The architectural sculptures of the temple of Zeus at Olympiadate to the ten years preceding the middle of the 5th century B.C. They look as though they don't know which way to turn: the transition from frontal Archaic immobility to inward Classical intensity is not yet complete.

They have however made great strides in expressive power and sensibility. This makes them the carriers of a rich narrative potential. One or two technical weaknesses - in the west pediment fight with the Centaurs and in the rendering of the clothing on the pediemnts and metope-panels particularly - have generally been seen as evidence that sculpture still had to rely on clay models.

Our knowledge about achievements in sculpture broadens if we look at the many lavishly-decorated temples built in Attica in the course of the 5th century - most of them in the shadow of the Parthenon.

The temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis was founded in 420 B.C. or so. On its central finial it showed Bellerophon fighting the Chimera: on its side finials there were Victories. Its frieze - which survives in fragmentary condition - showed a battle between Greeks and Persians. A little later on, marble parapets, with Victories leading oxen to the sacrifice, were set up all the way round the temple. These carvings in relief can be linked with sculptors representative of the 'Rich style' - Paeonius, for instance, or Callimachus. The Erechtheum, focus for the ancient cults of the holy rock, had a portico supported not by columns but by female figures - the Caryatids. These were very probably the work of Alcamenes, in or about 416 B.C. The frieze's figures, wrought in relief of white marble, stood out from their background of grey Eleusis marble.

What is left of the sculptures on the temples in the Agora is mainly fragments of pedimental sculptures and the finials of the so-called 'Theseum'. The metope-panels with the Labours of Heracles and Theseus are very badly damaged, as are the two friezes over entrance to the pronaos and opisthodomos, depicting scenes from Athenian myth. There are two other finials, one in the shape of a nereid, one in the shape of a Victory, that probably came from the temple of Ares in the Agora and the Stoa Basileios respectively. From the temple of Nemesis at Rhamnus we have a finial - attributed to Agoracritus - showing the rape of Oreithyia by Boreas, the North Wind. Lastly there are the only sculptures that survive from the temple of Poseidon at Sunium: a female figure from a pediment composition and a handful of fragments of the 'Battle with the Centaurs' frieze.

The frieze on the choregic monument of Lysicrates belongs to the transition from Classical to Hellenistic art at Athens. If we look outside Attica, the most important works in the Athenian tradition are at Delos (a finial from the temple of Apollo) and at Bassae (the interior frieze of the temple of Apollo). Dating to about 410 B.C., the frieze shows two battles, one against Amazons and one against Centaurs. After the Peloponnesian war, not only there was a significant reduction in the volume of building work at Athens, but throughout Hellas no more great temples like those of the 5th century were put up. Sculptors now went where the work was. Epidaurus, Tegea and Delphi all generated important sculpture in the 4th century. But the best sculptures were those on monuments on the fringes of the Hellenic world - the Nereid monument at Xanthus in Lycia, for example, or the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in Caria.

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