • Bronze ox, later in the Forum Pacis at Rome (also given to Lysippos)
    • Dioskouros in marble on Monte Cavallo, Rome (Roman; the other signed "Praxiteles")
Of these it was the Zeus (no. 1) that secured Pheidias' reputation in antiquity (cf. T 115), and which inspired a vast literature, passing from straightforward description (T 49, 50) through controlled religious awe (T 3, 52) to lyrical encomium (e.g. Dio Chrysostomos 12, passim); in particular, it not only became the paradigm for neoclassical sculptors, but helped to stimulate the so-called "phantasia -theory" of art criticism (T 53, 54).

“The greatest [of the offerings in the temple of Zeus] was the xoanon of Zeus made by Pheidias of Athens, son of Charmides. Made of ivory, it was so big that, although the temple itself was very large, the artist seems to have failed to hit the right proportions; for although the god is represented as seated, he almost touches the peak of the roof, and so gives the impression that if he stood up he would unroof the temple. Some have recorded the measurements of the xoanon , and Kallimachos wrote an iambic poem about them. Panainos the painter, Pheidias' nephew and co-worker, helped him greatly in embellishing the statue with colors, especially the drapery. And many wonderful paintings of his are on display round the temple. It is said that when Panainos asked Pheidias what model he was going to use for the image of Zeus, he replied that it was the model Homer provided in the following lines:

He spoke, the son of Kronos, and nodded his dark brow,
And the ambrosial locks of the great god swept down
From his immortal head, and all Olympos quaked.

“(10) The image was made by Pheidias, as is witnessed by an inscription written under the feet of Zeus: Pheidias son of Charmides, an Athenian, made me. (11) The god sits on a throne made of gold and ivory. On his head lies a garland in the form of olive shoots. In his right hand he holds a Nike of ivory and gold as well, which carries a fillet and wears a garland on her head. In the god's left hand is a scepter made of all kinds of metal, and an eagle perches on top of it. The god's shoes and cloak are of gold. On the cloak are inlaid figures and lily-flowers.

The throne is rich with gold and jewels, and ebony and ivory too; and upon it there are painted figures and sculptured images. Four Nikai in a dancing pose are represented on each leg of the throne, and two more at the foot of each leg. On each of the two front feet are Theban children seized by sphinxes, and under the sphinxes Apollo and Artemis are shooting down Niobe's children. Between the feet of the throne are four bars, each stretching from foot to foot. The bar right opposite the entrance has seven sculptured images: the eighth has disappeared, but they know not how... They say that the youth binding a fillet on his head resembles Pantarkes, an Elean boy who Pheidias loved. Pantarkes won a victory in the boys' wrestling contest during the 86th Olympiad [436]. On the other bars there is the company that fought with Herakles against the Amazons. Taking both sides together the figures number 29 in all, and Theseus too is lined up among the allies of Herakles.

The throne is supported not merely by its legs, but by columns which stand between the legs and equal them in size. One cannot go under the throne as one can at Amyklai. At Olympia there are screens built like walls to keep people out. Of these screens the section opposite the door is glazed with blue enamel, but the rest have paintings by Panainos. Among them is Atlas holding up heaven and earth, with Herakles standing by ready to take the weight, and also Theseus and Peirithoos, Hellas and Salamis (who holds in her hand an ornament for a ship's prow), and from the Labors of Herakles there is the battle with the Nemean lion, followed by the outrage against Kassandra committed by Ajax, Hippodameia the daughter of Oinomaos with her mother, and Prometheus, still chained up even though Herakles has climbed up to him.... Finally there is a picture of Penthesilea dying as Achilles holds her in his arms. There are also two Hesperides who carry the apples entrusted to them for safety. This Panainos was a brother of Pheidias, and painted the Battle of Marathon in the Painted Stoa at Athens.

On the uppermost part of the throne, above the head of the image, Pheidias has placed three Graces on one side, three Seasons on the other. These are included among the daughters of Zeus in the epics: in the Iliad, for example, Homer says that they were entrusted with the sky like guards at a king's court [5.749ff]. The footstool of Zeus ... has golden lions and, in relief, the battle of Theseus with the Amazons, the first heroic deed of the Athenians against non-Greeks.

