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Parthenon Analysis

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The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis of Athens, was built between 447 and 432 BCE, and it was dedicated to the city’s patron deity Athena (Cartwright, 2012). Following the defeat of a Persian invasion, mainland Greece and Athens in particular entered into a golden age of art and architecture (The Parthenon). During this period, also known as the Classical Greece, the Greeks pursued the notion of arête, meaning to excel and attain perfection. The people also lived in democracy; acting not for god or king but the benefit of society, change and power involved every individual and not just the elites. These two ideas were represented in the building of the Parthenon. Many areas of the Parthenon were built to establish the sense of aesthetic symmetry,…show more content…
The relation of the ratio between the diameters of the column to the space between them, the height of the temple to its width, makes the Parthenon look harmonious and symmetrical (Cartwright). Secondly, to support the notion of the voice of people, the proportions of the temple was built so as to not look massive and make a people feel small and insignificant. Thirdly, to look perfect from any view the Parthenon was built with no right angles, with the columns leaning slightly inwards. This creates the illusion of true straight lines which combats the problem that the temple of that scale when perfectly straight seems from a distance to be curved (Cartwright). Additionally, the floor of the temple is not exactly flat but swollen slightly in the center and the columns have entasis, which is a slight fattening in the middle, also the four corner columns are imperceptibly fatter than the other columns (Cartwright). According to Sakoulas, “The fact that there are no absolute straight lines on the Parthenon bestows a subtle organic character to an obvious geometric structure”. Excellence in design is also shown in the metopes and the frieze of the Parthenon. The metopes were carved using various depths of relief, standing away from the…show more content…
Common people being depicted as individuals at the Parthenon frieze was owed to the fact that for the first time in history every citizen of a city was recognized as a significant entity (Sakoulas). The Parthenon does not create an effect of enormous size, focusing more on human proportions, this supported the idea of democracy; that buildings should not make a person feel small. The idealistic way of living, the attention to detail, as well as the understanding of a mathematically explained harmony in the natural world can be seen in the perfect proportions of the Parthenon, in its intricate architectural elements, and in the anthropomorphic statues that adorned it (Sakoulas). In conclusion, the Parthenon epitomizes the democracy and pursuit of perfection. Every detail put into designing the temple was made to show the cultural and political achievements of the Greeks. The influences of the Parthenon still continues to modern times to represent arête and a democratic government, appearing in US Treasury Building in Washington, the British Museum and, the US Supreme Court Building (Getlen, L. 2014). The adoption of the style was not just an aesthetic choice, but a philosophical one, implicitly aligning themselves with the flowering of democratic Athens (Getlen, L.
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