Category Archives: Statues

Rare Ancient Bronze Statues — Part 2 of 2 — Athena

I previously posted images and commentary on two of the very well–preserved bronze statues of Artemis that are in the Piraeus Museum (port of Athens).    People often wonder “what did the statue of Athena in the Parthenon look like?”  Well, one of the bronzes from Piraeus is a larger than life-size statue of Athena that was made when the one in the Parthenon was less that 100 years old!

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Piraeus Athena in Bronze — This statue was crafted while the original statue of Athena in the Parthenon still stood! — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

This bronze(!) statue of Athena is larger than life size—almost 8 ft. [2.35 m.] tall.  It may have originally been from Delos.  Two owls and two griffins adorn her Corinthian helmet.  The statue dates to ca. 360 B.C. — at that time the Athena statue in the Parthenon was less that 100 years old!   She held a spear in her left hand and a libation bowl—or an owl or a Nike—in her right.  Note the diagonal belt bordered by snakes that contains a Gorgon’s head.

Her weight is resting on her right foot and her left leg is slightly flexed.  This statue, along with three others, was found in 1959 during building excavations in Piraeus.  They were found as a group and although deposited at the same time, they were crafted at different periods.  They were probably deposited in the first century B.C.

Compare the “Varvakeion Athena” (below) that is in the National Museum in Athens.  This statuette is 1/12 the size of the Athena in the Parthenon.  It dates to the third century A.D.!

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The “Varvakeion Athena” from Athens — Third century A.D. — one twelfth the size of the Athena in the Parthenon — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

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Very Rare Ancient Bronze Statues — 2 Bronze Statues of Artemis — Part 1 of 2 Parts

Most of the statuary from the classical times that grace the museums of the western world are Roman marble copies of bronze statues from earlier periods.  Bronze statues are relatively rare because most of them were melted down (recycled) and the bronze was reused for industrial, agricultural, and/or military purposes!  On a recent trip to Athens we (Mary and I) visited the Piraeus Archaeological Museum—one that I had never visited before (it is a bit difficult to get to, and the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and the newly opened Acropolis Museum, with their “world-class holdings” rightfully get top billing!).

However, upon entering the Piraeus Archaeological Museum I was very excited to see the four large bronze statues that were on display there.

Artemis "B" — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

Artemis “B” — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

This bronze(!) statue of Artemis is smaller than life-size— 5 ft. 1 in. [1.55 m.] tall. In her right hand she held an offering bowl and in her left a bow (missing). It dates to about 200 B.C. The garment that she is wearing is called a peplos—the folds of which area clearly visible. Note the quiver on her back and her hairstyle  (to view a detail of her quiver and her back Click Here).

Her weight is resting on her left foot and her right leg is slightly flexed. This statue, along with three others, was found in 1959 during building excavations in Piraeus. They were found as a group and although deposited at the same time, they were crafted at different periods. They were probably deposited in the first century B.C.

Artemis "A" — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

Artemis “A” — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

This bronze(!) statue of Artemis dates to the fourth century B.C.!  It is larger than life size— 6.4 ft. [1.94 m.] tall.  In her right hand she held an offering bowl and in her left a bow (missing).  It dates to the fourth century B.C.  The garment that she is wearing is called a peplos—the folds of which area clearly visible.   Even the marble and chestnut irises of her eyes are preserved!

Her weight is resting on her right foot and the left leg is flexed—in a contrapposto stance.  The statue is attributed to the sculptor Euphranor.

To view (and/or download) additional images of these two statues Click Here.