Athena and Theseus
Artist: Unknown Greek Artist Primary
The Athenian Treasury was located below the Temple of Apollo on the Sacred Way in Delphi. It was built as a Doric structure around 490 BCE; a time of transition from the Late Archaic to the Early Classical period in Greek Art.
This Treasury, which was just one of many such structures at Delphi, functioned on several levels. It was, for example, a votive offering, dedicated to Apollo and the Delphic Oracle in recompense for their perceived help in defeating the Persians. On a more prosaic level, the structure functioned as a repository for rich gifts left by worshipers, in addition to providing an important, visually compelling, place to display war booty.
The metopes of the Treasury depict some of the Labors of Herakles as well as the Deeds of Theseus. On the south side, for example, Theseus confronts various monsters and barbarians, including a Minotaur and an Amazon; both frequent metaphors for the Persian enemy, whose defeat by the Athenians is celebrated in the sculptural program.
The metope represented here shows a meeting between Athena (on the left) and Theseus (on the right). The goddess bestows her blessing upon the Athenian hero, thus emphasizing the special relationship and protection she offers him and, by extension, the entire city of Athens. Theseus stands quietly, unlike the other metopes in which he battles mythological beasts or uncivilized foes.
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Three-dimensional works of art in which images and forms are produced in relief, in intaglio, or in the round. The term refers particularly to art works created by carving or engraving a hard material, by molding or casting a malleable material (which usually then hardens), or by assembling parts to create a three-dimensional object. It is typically used to refer to large or medium-sized objects made of stone, wood, bronze, or another metal. Small objects are typically referred to as "carvings" or another appropriate term. "Sculpture" refers to works that represent tangible beings, objects, or groups of objects, or are abstract works that have defined edges and boundaries and can be measured. As three-dimensional works become more diffused in space or time, or less tangible, use appropriate specific terms, such as "mail art" or "environmental art."
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