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Phidias (Athens, around 500 a. C. – Olympia or Athens, h. 431 a. C.) was the most famous of the sculptors of Antigua Greece.

He lived in the time of Pericles, who was his main protector and entrusted him with the direction of his great project of the reconstruction of the Acropolis of Athens. It fits into the stage known as “first Greek classicism.”

His most famous works were the statue of the goddess Athena of the Parthenon (Athena Partenos) and the statue of Zeus at Olympia, both of wood clad with fragments of gold and ivory, which became models of perfection of the representation of divinities, but other statues are attributed to him, as much Criselefantinas as of bronze or marble, that enjoyed fame, like the Athena Promacos and the Athenian Lemnia. Although no original safe statue of Phidias has been preserved, some of his works are known through descriptions made by authors of antiquity and have been related to statues from Roman times that have been preserved and are considered copies of originals of Phidias, such as the Apollo of Kassel, the Anadumeno Farnese or the numerous Athena Partenos.

Pheidias’s Biography

Few details of the life of Fidias are known since the main sources of data for the reconstruction of his existence, Pliny, Plutarch and Pausanias, wrote several centuries after his death. Pausanias quotes the phrase that was in one of his works, the statue of Zeus in Olympia:

Phidias, son of Cármides, Athenian, made me.

Copy of the shield of Athena Parthenos where the supposed self-portrait of Phidias appears. Moscow, Pushkin Museum.

It is estimated that his birth occurred around the year 500 a. C., although the exact date is unknown.According to Pliny the Elder, he had trained as a painter.It is considered that his teacher as a sculptor would have Agéladas de Argos and, according to Dion Chrysostom, also Hegias.

Apparently, his artistic activity starts around 470 a. C. Little is known about his life apart from his works. Pliny the Elder says he flourished at the 83rd Olympiad (448-445 BC) and cites his contemporaries until the 90th Olympiad. He mentions Alcámenes, Colotes and Agorácrito as his students, and Pausanias also quotes Agorácrito, which was his eromenoi. 1] Another beloved, even more closely related to the sculptor, was Pantarces, a young eleo and winner of the youth fighting match at the 86th Olympiad in 436 a. & Nbsp; C. Pausanias reports a tradition according to which the boy was the model for one of the figures carved on the throne of the Olympian Zeus Another tradition, narrated by Clement of Alexandria, presents Phidias carving «Kalos Pantarkes» («Pantarkes is handsome» ) on the middle finger of the god.

He was called by Pericles to direct, from 447 a. C., the works of the reconstruction of the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens. His friendship with Pericles, according to Plutarch, attracted envy to him in such a way that it was rumored that he facilitated his amorous encounters with the tyrant by introducing him to the free women who came to see the works.

The sculptor was accused by enemies of his protector Pericles of staying with part of the gold destined for the statue of Athena, and having included his portrait and that of Pericles on the shield of the goddess. Plutarch indicates that he was condemned for these accusations and that he would have died in prison in Athens of sickness or poison. However, a scholium from La Paz by Aristophanes that quotes Philochorus indicates that the process and exile to Élide would have taken place in 438-37 a. C. and that he would have died there in 432 a. C. Some modern historians believe that he could have gone to Elis in 438-37 and then returned to Athens, where he would have been accused and condemned in 432 and would have died in prison, while others believe he should have been condemned in 433 / 2, moment in which it left to the exile towards Élide, where it would have died in dates that would oscillate between 430 and 420 a. & Nbsp; C., After another accusation of its enemies with respect to the statue of Zeus de Olympia. [ 16]

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