Temple Sculpture - Compositional and other Problems

1. Pediments

a) Low triangle formed by pediment - particularly awkward shape to fill - fitting of large numbers of figures into this space.

b) Uniformity of scale?? (not in pediment of Temple of Artemis on Corfu - central Gorgon figure and lions/leopards each side etc - but widely adopted after this.

c) Important central position - prominent figures (divinity?) or group in the centre? - since the chief accent comes here.

d) Awkward space of angles - corners - reclining figures?

e) Position of viewer from below has to be considered?

f) One point in time has to be "captured"?

g) Strong emphasis on people (humans and gods) - no background details - although use of chariot (eg East pediment, Temple of Zeus, Olympia).

h) Depiction of motion? Action? or "Freeze"?

i) Frontal, profile, three-quarter views of figures?

j) Variety of line needed - harmonious effect - eye must be led towards centre and away from centre effectively.

2. Metopes

a) Shape - rectangular/squarish - similar problems to those faced by vase painters decorating panels. Significant and recognisable moment for representation selected.

b) Variety = essential (especially Parthenon - 92 metopes!) - no continuity in story between metopes - separate scenes - range of compositional devices, therefore, required. Harmonious filling of the space.

c) Position of viewer again an important consideration - strong, bold lines of action - 2 or 3 figures only. NB: use of colour - not naturalistic.

3. Friezes

(some of the above points are relevant)

a) Continuity or division of frieze into units?

b) Appropriate subject for continuous frieze?

c) "Medium" of low relief sculpture - conveyance of depth?