The Parthenon Frieze / Edition 1by Jenifer Neils
Pub. Date: 09/24/2001
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
While the sculpted Ionic frieze of the Parthenon with its galloping horsemen and classically portrayed gods is reproduced in every art history text and has been much studied by scholars, no single book has yet been devoted to all its myriad aspects. This study by classical archaeologist and art historian Jenifer Neils breaks new ground by considering all aspects of
While the sculpted Ionic frieze of the Parthenon with its galloping horsemen and classically portrayed gods is reproduced in every art history text and has been much studied by scholars, no single book has yet been devoted to all its myriad aspects. This study by classical archaeologist and art historian Jenifer Neils breaks new ground by considering all aspects of this complex and controversial monument. Although the frieze has been studied for over two hundred years, most scholarship has sought an overall interpretation of the iconography rather than focusing on the sculpture's visual language, essential for a full understanding of the narrative. Neils' study not only decodes the language of the frieze, but also analyzes its conception and design, style and content, as well as its impact on later art. Unusual for its wide-ranging approach to the frieze, this book also brings ethical reasoning to bear on the issue of its possible repatriation as part of the on-going Elgin Marble debate. As one of the foremost examples of the high classical style and the finest expression of mid-fifth century Athenian ideology, the Parthenon frieze is without doubt one of the major monuments of western civilization, and as such deserves to be understood in all its dimensions. The accompanying CD-ROM contains a virtual reality Macromedia Director movie of the complete frieze, based on the plaster casts in the Skulpturhalle in Basel, Switzerland. Developed by Rachel Rosenzweig of the Department of Greek and Roman Art of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the casts are arranged in conformity with Neils' reconstruction and enable the user to view them in succession, as if walking around the Parthenon. The CD-ROM requires a computer running either MAC OS 8.01 or later, or Windows 95 or later.
- Cambridge University Press
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- 6.97(w) x 9.96(h) x 1.02(d)
Table of Contents
Preface; Introduction; Polis: the context of ritual; Paradeigma: designing the frieze; Techne: carving the frieze; Mimesis: the high classical style; Iconographia: identifying the players; Iconologia: interpreting the frieze; Kleos: the impact of the frieze; Thauma: whose heritage?
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If I asked 10,000 people at random if they had ever heard of Athena¿s peplos, or cloak, I¿d be surprised if just one of them said yes. And yet, every year for nearly a thousand years, the ancient Greeks (you know, those people who created the living basis of our culture) presented Athena with an embroidered cloak as the centerpiece of their most important festival. They even carved the procession culminating in the presentation of the cloak and the presentation itself on a 160-meter wrap-around frieze on their most treasured temple, the Parthenon. That¿s where Jenifer Neils comes in. Dr. Neils is a brilliant art historian and scholar. I¿m on my third read of her THE PARTHENON FRIEZE because it is so well-written and rich in detail and insight. Her book helped me understand the purpose and meaning of the great Panathenaic festival. All of it is excellent, but to me, just her description of the peplos ceremony itself is worth the price of her book. If you¿re reading this, you¿ve now heard of Athena¿s cloak, if you hadn¿t before. And you should be wondering exactly what was embroidered on it. The embroidery depicted the Greek gods defeating the Giants. This theme also was sculpted on the fourteen east metopes of the Parthenon, and it was painted on the inside of the shield next to Athena¿s great gold and ivory idol-image. The defeat of the Giants meant everything to the Greeks. As I point out in my book, ATHENA AND EDEN, in the Greek story of the gods defeating the Giants, the gods represent the Greek religious system and the Giants are the Yahweh-believing offspring of Noah. Greek myth is history, and that¿s what really happened. The Greek religious system overcame Noah¿s system. The Parthenon frieze should thus mean something to all of us. In addition to numerous interesting illustrations, Dr. Neils¿ book contains a complete fold-out line drawing of the entire frieze and a CD-ROM of all the extant frieze sculpture.