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Horses, with Man Fastening Sandal, Parthenon, West Frieze, Slab XV
Unknown Greek Artist
442 BCE - 438 BCE
5th century BCE
34 x 40 x 4 in. (86.36 x 101.6 x 10.16 cm)
Medium and Support:
Plaster cast from Pentelic marble original
Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Not on view.
The West frieze of the Parthenon consists of six blocks of Pentelic marble with relief sculpture. Two of these blocks are in the British Museum, while the remaining four were removed from the Parthenon in the 1990s to undergo laser cleaning. Today these cleaned blocks are installed in the Acropolis Museum wherea a stone cast of the frieze appears on the Parthenon. The west frieze is possibly the best preserved section of the entire Ionic frieze that once decorated the exterior of the cella.
This cast shows the block closest to the southwest corner of the frieze where the portrayal of the Panathenaic procession begins. There is an intimacy felt between us and the young man who intently laces up his sandal. He is unaware that we are observing him, which makes the scene all the more honest and realistic.
Here, all is quiet as the young man faces to the right, with his sandaled foot resting on a rock, in contrast to the horses which face to the left. As the spectators, we understand that what we are witnessing is the beginning of an event that has both great importance and historical significance.