Figure U (Old Lapith woman), West pediment, Temple of Zeus, Olympia
- Figure U (Old Lapith woman), West pediment, Temple of Zeus, Olympia
- Cornell Cast Collection
- Unknown (Pausanias attributes the West pediment to Alkamenes, possibly erroneously)
- ca. 1890-1900
ca. 475-456 BCE
1st c. BCE
- probably Berlin, Germany (reproduction)|Olympia, Greece (original)
- Sage nos. 139-154|sticker with label, "Old Lapith women-Fig. U Western Pediment of Olympia"|436
- Original Culture:
- Original Style:
- Classical or Roman Republican or Imperial
- Work Type:
- casts (sculpture)
- plaster cast (sculpture)|marble sculpture in the round (original)
- Apollo (Greek deity)
Centauromachy (Greek mythology)
Ancient Olympia (Greece)
- Image View Description:
- from front
- Image View Type:
- 23 (H) x 33 (W) cm
- This is part of the head from a full-sized cast of figure U from the West pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, identified as an old Lapith woman. Figure U is one of four Lapith female angle figures who lie on their fronts watching their compatriots battle Centaurs. The original is badly damaged. The figure is the second from the south angle (viewer's right side) and is positioned on a wedge. She is fully draped and props her body up on her elbows. This record represents only the cast of the figure's battered head, missing subsequently uncovered fragments from the top of the head. She has short, curly hair and looks ahead with a worried expression. The whereabouts of the remaining elements of Cornell's cast of figure U are presently unknown. In the original, figure U is carved from Pentelic marble rather than the Parian of the fifth century pedimental sculptures. She and figure B were added, perhaps in the first century BCE, to replace earlier, damaged versions of the same figures, or they were created from scratch to fill in what might have been conceived by Hellenistic or later viewers as a sparsely populated pedimental composition. The subject of the West pediment of the Temple of Zeus is a scene of battle between Lapiths and Centaurs at the wedding of Perithoos--king of the Lapiths and friend of Theseus--and Deidameia. Apollo watches over the chaotic scene, directing the action. After an earthquake in the sixth c. CE toppled the temple, its broken elements were gradually covered and protected under several meters of alluvial deposits from the Alpheios and Kladeos rivers. Many figures and fragments from the Olympia pediments were uncovered by German excavators in the final quarter of the 19th c. Excavations at the site are ongoing. Pausanias' description of the temple pediments (5.10.2-10) sheds great light on the subjects of the pediments and both clarifies and confuses the placement of the figures in relation to each other. Various arrangements of figures have been proposed and scholarly debate on the topic continues.
- Good condition
minor surface chipping
- ID nos. 793-798 are a set of figures from the west pediment. Also included in the set are nos. 449, 436, and 474.
- Bernard Ashmole and Nicholas Yalouris, Olympia: The Sculptures of the Temple of Zeus (London: Phaidon, 1967).
Hans-Volkmar Herrmann, ed., Die Olympia-Skulpturen. Wege der Forschung, Band 577 (Darmstadt, 1987).
Andrew Stewart, Greek Sculpture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), 142-146, 253-254, figs. 262-276.
John Boardman, Greek Sculpture: The Classical Period (London: Thames and Hudson, 1985), 33-50, figs. 18-23.6.
Gipsformerei, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Katalog der Originalabgüsse, Heft 4, Griechenland und Rom: Freiplastik, pls. 76-79.
Georg Treu, Die Bildwerke von Olympia in Stein und Thon. Die Ergebnisse der von dem Deutschen Reich veranstalteten Ausgrabung, Band III (Berlin: Asher & Co., 1894-1897).
Judith Barringer, "The Temple of Zeus at Olympia: Heroes and Athletes," Hesperia 74 (2005), 211-241.
- Cornell University (current)
Olympia, Archaeological Museum (original)
- Repository Location:
- Collecting Program:
- Cornell Collections of Antiquities
- The images in the Cornell Collection of Antiquities: Casts are protected by copyright, and the copyright holders are their creators, generally Cornell University Library, Annetta Alexandridis, and Verity Platt. This collection of plaster casts owned by Cornell University was photographed by Cornell University Library, Alexandridis, Platt, and Andreya L. Mihaloew from 2010-2015, with funding from a Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences Grant to Annetta Alexandridis. Cornell is providing access to the materials for research and personal use. The written permission of any copyright and other rights holders is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use that extends beyond what is authorized by fair use and other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. Please contact Annetta Alexandridis and Verity Platt for more information about this collection, or to request permission to use these images.
- Items in the Cornell Cast Collection are meant for inventory and reference purposes. Metadata may not be complete in all cases.