The stolen Caryatid from the south porch of the Erechtheion / Η κλεμμένη Καρυάτιδα

(Για ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ πάτε κάτω)
A Caryatid from the south porch of the Erechtheion. The figure is in London, the best preserved. Those left on the building have now been removed from the polluting atmosphere of Athens to the new museum. About 410 BC. (London 1816,0610.128)

The Ionic order of the Erechtheion offers more contrast with the Ionic of the Archaic period, than does the Doric Parthenon with its predecessors. In the capitals concave channels in the volutes were now the rule where earlier, but for rare and primitive exceptions, they were plump convex. In the Erechtheion capitals there are even double channels, and the usual egg-and-dart between the volutes has a cable pattern above and a floral band (as in Archaic Samos) below. There had been some variety in the bases too, the Erechtheion having a type developed in Attica. The shafts have twenty-four flutes, with flat ridges between, against the Doric twenty with sharp ridges; and the Ionic column as a whole retains its tall slim proportions against the squat Doric, which made it a natural choice for positions where the mass of a Doric colonnade could have looked unbearably heavy. All the carved mouldings of these buildings were painted, some with coloured glass inlays also, and it now seems that even the flat wall surfaces were toned down with a colour wash to reduce the glare of direct sunlight. Add the realistic colouring of the figure sculpture and the difference between what we see today in Athens and in museums and what was seen in antiquity becomes almost impossible to conceive.

A visitor to the Acropolis would have done well to save for the end his inspection of the little Temple of Athena Nike, on the bastion overlooking the entrance. It was a small Ionic building, erected over what had become the traditional position for this shrine, a mirror in miniature of the more elaborate Ionic of the Erechtheion. A low stone balustrade surrounded the sanctuary, and the relief carving upon it offers perfect examples of the statuary style typical of the end of the 5th century, successor to the rather heavy Classical idealism of the Parthenon. Figures of Victory are shown in a frieze leading animals to sacrifice and erecting trophies, attended by Athenas . 

The thin material of their dress is pressed so close to the body that some are virtually nude studies, an effect anticipated in the Parthenon pediments , the transparency and swirl of the drapery lending emphasis to the form of the body, and not either concealing it or having a mass and movement of its own apart from the body beneath. The treatment of dress and of the human body, especially of women, has come a long way during the 5th century.

Το 1801 μία από τις Καρυάτιδες και ο βόρειος κίονας του ανατολικού πρόπυλου μαζί με το υπερκείμενο τμήμα του θριγκού αφαιρέθηκαν από τον Λόρδο Έλγιν με σκοπό την διακόσμηση του μεγάρου του και αργότερα πωλήθηκαν στο Βρετανικό Μουσείο (μαζί με γλυπτά από τα αετώματα και τις ζωφόρους του Παρθενώνα).Ένας θρύλος της εποχής ανέφερε πως κατά τη διάρκεια της νύχτας οι εναπομείνασες πέντε Καρυάτιδες ακουγόταν να θρηνούν για την χαμένη αδελφή τους. Ο Έλγιν, προσπάθησε να αφαιρέσει και μια δεύτερη Καρυάτιδα και όταν προέκυψαν τεχνικές δυσκολίες, προσπάθησε να την κόψει σε κομμάτια. Το γλυπτό θρυμματίστηκε και παρέμειναν τα θραύσματα. Αργότερα ανακατασκευάστηκε ασυντόνιστα με τη χρήση τσιμέντου και μεταλλικών ράβδων. 

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