Akropolis, by von Klenze

Leo von Klenze painted in 1846 this idealized view of the Acropolis in the time of Pericles. I'm glad the title includes the word "idealized", because there are a few things wrong with the accuracy. Even so I suspect it does a terrific job of capturing the feel of what it was like back then, especially the Parthenon and the walk up to the Propylaea. That's the building you see smack in the middle, with the steps leading up to it. The mega-statue rising from behind the Proplyaea can't possibly be real.


I can't believe the Areopagus -- that's the rock platform in the foreground where the crowd is milling about -- was ever as flat as von Klenze has it. If you visit today you'll see that the Areopagus is very up and down in its top surface, and I doubt it's all due to wear. Also, there's no way there was ever an ornate marble building on top as shown at the left. I do think there was a large wooden structure for meetings of the Council of the Areopagus. But this is all carping. The point is, he captured the spirit of the place.

This picture is interesting to me because in the center of it is where I killed my first victim, on line 1 of my first book:

4 comments:

chiliarch said...

Ooohhh....this is nice and does, indeed, capture the spirit of the place. Even without all the buildings the place is still magnificent and awe-inspiring with a fantastic feel of Ancient Greece.

And now we know exactly where Ephialtes died - nice touch.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Love the crime scene photo treatment. Perfect.

Sarah W said...

Sigh . . . I want the giant statue to be real.

Shouldn't there be more colors, too?

dipylon said...

von Klenze's representation is indeed flawed, although very nice. The ramp up to the Propylaea was not walled until after the raid of the Heruli, which was in the 3rd century AD. The giant statue of the Athena Promachos most probably held the spear upright. Mechanics dictate that such a large bronze statue had a reasonably tight and compact posture, otherwise protruding parts would be liable to crack. It was said that the tip of the spear was gilt and its reflection could be seen as far off as Cape Sounion.