On the base which supports the throne and Zeus with all his adornment, there are works of gold: Helios mounted on his chariot, Zeus and Hera, [Hephaistos] and next to him Charis. After her comes Hermes, and after Hermes, Hestia; after Hestia is Eros receiving Aphrodite as she rises from the sea; Persuasion is crowning Aphrodite. Also represented there are Apollo with Artemis, and Athena and Herakles; and near the end of the base, Amphitrite and Poseidon, and Selene riding what looks to be a horse. Some call it a mule, not a horse, and tell a silly story about the mule. I know that the height and breadth of the Zeus at Olympia have been measured and recorded, but I will not praise those who made the measurements, for they fall far short of the impression made by the sight of the image ....

All the floor in front of the image has been paved not with white but with black tiles. A raised rim of Parian marble runs around the border of the black stone, to keep in the olive oil that is poured out. For olive oil is beneficial to the image at Olympia, and it is olive oil which keeps the ivory from being harmed by the marshiness of the Altis. On the Athenian Akropolis it is water, not olive oil, which benefits the so-called Parthenos. For the Akropolis is extremely dry owing to its excessive height, so that the image, being made of ivory, yearns for the dampness it brings.

“I pitied myself for being no better than the great colossi that Pheidias or Myron or Praxiteles made, each of which outwardly is a beautiful Poseidon or a Zeus made of ivory and gold, with a thunderbolt or a flash of lightning or a trident in his right hand, but if you stoop down and look inside, you'll see a tangle of bars and struts and nails driven right through, and beams and wedges and pitch and clay, and a quantity of such ugly stuff housed inside, not to mention the legions of mice and rats that hold court there.

Lucian, Gallus 24

“L. Aemilius [Paullus, the conqueror of Macedonia in 166] visited the temple in Olympia, and when he saw the statue of Zeus he was awestruck , and said simply that Pheidias seemed to him to have been the only artist who had made a likeness of Homer's Zeus; for he himself had come to Olympia with high expectations but the reality had far surpassed them.

Polybios 30.10.5-6

“I am of the firm opinion that nothing of any kind is so beautiful as to surpass in beauty the thing which it reproduces — like a mask copied from the face. That which cannot be perceived with the eyes, ears, or other senses we can, however, conceive in our minds through imagination. So in the case of the statues of Pheidias, the most perfect of their kind which we have ever seen, and in the case of the paintings I have named, we can, despite their beauty, visualize something even more beautiful. Surely that artist, when he created his Jupiter or Minerva, did not look at any person for use as a model, but rather in his own mind there resided a sort of extraordinary apparition of beauty; concentrating on it and intuiting its nature, he directed his art and his hand towards producing a likeness of it.

Cicero, Orator 2.9

“"Your artists like Pheidias," he [Thespesion] said, "and like Praxiteles, after going up to heaven and making copies of the forms of the gods, did they then represent them by art, or was there something else which stood by them as they worked?" "There was indeed," Apollonios replied, "something full of wisdom." "What is that? said the other, for certainly you would not say it was anything but mimesis ." "Imagination (phantasia) made them," Apollonios answered, a far wiser artist than mimesis ; for mimesis will represent only what the eyes can see, but imagination will represent what they cannot... When you entertain a notion of Zeus you must, I suppose, envisage him along with heaven and seasons and stars, as Pheidias tried to do."

Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana 6.19
A truly "cosmic" image of the supreme god's limitless power to accomplish good and punish hybris, the Zeus was too large and complex to copy entire: T 50, a big red-figure krater of ca. 400 in Leningrad, and Hadrianic coins of Elis are our only guides (Stewart 1990, figs. 372-75). Yet as with the Parthenos, the subsidiary figures were copied, though far less frequently: the Niobids (certified by the krater as being on the side-bars of the throne) and perhaps the Birth of Aphrodite on Neo-Attic and other reliefs, and the sphinxes and kneeling Nikai near the throne-legs (shown on the coins) in versions in the round. Eventually taken to Constantinople, it was burnt in the Lauseion fire of A.D. 476 (T 128).

By contrast, we have a host of replicas of the Parthenos (no. 4: cf. Stewart 1990, figs. 361-71); these have inspired numerous restorations, including a small-scale model in Toronto (Leipen 1971) and a full-size version in Nashville. The pseudo-portraits apart (T 47; Stewart 1990, fig. 366), the crucial sources are Philochoros (T 48) and the following:

“(24) As to the temple they call the Parthenon, all the figures in the gable over the front entrance relate to the Birth of Athena, while in the rear gable is the strife between Poseidon and Athena for the country. The statue itself is made of ivory and gold. In the middle of her helmet is placed an image of the Sphinx... and on either side of it are griffins in relief. Aristeas of Prokonnesos says in his poem that these griffins fight for the gold of the Arimaspians who live beyond the Issedones, and that the gold which the griffins guard comes out of the earth. The Arimaspians are men all born with one eye, and griffins are beasts like lions but have the wings and beaks of eagles. So much for griffins.

