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at the same time the goddess who inspired the education of youth. It was she who taught young men how to bridle their horses, and young girls how to spin and embroider. As she sees the Ergastinae advancing she may well be pleased. She could drive her own chariot on occasion. It
It may be, therefore, that the preponderance of youth in the actual procession through the streets of Athens and on the frieze of her greatest temple was intended as a special honour for her. Among the gods in the east frieze she holds a position equal to that of Zeus himself - she is at the head of one group as he is at the head of the other. Beside her and in conversation with her is seated Hephaestos, the god of handicraft and artistic skill. In Athenian belief she was closely associated with him. It was he who made the statue of Pandora. It was she who breathed into it the breath of life. He was the practical workman, she the inspiring genius. We recognise Hephaestos easily when we remember that he was lame. He is the only one of the deities who needs to use a staff for support under his right arm. That is explicit enough.
At this point it may be well to remember that the east frieze of the Parthenon is not the only instance in which Pheidias sculptured the great deities of Olympos in bas-relief and in two separate groups. He did so on the base of his great statue of Athene within the Parthenon itself, where the subject was the birth of Pandora, the deities looking on. On the base of his even more famous chryselephantine statue of Zeus at Olympia he sculptured in gold the birth of the goddess Aphroditè in the presence of the great deities, and fortunately we know from Pausanias exactly how the scene was disposed. The whole scene was bounded on the left by
the rising sun (Helios), and on the right by the waning moon (Selenè). In the centre was Aphroditè rising from the sea, and being received by her son Eros, while Peitho, the goddess of persuasion, crowns her. In the left group were Zeus, Hera, and Charis, one of the Graces, then Hermes and Hestia. In the group on the right, beginning again from the outer extreme, we see first the great deity Poseidon with his consort Amphitritè, next Athenè with Heracles, and lastly Apollo with Artemis, all strictly in pairs. The scheme of arrangement was thus not unlike what we have on the Parthenon frieze, except that the greatest deities were nearest the outer extremes, whereas on the Parthenon they are nearest the centre. Observe also that in both compositions the Zeus and Hera are accompanied by a secondary person, whom Pausanias names Charis, or Grace, on the base of Olympia, and we call Iris on the Parthenon. In each case she answers, as we have clearly said, to the maid who is so often figured beside Athenian matrons on the sepulchral stelae.
We may not unreasonably assume that the seated posture of the gods on the Parthenon frieze was intended to suggest their invisibility. That does not strike us as so very singular when we see gods placed among legendary heroes and not recognised by them. But when we come to the presence of deities among mortals, we find ourselves confronted by spiritual manifestations with which the Greeks were less familiar and were indeed sceptical of. Yet if they believed, as they did, that at the battle of Marathon their hero Theseus and others appeared in spiritual form, Pheidias might well rely on them to accept the spiritual presence
of the gods at the Panathenaic festival. At all events, that was the task he had to accomplish; and surely it was a stupendous task to sustain throughout the vast length of the Parthenon frieze a continuous illustration of ordinary life modified by just enough of solemnity to foreshadow the climax when the procession should arrive where the gods were expected to be present, and with all this to attain unity of effect.
Thus far we have tried to explain the general scheme of the frieze. We now propose to discuss its execution.
N Greek bas-relief the figures sometimes appear as if
they could be sliced off from the background and completed as figures in the round, like the ríorai, or vertical slices of men, represented on Greek stelae, as Plato says. But were we to try to complete the figures of the Parthenon frieze, making them as thick at the back as the front, they would be merely flattened representations of men and horses. We must, in fact, take it that low relief is in all cases intended to indicate distance, when the background loses its importance and indicates mere space, with which the eye does not concern itself appreciably. But on the Parthenon frieze there was this in addition. The frieze could only be seen by looking up at an acute angle, in which case the background was merely such space as the sculptor required to keep his outlines clear and to give to the eye of the spectator the repose it dearly loves. The sculptor had no exact rules he could follow. He could not give the depth or projection to his figures which would be true
1 Symposium, 19: Karà ypaprvék Hildebrand, Das Problem der Form, τετυπωμένοι διαπεπρισμένοι κατά τας third ed., p. 80: Die Reliefvorstellung ρίνας γεγονότες ώσπερ λίσται. .
fusst auf dem Eindruck eines Fernbildes.
to nature were the figures seen fairly close at hand. In the diffused light of the colonnade only the lowest possible relief was permissible. He knew that a horseman at a comparatively short distance presents the appearance of a silhouette with sharp contours, and that aspect of things suited him ; but equally from his own study and knowledge of men and animals he was familiar with innumerable points of detail in their life and action, as seen close at hand, all which he set himself to incorporate with the sharp contours peculiar to a more or less distant view. He was therefore obliged to improvise a series of receding planes in his relief, which by their exceeding subtlety give an appearance of distance, and yet are best seen close at hand. The lower the modelling and the less the convexity of the inner forms the more effective become the contours, just as the outlines of a mountain impress us more when seen through a slight mist, which partially obscures the multitude of nearer details, than when seen in the broad sun. As an example of the latitude the sculptor allowed himself in the treatment of receding planes, let us take two contiguous slabs of the south frieze, where we see youths leading cows to the sacrifice. In the one (xl.) a youth is pulling back a cow with all his might by an imaginary rope fastened to the horns. Doubtless the rope had originally been painted on the marble. The shoulders of the cow are modelled with infinite care and
1 Hildebrand, Das Problem der Bewegungsfähigkeit des Auges, das Form, third ed., p. 20: Das ruhig Dreidimensionale vom nahen Standschauende Auge empfängt ein Bild punkt aus direkt abzutasten und die welches das Dreidimensionale nur in Erkenntnis der Form durch ein Zeitmerkmalen auf einer Fläche ausdrückt liches Nacheinander von Wahrnehmung in der das Nebeneinander gleichzeitig zu gewinnen. erfasst wird. Dagegen ermöglicht die