Height 0.54 m. Inv. No. 695.Athens, New Acropolis Museum
Height 0.54 m.
Athens, New Acropolis Museum
(Αθήνα, Νέο Μουσείο Ακρόπολης).
Relief with Athena: The Contemplative Athenamarble, 470-460 B. C.
height 0.54 m
Acropolis Museum, Athens, 695
Here Athena, head bent forward, stands before a stele, gazing intently at it as she leans on her spear. She wears a crested helmet pushed up on her head and a long woolen peplos similar to the garment worn by Euenor’s Athena (cat. 7). Its long folds follow her stance rather than falling vertically as gravity demands. The raised heel of the left foot causes the skirt to form a lovely pattern of folds over the heel, a subtle clue to the fact that she stands with her weight on one leg like the Kritios Boy and Euenor’s Athena.
The subject of the relief has been interpreted in several ways. Athena contemplating a stele might be the dedication of a victorious athlete or perhaps the dedication of the stone masons who completed the fortification of the Acropolis under Kimon in the late 460s. The stele could also have served as a boundary marker for Athena’s sanctuary on the Acropolis, where the relief was found. In a more abstract interpretation, the stele might represent the power of the written word or the power of the decree of Athens, the state the goddess protects.