Phidias

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Phidias or Pheidias (in Ancient Greek, Φειδίας); circa 480 BC – 430 BC), was a Greek sculptor, painter and architect, who lived in the 5th century BC, and is commonly regarded as one of the greatest of all sculptors of Classical Greece:[1] Phidias' Statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Phidias also designed the statues of the goddess Athena on the Athenian Acropolis, namely the Athena Parthenos inside the Parthenon and the Athena Promachos, a colossal bronze statue of Athena which stood between it and the Propylaea,[2] a monumental gateway that served as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. Phidias was the son of a certain Charmides of Athens.[3]

The ancients believed that his masters were Hegias[4] and Hageladas.

Prior to the Peloponnesian war, Phidias was accused of embezzling gold intended for the statue of Athena inside the Parthenon. Pericles' enemies found a false witness against Phidias, named Menon. Phidias died in prison, although Pericles' companion, Aspasia, was acquitted of her own charges.

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Works

Although no original works in existence can be confidently attributed to him with certainty, numerous Roman copies in varying degrees of supposed fidelity are known to exist. This is not uncommon. Almost all classical Greek paintings and sculptures have been destroyed, and only Roman copies or notes of them exist, like the passages of Plato that ascribe Phidias' works to him. The ancient Romans frequently copied and further developed Greek art.

Ancient critics take a very high view of the merits of Phidias. What they especially praise is the ethos or permanent moral level of his works as compared with those of the later so called "pathetic" school. Demetrius calls his statues sublime, and at the same time precise.

Of his life we know little apart from his works. His first commission was a group of national heroes with Miltiades as a central figure.

The famous statesman Pericles also commissioned several sculptures for Athens from him in 447 BC, to celebrate Greek victory against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon during the Greco-Persian Wars (490 BC). Pericles used some of the money from the maritime League of Delos,[5] to rebuild and decorate Athens to celebrate this victory.

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