The statue of Athena stands upright, dressed in a full-length chiton, and on her breast a head of Medusa is represented in ivory. She carries a statue of Nike about 4 cubits [6 feet] high, and a spear in the other hand; a shield is placed by her feet, and near the shield is a serpent. This serpent would be Erichthonios. On the base of the image is represented the Birth of Pandora in relief. Hesiod and others have told how this Pandora was the first woman.

(25) ...Lachares [tyrant, 295] took golden shields from the Akropolis, and even stripped the very statue of Athena of all embellishments that could be removed.

“That Phidias is the most famous sculptor among all peoples who appreciate the reputation of his Olympian Jupiter, nobody doubts, but in order that even those who have not seen his works may know that he is justly praised, I will offer some small pieces of evidence as to his ability. To do this I will not appeal to the beauty of his Olympian Jupiter, nor to the size of his Minerva at Athens, even though she is 26 cubits [39 feet] high and made of ivory and gold. Rather, I shall use the battle of the Amazons which he embossed on the convex side of her shield, the fights between the gods and the giants on its concave side, and those between the Lapiths and Centaurs on her sandals. So truly did every detail lend itself to his art. On the base is carved in relief what they call the Birth of Pandora, with twenty gods in attendance. Although the figure of Victory is marvelous, connoisseurs admire the serpent and the bronze sphinx just below the tip of her spear.

Pliny, N.H. 36.18
Other authors occasionally add more facts, such as that her eyes were of stone (Plat. Hipp. Maj. 290b), and the inscribed accounts, though too fragmentary to translate here, offer glimpses of the administrative process at work; T 48 seems to quote from another such official document, now lost. Finally, her later history is recounted not only by T 55 but also by Roman and Byzantine sources, though her eventual fate remains unclear.

Pheidias' other works are far more problematic. Sketchy coin images of the Promachos (Work no. 6) in situ have prompted several competing identifications, including the colossal Athena Medici, which certainly looks Pheidian but seems too advanced for a work planned ca. 460; the other candidates appear only in the minor arts. Furtwängler's identification of the Lemnia (Work no. 7) with two statues in Dresden and the Palagi head in Bologna (Furtwängler 1895/1964, 4-26; cf. Stewart 1990, figs. 313-14) was based upon gem-engravings and a combination of testimonia, particularly Pausanias' and Lucian's remarks on her beauty, and by their resemblance to a passage of Himerios:

“[On the Akropolis] there are also two other dedications, a statue of Perikles, son of Xanthippos, and the most worth seeing of the works of Pheidias, the statue of Athena called the Lemnian after those who dedicated it.

“(4) Lykinos: "Of all the works of Pheidias, which one do you praise most highly?"

Polystratos: "Which if not the Lemnia, on which he thought fit to inscribe his name? Or the Amazon leaning on her spear?


(6) From the Knidia the sculptor [of Panthea] will take only the head, ... allowing the hair, forehead, and that lovely brow-line to remain just as Praxiteles made them, and the liquid yet clear and winsome gaze of the eyes shall stay as Praxiteles conceived it. But he will take the curve of the cheeks and the fore part of the face from Alkamenes' [Aphrodite] in the Gardens, plus her hands, graceful wrists, and supple, tapering fingers. But the facial contour, its softness, and her well-proportioned nose will be supplied by the Lemnian Athena of Pheidias, who will also furnish the meeting of the lips and the neck, taken from the Amazon."

Lucian, Imagines 4 and 6

“Pheidias did not always make images of Zeus, nor did he always cast Athena armed into bronze, but turned his art to the other gods and adorned the Maiden's cheeks with a rosy blush, so that in place of her helmet this should cover the goddess's beauty.

Himerios, Oratio 68.4 (Colonna)
Against this, Hartswick 1983 has shown that the Palagi head (Rome 62.69; Stewart 1990, fig. 314) cannot have come from Dresden statue B, that the gems could be post-antique, and that the sources are impossibly vague; his further conclusions, that the head of Dresden A is alien and the entire Palagi type is Hadrianic are, however, unwarranted; cf. Palagia 1987. So while the type remains intact and looks Pheidian, Furtwängler's further hypotheses concerning its identity and date (451-448) remain unproven.

