Zeus from Artemision
Bronze cast of a statue of the Greek god Zeus (c.470 BC), 2.09 m high. Cast Gallery inv. B 72.
The bronze original in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens (inv. 15161) was retrieved in 1928 from a shipwreck in the sea off Cape Artemision in Greece. Zeus is depicted just as he is about to throw the thunderbolt he is thought to have held in his right hand, in the few seconds of motionless concentration before throwing it. A pregnant pause in motion was a popular theme in the art of the early Classical period. The viewer will automatically imagine the motion completed and thereby add life to the sculpture. The naked trained male body was the ideal of the time and the statue is a typical example of the ancient Greek habit of presenting gods in a human image. The bronze was originally polished and the statue should be imagined as a shining vision. The eyes are additions to the copy and show how the original eyes may have looked. Donated by Sir Arthur Evans in 1930.