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The Parthenon was built as a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. It was the centrepiece of an ambitious building programme on the Acropolis of Athens.
The temple’s great size and lavish use of white marble was intended to show off the city’s power and wealth at the height of its empire. Room 18 exhibits sculptures that once decorated the outside of the building.
The pediments and metopes illustrate episodes from Greek mythology, while the frieze represents the people of contemporary Athens in religious procession.
Rooms 18a and 18b feature fragments of the Parthenon sculpture and also pieces of architecture. Video displays using computer graphics explain how the sculptures were placed on the building, and a touch tour for visually impaired visitors includes a model, some original architecture and plaster casts of the frieze.
Three-dimensional models of Olympian gods, originally carved in low relief in the east frieze of the Parthenon, are currently on display in Room 18a, as part of a research project by colleagues at the Tokyo University of the Arts.
Video: Egyptian blue on the Parthenon Sculptures
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