Statue of Zeus at Olympia By: Jesus Del Toro
Background • Work started on the statue around 440 BC and it was finished in 450 BC • The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was the most famous artistic work in all of Greece and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. • To the Greeks the statue of Olympian Zeus was the incarnate god. • Zeus was the bringer of thunder and lightning, rain, and winds, and his weapon was the thunderbolt. • The statue was 40 feet high and represented Zeus seated on his throne. Its base was 20 feet wide and 3 feet high. • The Statue was so large that it dominated the temple's interior. • Zeus was carved from ivory then covered with gold plating.
Purpose • The statue of Zeus was built to honor Zeus and to show his glory to passing visitors. • The statue of Zeus presided over the Olympic Games.
Strabo a geographer wrote: ".. although the temple itself is very large, the sculptor is criticized for not having appreciated the correct proportions. He has shown Zeus seated, but with the head almost touching the ceiling, so that we have the impression that if Zeus moved to stand up he would unroof the temple." • Others liked the fact the statue was that large, because it showed that Zeus was larger than life.
Chief Architect • It was carved by Phidias, considered the greatest Greek sculptor. : Also designed the statue of Athena that stood in the Parthenon.
Phidias used a technique that allowed his enormous creations of ivory and metals to be formed without falling under their own weight.
Ahead of its Time ? • The statue of Zeus was ahead of its time because of its size and beauty. There was no other statue that portrayed Zeus with such power and elegance.
Still in Existence Today? • NO • The Roman Emperor Caligula, jealous of its power over his newly conquered citizens, ordered it moved to Rome. • But then it was decided to be carried off to Constantinople, where it was destroyed in a accidental fire in 475AD.
Great or Overrated ? • In my opinion the statue of Zeus was great because of what it meant to the Greeks, and because it was covered with GOLD! It was said that Kings and even Roman Emperors who gazed upon it were known to cry in veneration.
Architecture from Olympia • Temple of Hera • The Stadium • Palaestra • Villa of the Roman Emperor Nero
Sources • http://www.unmuseum.org/ztemp.htm • http://www.amazeingart.com/seven-wonders/statue-zeus.html • http://www.cleveleys.co.uk/wonders/statueofzeus.htm • http://www.suite101.com/content/the-statue-of-zeus-at-olympia-a4685 • http://www.crystalinks.com/statuezeusolympia.html • http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/worldhistory/statueofzeus.htm • http://www.hillmanwonders.com/seven_wonders/seven_wonders_statue_zeus.htm • http://www.richeast.org/htwm/Greeks/wonders/statue.html • http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/artarchaeologyarchitect/g/ZeusOlympia.htm