Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Athena in Her Serpent-Trimmed Cloak

Archaeology magazine online has an interesting article about how the ancients painted their sculptures and statues in vibrant color. In the modern world, we are used to the washed-out whitness of the underlying marble or stone used to create the work of art, and so seeing replicas of the originals in full color is breathtaking.

Here's an image of the colorized Athena from the west pediment of the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina; Greek, ca. 490-480 B.C.; marble, overall height ca. 340 cm; Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek, Munich. Notice how much the serpent heads now stand out from her goatskin cloak with serpent-head fringe. Whoever dismisses Athena as an ancient serpent goddess has not seen this particular sculpture of her!

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