Of the other Athenas, (9) has also been associated with the Medici type despite an Akropolis relief showing a version beside Athena's olive tree there, and Paus. 7.27.2 reports a local tradition that (10) predated both it (9) and the Parthenos (4); yet it is suspicious that a remote Arkadian town should commission a chryselephantine Athena before the Parthenos had set the fashion.

As for the rest, E.B. Harrison 1984 challenges (12) and attributes the so-called "Sappho" type (given by Delivorrias 1978 and others to Kalamis) to (13), dating it to the 420s; the Apollo (15) is often identified with the Kassel type (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Kassel A 51825; Stewart 1990, fig. 312). It is certainly closer to the Parthenon frieze than are the Riace bronzes (Reggio di Calabria, Riace A; Reggio di Calabria, Riace B; Stewart 1990, figs. 292-96), recently connected with the Marathon group (17), three of whose Eponymous heroes were evidently missing by the late second century A.D. (Paus. 10.10.1-2); Riace A's resemblance to the portrait of Anakreon (Richter 1965, 75-78, figs. 291-98) is often mentioned in support of this thesis, but since Paus. 1.25.1 fails to mention the author of the latter, this is no help. Completely different again from any of these male nudes is the Farnese Diadoumenos, regularly considered a copy of (19), but now persuasively identified as Roman neo-classic work after Polykleitos (Zanker 1974, 13-14).

Finally, the Amazon (20). While Lucian, Imagines 4 and 6 (T 58) tells us that she leant on her spear and praises the beauty of her features, Pliny alone records the tradition of the contest at Ephesos:

“After thus defining the periods of the most famous artists [T 1], I will rapidly run through the most renowned of these, then list the rest under various heads. The most celebrated, though born at different times, came into competition because they made Amazons. When these were dedicated in the temple of Diana at Ephesus, it was resolved to choose the most praiseworthy by vote of the artists themselves, who were present. Then it became evident that there was one which each artist judged second to his own: this was by Polyclitus, and next came that of Phidias, third Cresilas', fourth Cydon's, and fifth Phradmon's.

Pliny, N.H. 34.53
Among the copies, four Amazon types have regularly been associated with the contest: the Mattei (Rome, Museo Capitolino 733), quiver of Mattei type (Rome 75.2236), ancient cast of the girdle and adjacent area of the chiton of the Mattei type (Rome 78.1854), ancient cast of the right foot of the Mattei type (Baiae 174.531), Sosikles (Capitoline: Rome, Museo Capitolino 651; Louvre Ma 552), head of Sosikles type (Rome, Palazzo dei Conservatori 1091), Sciarra (a.k.a. Lansdowne: Vatican 2252; New York 32.11.4; Berlin 7), and Doria-Pamphili (Stewart 1990, figs. 388-96). As usual there is no consensus on who made which, though since only the Mattei actually leans on her spear, and the Sosikles conforms most strictly to the principles of Polykleitan contrapposto, many attribute these two types to Pheidias and Polykleitos respectively.

Others, however, have found Pliny's account incredible, not least because the voting procedure duplicates Herodotos' account of the Greek prize-giving after Salamis (8.123). Yet to the unprejudiced this might appear to support rather than undermine the tradition's claim to authenticity. Furthermore, the skeptics often forget that the contest has no bearing upon the fact of the dedication, which evidently came first, and which is independently corroborated by the appearance of two Amazon types on the Ephesian theater-reliefs, a replica of the Sosikles Amazon and a version of the same figure that wears a mantle over her chiton. (Compare Kanachos' Apollo at Didyma (Berlin 1592), which was also copied for the local theater: T 26-7 and commentary; Stewart 1990, fig. 167). Hartswick 1986 plausibly identifies the mantle-bearer as a personification of Ephesos itself, increasing the probability that its prototype, the Sosikles Amazon, indeed copies Polykleitos' statue, the winner of the contest.

