He was the son of Pheidias, an astronomer, and was on intimate terms with, if not related to, Hiero, king of Syracuse, and Gelo his son.
The sculptor Pheidias was prosecuted on two vexatious charges (probably in 433), and before he could disprove the second he died under arrest.
PHEIDIAS, son of Charmides, universally regarded as the greatest of Greek sculptors, was born at Athens about 500 B.C. We have varying accounts of his training.
"In all these works," says Plutarch, "Pheidias was the adviser and overseer of Pericles."
Pheidias introduced his own portrait and that of Pericles on the shield of his Parthenos statue.
And it was through Pheidias that the political enemies of Pericles struck at him.
It thus abundantly appears that Pheidias was closely connected with Pericles, and a ruling spirit in the Athenian art of the period.
It is important to observe that in resting the fame of Pheidias upon the sculptures of the Parthenon we proceed with little evidence.
It is therefore probable that most if not all of the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon was the work of pupils of Pheidias, such as Alcamenes and Agoracritus, rather than his own.
The earliest of the great works of Pheidias were dedications in memory of Marathon, from the spoils of the victory.
But among the Greeks themselves the two works of Pheidias which far outshone all others, and were the basis of his fame, were the colossal figures in gold and ivory of Zeus at Olympia and of Athena Parthenos at Athens, both of which belong to about the middle of the 5th century.
Furtwangler proposes to find in a statue of which the head is at Bologna, and the body at Dresden, a copy of the Lemnian Athena of Pheidias; but his arguments (Masterpieces, at the beginning) are anything but conclusive.
From the inner exit of the Propylaea a passage led towards the east along the north side of the Parthenon; almost directly facing the entrance was the colossal bronze statue of Athena (afterwards called Athena Promachos) by Pheidias, probably set up by Cimon in commemoration of the Persian defeat.
Between this precinct and the Propylaea were a number of statues, among them the celebrated heifer of Myron, and perhaps his Erechtheus; the Lemnian Athena of Pheidias, and his effigy of his friend Pericles.
Of the various temples in which statues by Pheidias, Alcamenes and other great sculptors are known to have been placed, no traces have yet been discovered; excavation has not been possible in a large portion of the lower city, which has always been inhabited.
Already it had been robbed of many of its works of art, among them the Athena Promachos and the Parthenos of Pheidias, for the adornment of Constantinople, and further spoliation took place when the church of St Sophia was built in A.D.
When accompanying heroes, on the early painted vases; and thirdly, the type of her as produced by Pheidias, from which little variation appears to have been made.
From the time of Pheidias calm earnestness, self-conscious might, and clearness of intellect were the main characteristics of the goddess.
29); this was the fashion in which the Athena Parthenos of Pheidias was draped.
Equally contradictory of any such law of development is the circumstance that the Greeks of the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., although Pheidias and other artists were embodying their gods and goddesses in the most perfect of images, nevertheless continued to cherish the rude aniconic stocks and stones of their ancestors.
4 Athens was at this time the centre of intellectual life, and could boast an almost unique galaxy of talent - Pericles, Thucydides the son of Melesias, Aspasia, Antiphon, the musician Damon, Pheidias, Protagoras, Zeno, Cratinus, Crates, Euripides and Sophocles.
Alcamenes, the rival or pupil of Pheidias, was the sculptor of a berm at Athens, a copy of which, dating from Roman times, was discovered at Pergamum in 1903.
The chryselephantine statue of the Olympian Zeus, by Pheidias, was carried to Constantinople, and perished in a great fire, A.D.
(a) The church itself occupies the site of an older brick building, which is perhaps a remnant of the " workshop of Pheidias " seen by Pausanias.
This may have been occupied by the 4cuSpimrae, those alleged " descendants of Pheidias " (Pausanias v.
The colossal statues of ivory and gold by Pheidias were the most notable examples of this use of gold, especially his statue of Athena in the Parthenon, and the one of Zeus at Olympia.
The comparatively small weight of gold used by Pheidias is very remarkable when the great size of the statues is considered.
Marble was comparatively but little used by the earlier Greek sculptors, and even Myron, a rather older man than Pheidias, FIG.
Their school of bronze sculpture, whose first famous exponent was Ageladas (Hagelaidas), the reputed master of Pheidias, reached its climax towards the end of the 5th century in the atelier of Polyclitus and his pupils.
The contemporary and rival of Pheidias, which was one of the most perfect works of sculpture in antiquity.
It is probable that the face, neck, arms and feet were of ivory, while the rest of the figure was draped in gold, Like the Olympian Zeus of Pheidias, Hera was seated on an elaborately decorated throne, holding in her left hand the sceptre, surmounted in her case by the cuckoo (as that of Zeus had an eagle), and in her right, instead of an elaborate figure of Victory (such as the Athena Parthenos and the Olympian Zeus held), simply a pomegranate.
These statues bear the same relation to the sculptor Polyclitus which the Parthenon marbles hold to Pheidias; and the excavations have thus yielded most important material for the illustration of the Argive art of Polyclitus in the 5th century B.C.
These latter so accumulated that the temple became a rich museum, among the chief treasures of which were the figures of Amazons sculptured in competition by Pheidias, Polyclitus, Cresilas and Phradmon, and the painting by Apelles of Alexander holding a thunderbolt.
Here the product of the age of Pericles remains unsurpassed still; the works of Herodotus and Thucydides standing along with those of Pheidias as models for all time.
Many of the sculptors of antiquity, including Pheidias, Polyclitus, Cresilas and Phradmon, executed statues of Amazons; and there are many existing reproductions of these.
Wherever the noblest expressions of her mind are honoured, wherever the large conceptions of Pericles command the admiration of statesmen, wherever the architect and the sculptor love to dwell on the masterpieces of Ictinus and Pheidias, wherever the spell of ideal beauty or of lofty contemplation is exercised by the creations of Sophocles or of Plato, there it will be remembered that the spirit which wrought in all these would have passed sooner from among men, if it had not been recalled from a trance, which others were content to mistake for the last sleep, by the passionate breath of Demosthenes.