Parthenon Frieze

Pages: 3 (590 words) / Published: Oct 30th, 2017
Jenifer Neils's article “Reconfiguring the Gods on the Parthenon Frieze” analyzes the interpretations of the Parthenon frieze in terms of its iconography, meaning, the use of space, time, and future influence. Neils’s analyzes very important components of the frieze, but those that stood most out to me is the use of space and the influence of the monument.

Neils’s highlights of the main components of the meaning behind the frieze, arguing that some of the gods were chosen on the basis of proximity of cults, to reference land and sea, and to emphasize military ideals. Also pointing out in her Time section of the four phases of Athenian history that all have associations to victory seen on all sides of the frieze is an interesting concept
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The frieze depicts 12 Olympian gods who are identified based on carved attributes with two attendants. I am most interested in Neils’s analysis of the spacial placement issues of the Gods. Describing it as “…particularly important, but problematic”, the problematic portion is the fact that the all the gods depict, except Dionysos have their backs to the high point of honoring Athena, the ceremony of Peplos. However, there are various interpretations that I believe validate the placement. For instance, the suggestion that the designer ran into a spatial issue and therefore decided to position them in a way that allows them to witness both the peplos ceremony and the procession. If an audience looks at the frieze directly, they will see the figures in a somewhat helter-skelter, disconnecting, random placement. However, if viewed with the knowledge that the figures are placed in what is suppose to be a semi-circle, the image becomes less random and more methodical and complex. While the use of the semicircle theory makes sense in the instance that it give the idea that gods are able view all the festivities, it can be difficult for an audience to understand that. Neils’s addresses difficulty of viewing the frieze, she lays out the steps a viewer would have to go through in order to view certain groupings of the frieze. Since the ensemble

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