As for the rest, while the statue in the Villa Doria Pamphili is probably only a classicizing variant of the Sciarra, two heads (the pendant to the Doryphoros herm in the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum and another from Hadrian's villa at Tivoli) apparently represent a genuine fifth type. Formerly assigned to the Mattei Amazon, this actually bears little resemblance to the (admittedly schematic) head of the Mattei-type figure on a Peloponnesian relief now in Athens; furthermore, first-hand examination of the head on a third Mattei-type replica, in Petworth, strongly suggests that it is original to that statue, not a restorer's addition, as Furtwängler and others believed. Not only does its coiffure resemble the relief figure's, but its elongated facial structure and emphatic features are strikingly close to both the Palagi "Lemnia" (Rome 62.69; cf. no. 6; Stewart 1990, fig. 314) and the Amazons on the Piraeus copies of the Parthenos shield (Piraeus Parthenos Shield; Stewart 1990, fig. 364), closer indeed than is the "Sappho"-Ourania (cf. Weber 1978, E.B. Harrison 1984; no. 13).

Though the Mattei type seems likely, then, to be Pheidian, and the Sosikles Polykleitan, to attribute the others is hazardous indeed. Kresilas of Kydonia in Crete (not necessarily identical with the "Ctesilaus" who "made a Doryphoros and a wounded Amazon": N.H. 34.75) is often given the Sciarra type, though his style is only known from the Perikles portrait (Ch. 6.3) if the copies we have indeed reproduce the statue noted by Pliny, N.H. 34.74 and Pausanias (T 57 — but omitting the sculptor). "Cydon" probably repeats Kresilas's own ethnic, a slip which may have eliminated another name (Strongylion, whose Amazon is praised by Pliny in N.H. 34.82?); while Phradmon of Argos is known for three other works, all lost (for one of them, see T 155).

The Sosikles, Mattei, and Sciarra Amazons are also represented among the Baiae plaster casts (Landwehr 1985, 60-76); significant departures in the handling of flesh and drapery show that, once again, faithfulness to the original took second place to the copyists' own notions of decor and the period style of their own time. This fact alone is sufficient to gainsay current attempts to reassign two or three of the types to the fourth, second, or even first centuries B.C. (e.g. Ridgway 1974; E.B. Harrison 1982b) on the basis of fairly minor stylistic discrepancies between the copies; indeed, even Pliny (T 60) was aware that though their careers overlapped, the five sculptors represented quite different stages in the development of the art.

As for ancient accounts of Pheidias' style, these either lapse into unhelpful generalities or are rhetorically conceived. So although he heads the "Xenokratic" list of five exemplary bronze workers in N.H. 34.53-65, Pliny says only that he "first opened up the art" (34.54) and nothing else; the rhetoricians are somewhat more enlightening, though concerned not with fact but impressions:

“I think one would not be wide of the mark in comparing the oratory of Isokrates to the art of Polykleitos and Pheidias for its august, dignified, and grand style, and that of Lysias to the art of Kalamis and Kallimachos for its lightness and grace.

Dionysios of Halikarnassos, Isokrates 3
By the later first century A.D. these observations, no doubt Hellenistic in origin, had been further refined in order to address the differences between Pheidias and Polykleitos: T 3. Yet another critical tradition is represented by the writers on phantasia , T 53-4: the two are bridged by Dio Chrysostomos' extraordinary 12th ("Olympic") oration on the Zeus, delivered from the temple porch in A.D. 97, which is too long to quote here. Finally, Pheidias plays a key role in ancient notions of the craftsman's status, as evidenced by authors from Isokrates (Isoc. 15. 2) to Lucian (The Dream 9).

So whereas Pheidias' standing as the greatest of Greek sculptors has not been seriously challenged since first advanced in antiquity, his personality remains elusive. His reputation was mainly based upon his extreme versatility, his technical virtuosity, and, above all, the magnificence of his cult statues (T 115); the conservative "Attic" stance of the Parthenos (Athena Parthenos reconstruction; and others? cf. the Medici and "Lemnian" Athenas, nos. 6, 7), with shoulders squared and one leg partially relaxed, was perhaps responsible not only for much of this "majesty" (T 3), but also for the inaugurative role given him in the "Xenokratic" canon, before the compositionally-innovative Polykleitos (T 62) and still more adventurous Myron (T 43). Yet the Amazon and Niobid reliefs show a quite different side of his art, daring, experimental, but still lucid as none other. Modern observers (e.g. Richter 1951, 7-14) often seem baffled by this seeming contradiction; perhaps, though, it is no contradiction at all, but merely a matter of supreme sensitivity to genre on the part of a sculptor whose address — and consequent appeal — was quite simply universal.

