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Networks of Stone

Sculpture and Society in Archaic and Classical Athens


Helle Hochscheid

Networks of Stone explores the social and creative processes of sculpture production in Athens in the sixth and fifth centuries BC. Using the concept of art worlds, it analyses the contributions and interactions of all those who were in some way part of creating the sculpture set up in the sanctuaries and cemeteries of Athens. The choices that were made not only by patrons and sculptors but also by traders in various materials and a range of craftsmen all influenced the final appearance of these works of art. By looking beyond the sculptor to the network of craftsmen and patrons that constituted the art world, this study offers new insights into well-known archaeological evidence and some of the highlights of classical art history.
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Chapter II: A city of statues


← 24 | 25 →CHAPTER II

A city of statues

II.1 The sculptural evidence in numbers

Almost two centuries ago, the Akropolis of Athens yielded an extraordinary find of votive sculpture, buried there in the fifth century. To this day, the impact of this discovery on the archaeology of ancient Greece can be felt: by sheer numbers the collection is impressive, and many of the statues are among the most appreciated of Greek sculpture. But despite the seemingly clear circumstances of the deposition of the Akropolis material, it raises many questions. This chapter will investigate this evidence by relating it to dedications from elsewhere in Athens, gravestones from the city, and some non-sculptural material. The purpose of this analysis is threefold. The first is to establish trends in the extant material; the second, to test the reliability of these trends, or in other words, the degree to which they represent actual developments in the sixth and fifth centuries; and the third to uncover preliminary explanations that can be deduced from this evidence in its historical context.

At first glance the record of sculptures offers a straightforward picture (Fig. 2.1). Numbers of votive and grave sculpture from Athens in the sixth and fifth centuries change noticeably in three of the eight quarter-century intervals in which they have been divided here (Table 2.1). In the first of these transitions, at the turn from the third to the final quarter of the sixth century, the number rises...

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