On Tuesday, July 7, The New York Times published an article entitled “Acropolis Maidens Glow Anew — Caryatid Statues, Restored Are Stars at Athens Museum.” A “caryatid” is a column in the shape of a female and there were six of them that supported the roof of a porch on the Erechtheion.
The Times article has brief videos showing how the “maidens” were cleaned—hint, laser like technology. It also describes that history of the Erechtheion and the Caryatids in particular.
A caryatid is a sculpted draped female figure that serves as a column that supports an entablature (beam for the roof). The, less frequently found, male counterpart is an “atlante.” Note the draped garment and the flexed inside leg — lending lightness and grace to the figures.
Five of the Caryatids have now been cleaned and are on display in the new “Acropolis Museum”—that is located south of the acropolis.
One of the caryatids was taken to England by Lord Elgin (see the Times article for a description of the context.
For a brief description of the Erechtheion Click Here.