Select bibliography: (A) General: Furtwängler 1895/1964, 1-112; ThB 26: 541-6 (Bieber, 1933); RE 19.2: 1919-35 (Lippold, 1938); Picard 1935-1971 (vol. 2): (Picard/Manuel) 308-21; Lacroix 1949, 259-86; Lippold 1950, 141-57, 171-72; Becatti 1951; EWA 11: 277-87 (Becatti, 1958); EAA 3: 649-60 (Becatti, 1960); Boardman 1967, 355-60; Richter 1970d, 167-78, 254; M. Robertson 1975, 292-322, 333-38; Ridgway 1981, 161-71; Boardman 1985a, 203-04; Mattusch 1988, 166-72; Stewart 1990, 60-61, 150-60, 257-63, and index, s.v. 'Pheidias'.

(B) Sources: Overbeck 1868/1959, nos. 618-807, etc.; Stuart-Jones 1895/1966, 73-99; Jex-Blake 1896, xvi-xix, xlii-iii, etc; Schweitzer 1932/1963; Pollitt 1972, passim; Gallet de Santerre 1983, 45-6, 49-52, 64, 66, 70, 196, 214-17; Pollitt 1990, 53-65, 223-228.

(C) Perikles (and Anaxagoras): Schweitzer 1940, 170-191; 1941; Schauenburg 1962, 54; Boersma 1970, 65-81; Himmelmann 1977.

(D) Trial and exile: FGH 3b (Supplement) 1: 484-96 (1954); Frost 1964; Mallwitz 1964, 272-7; Donnay 1968b; Himmelmann 1977, 85-7; Triebel-Schubert 1983; Wesenberg 1985a.

(E) Zeus: Imhoof-Blumer 1887/1964, 71-2;Fink 1967; Mingazzini 1969/70; Richter 1970d, 117-18, 171-73; Vogelpohl 1980; Shefton 1982, 160-65.

(F) Parthenos: (i) General: Imhoof-Blumer 1887/1964, lxxiii-iv, 126-28; Schuchhardt 1963; Leipen 1971; Gernand 1975, 17-24; Brommer 1979b, 59-61; LIMC 1: 602-3, 642 (Devambez, 1981); C.C. Vermeule 1981 no. 29; E.B. Harrison 1982b, 53-65; Prag 1983; LIMC 2.1: 977-78, 1041-42 (Demargne, 1984), 1084-85 (Canciani, 1984); Boardman 1985a, 110-12.

(ii) Technique and accounts: Stevens 1955, Stevens 1957; Burford 1963; Donnay 1967a, Donnay 1968a; Richter 1970d, 117-18; Eddy 1977; Himmelmann 1977, 84-89.

(iii) Base: Schuchhardt 1975.

(iv) Shield and "portraits": Richter 1965, 150-51; Strocka 1967; Metzler 1971, 289-306; Preisshofen 1974b; Stephanidou-Tiberiou 1979; Frel 1981, 16-17; E.B. Harrison 1981;Himmelmann 1983, 76-85.

(G) Parthenon (attribution): Schweitzer 1938b, Schweitzer 1940; Himmelmann 1977; Brommer 1979b, 62-63, 68-69; Boardman 1985a, 109-10.

(H) Athenas: Imhoof-Blumer 1887/1964, 128-29; R.J.H. Jenkins 1947; Kluwe 1969; Despinis 1975; Linfert 1982; M. Price 1977, 76-77; Hartswick 1983; LIMC 2.1: 972 (Demargne, 1984), 1085 (Canciani, 1984); Palagia 1987; Mattusch 1988, 168-72 (Promachos).

(I) Other works and attributions: Imhoof-Blumer 1887/1964, 4-5, 91-92; Karouzou 1961 (Hermes); Schmidt 1966 (Kassel Apollo); Settis 1966 (Aphrodite Ourania); Richter 1965, 94-97; Gauer 1968a, 128-32 (Miltiades); Zanker 1974, 13-14 (Anadoumenos); Kron 1975, 215-27 (Marathon); W. Fuchs 1982 (Riace/Marathon); Brommer 1982, 146, 149 (Marathon); Knigge 1982; E.B. Harrison 1984 (Ourania).

(J) Amazons: Ridgway 1974; Devambez 1976; Weber 1976, Weber 1978; Dohrn 1979 (with full bibliography); Gauer 1980; LIMC 1: 625-26, 643 (Devambez, 1981); E.B. Harrison 1982b, 65-88; Raeder 1983, 77-78, 86-87, 92-93, 222-23, 225-26; Landwehr 1985, 60-76 nos. 29-41 (Baiae casts); Hartswick 1986.

(K) Descendants: Donnay 1967b; Mansfield 1985, 562-63.

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