Figure P (Kladeos or Alpheios river), East pediment, Temple of Zeus, Olympia
- Figure P (Kladeos or Alpheios river), East pediment, Temple of Zeus, Olympia
- Cornell Cast Collection
- ca. 1890-1900
ca. 475-456 BCE
- ID Number:
- Accession Number:
- Sage nos. 133-138
1817 in blue on all
- File Name:
- Classical Greek
- Work Type:
- casts (sculpture)
- plaster cast (sculpture)
- River god (Kladeos)
- Image View Type:
- Image View Description:
- from side
- leg: 28 x 94 x 38 (centimeters, height x width x diameter)
drapery fragment: 26 x 13 (centimeters, width x diameter)
- This is a restored, miniature, cast reproduction of figure P from the East pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, identified as either the Kladeos or the Alpheios river, perhaps more likely the Kladeos based on the geography of the site. Figure P reclined in the north angle of the pediment facing the viewer's left, propping himself on his elbows, and twisting his torso into three-quarter view. His hair is short and vaguely curly. He is nude except for a garment that drapes over his lower legs. The original is missing most of its right arm and the lower portion of its left. In the original the god's ribs are pronouncedly articulated. Here, they have been largely smoothed over. The subject of the East pediment of the Temple of Zeus is the chariot contest between Pelops and King Oinomaos of Pisa for the hand in marriage of the king's daughter, Hippodameia. Zeus stands at the center between Pelops and Oinomaos and acts as judge of the contest. It is unclear which of the two primary variants of the tale is represented here. If following the more sordid of the versions, the treachery involved in Pelops' victory in the contest was commonly believed to have brought about the curse of his family line, known as the curse of the house of Atreus, but the origin of the curse was also attributed to Pelops' father Tantalos' misdeeds. Another section of drapery broken away? Cornell's cast collection originally included full-sized figures from both the west and the east pediments of the temple, as recorded in the Sage Catalogue (ca. 1896). The figures from the west pediment gave their name to Cornell's Temple of Zeus Cafe, where they were on display when the cafe was sited in the space that is now Kaufmann Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall. 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.
- Items in the Cornell Cast Collection are meant for inventory and reference purposes. Metadata may not be complete in all cases.
- Ashmole, Bernard, Olympia: The Sculptures of the Temple of Zeus. Phaidon Press, London, 1967.Barringer, J., 'The temple of Zeus at Olympia: heroes and athletes', Hesperia 74 (2005): 211–41.
- Olympia, Archaeological Museum (original)
- 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.