The Parthenon has long been regarded as one of the great architectural and artistic products of the High Classical Period...
The Parthenon has long been regarded as one of the great architectural and artistic products of the High Classical Period. Yet, scholars have struggled to reach a consensus interpretation for the meaning of the Parthenon frieze. The study of this particular sculptural element of the Parthenon, a continuous band of sculpture that ran round the top of the building’s temple-chamber, has proven quite difficult.
Today only 423 feet of the original 524 survive, and of those, 247 feet are housed in the British Museum in London. Another large section is now in the Acropolis Museum in Athens, and still other pieces reside in exhibits throughout Europe, making it a difficult task to discuss, let alone experience the unified whole the designers wished the audience to witness—a key element in deciphering any work of art.
Denied the opportunity to study the frieze as it existed in antiquity, scholars are faced with the burden of reconstructing the visual experience of the monument before they can even begin interpreting it. To do so, an inventory is taken of characters and figure-types represented on the frieze and their arrangement. Then this inventory is compared to historical precedents and placed in its contemporary context in the hopes of using prior examples to decipher its meaning. Considering the various fragments of the Parthenon frieze as a whole and comparing it to other Greek artworks, two aspects of the arrangement immediately strike the informed viewer.
First, it is clear that the frieze is meant to be thought of as a continuous whole. This is particularly interesting because it is completely unprecedented in Greek art.Continuous friezes on 20 the faces of Greek temples generally depicted single subjects, but if continued over all four sides of a building, the four stretches of the frieze would generally be thematically separate.
The second unique aspect of the Parthenon frieze has to do with the fundamental nature of Greek art: namely that all works of art prior to the Parthenon frieze depicted only scenes from myth and legend. Yet, in this relief, for the first time in the history of Greek art, we find mortals, leading some scholars to the conclusion that what is depicted is a specific event that actually took place at a particular time and place.
1. In the context in which it appears, the word “informed” (Highlighted) most nearly means
2. Which of the following would be the best title for the above passage?
(A) The Parthenon Frieze: An Insoluble Sculptural Mystery
(B) The Parthenon Frieze and Methods of Artistic Interpretation
(C) The Parthenon Frieze: Idiosyncratic Stonework
(D) Mortals in Greek Art
(E) The Parthenon Frieze: Continuity of Character
3. According to the passage, each of the following is true about the Parthenon EXCEPT:
(A) It was constructed in the High Classical Period.
(B) It has been seen as a great work of art.
(C) It was featured on a temple-chamber.
(D) It is not known how it looked at the time of its construction.
(E) It contained a one-of-a-kind sculptural element.