Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pathenon – a glimpse of Greece

The Parthenon - Nashville TN
Over the weekend, we visited the Parthenon in downtown Nashville; which is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The monument is located within the Centennial Park, a large public park. The building from outside looks regular size until you actually come close to it; when it does look huge. Especially, the huge rigged pillars are enormous. The monument is surrounded by lush green park lawn. I waited patiently to get a front view of the monument without any visitors. 

Comparison of me to the size of the Pillars
We walked over the green lawn to find an entrance on the other side of the monument. The monument has an entrance fee of $6 – adults and $4 – children/seniors. The benefit of entrance is the chance to see the statue of Athena inside the monument.

I had read reviews about this tourist spot that the statue is worth seeing hence we decided to go inside the monument. On entering, there are two walkways full of pictures from the time it was built. The building was first built for 1897 Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition. It was constructed of brick, wood, lath and plaster and represented city’s reputation as the “Athens of the South”. The building was so popular that the city left the temporary structure standing after the Exposition. In 1920 due to crumbling pediments and decaying plaster, the city authorized the reconstruction with permanent material like concrete which finished by 1931.
The row of Pillars
Close up of Athena
The ground floor has paintings from 19th- and 20th-century American artists. One of the most striking pictures I saw was Edwin Howland Blashfield’s, The new Dress (1874). It has got this 3D look that for a moment I thought the pink paint is actually a silk cloth pasted on the canvas! Among recent artists, there are very intricate paintings by Paul Lancaster.
On the first floor is the ultimate attraction – The statue of Athena – Goddess of wisdom, prudent warfare and the useful arts. The original Athena Parthenos (lost in ancient Roman wars) was created by sculptor Pheidias in 5th Century B.C. made of ivory and gold plates. 


This modern statue was sculpted by Nashvillian Alan LeQuire. It is a magnificent piece of art standing 42’ 10” tall. The details are exact to that I read in the Wikipedia; left hand resting on the shield, left knee slightly bent, her weight shifted slightly on the right leg, the snake head by the shield, the Nike-Goddess of victory perched on the right hand. This statue is surrounded on its sides by original sculptural fragments from the Acropolis that where purchased from the British museum to be placed here. These are called Elgin casts. Also found is a statue of Gryphon - is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle's talons as its front feet.

Elgin casts
The Gryphon
Pillars inside have an architectural beauty - scroll finish
The New Dress painting
Painting by Paul Lancaster
Funny thing, I play short quizzes on this website; and just a day ago I had played a quiz on Greek mythology where I learnt so many names of their gods and goddesses. The park is huge and I will surely visit few more times to write what's more to this park.

Note: Painting images taken over internet, as photography of them is not allowed.

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