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Figure of a river-god from the west pediment of the Parthenon

 

Length: 156.000 cm

Elgin Collection

GR West Pediment, A

Room 18: Greece: Parthenon

    Figure of a river-god from the west pediment of the Parthenon

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    Figure of a river-god from the west pediment of the Parthenon

    The Acropolis, Athens, Greece, about 438-432 BC

    Possibly the river Ilissos

    The central feature of the west pediment of the Parthenon was the colossal statues of Athena and Poseidon in contest for Athens and the land of Attica (the country around the city).

    The reclining figures in the corners of the triangular composition perhaps represent the rivers of Attica. This figure, from the left-hand corner, is thought to personify the river Ilissos, by comparison with figures on the east pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia; the Greek historian Pausanias names them as the local rivers there.

    The naked youth's languid form is well adapted to the raking angle of the pediment that framed him. He appears as if caught in the action of raising himself onto a rock. A piece of drapery hangs wet and clinging to his left arm.

    B.F. Cook, The Elgin Marbles, 2nd edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

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    On display: Room 18: Greece: Parthenon

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