Sculpture head of the Greek Goddess Athena

Late Archaic. Cast of the original in the Acropolis Museum, Athens. Greek, possibly from the workshops of Antenor or Endoios, c. 525-500 BCE.

The Head of Athena was cast from a larger-than life sized sculpture of the goddess from the Gigantomachy pediment of the Old Temple of Athena, which stood on the north side of the Athenian Acropolis.  Largely destroyed by the Persians in 480 BCE, the Old Temple housed the ancient, olive wood statue of Athena Polias. Known through extensive reconstruction efforts, the Gigantomachy pediment is a wonderful example of pre-classical Athenian sculpture.  Dating from the Late Archaic Period, the Head of Athena displays an archaic smile – a smile that appears regardless of context – and stylized, patterned hair.

In the reconstructed pediment, on view at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, the full figure of Athena is shown lounging toward the fallen giant Engelados with a spear in hand. The active depiction stresses her important role in the cosmic battle which represented the triumph of order over chaos.

  • ancient greece
  • archaic
  • athena
  • cast gallery
  • greek
  • Greek mythology