The Mausoleum at Halikarnassos: the sculptors

Pliny and Vitruvius tell us that several of the most distinguished sculptors of the period collaborated on the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos. Those mentioned are Skopas, Leochares, Bryaxis and either Timotheos or Praxiteles. Each sculptor is said to have been responsible for one side of the monument, with perhaps Pytheos and Satyros responsible for the design. The sculptural decoration, of which many fragments survive, consisted of statues in the round, three friezes and sculptured ceiling coffers. The original position of the sculptures is uncertain, but it is clear that statues in the round were carved on more than one scale, depending upon their position on the building.

The free-standing statues showed scenes of life at Maussollos' court, including hunting, ceremonial and ritual activities. Portraits of members of the court were set up between the columns and perhaps on one of the platforms around the podium. A battle between the Greeks and Persians was also represented. The friezes showed the traditional subjects of battles between Greeks and Amazons and Lapiths and Centaurs as well as chariot races. There were probably also sculptured groups at the base of the pyramid, to which the head of Apollo may be assigned.

The marbles used came from various quarries: the finest Pentelic and Parian were used for the free-standing sculptures, while marbles from western Asia Minor were used for the architecture. The monument was richly coloured and traces of pigment still survive on several sculptures.

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