This superb sculptor was born in Athens and was believed to be an apprentice of Egias in Athens and Ageladas from Argus. What Pericles represents for Athenian democracy, Phidias represents for classical art. With his great spirit, he marks not only his time with his work of art, but also that of his future generations. His work is the carrier of the highest political, spiritual and religious ideas reflecting the society’ s finest equilibrium, where the citizen is free and responsible, while divinity is in an inconceivable, unsurpassed dimension.
Among his most famous works are the statues of Athena Parthenos made for the Parthenon temple in 438 BC and the statue of Zeus Olympus which was placed in the temple of Zeus in Olympia around 430 BC. The latter was the most famous statue in antiquity and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. They were both made of gold and ivory. Because of their imposing height (they were about 12 m tall) and their large dimensions, they brought awe to the worshipers. Unfortunately, none of these have survived. It is believed that the statue of Athena Parthenos was transferred to Constantinople. Archeologists recently discovered the workshop of Phidias where he made the statue of Zeus. The casts of his garments came to light, also very delicate jewelry made of glass, and remains of coloring substances. According to ancient sources, “whoever got a glimpse of the statue of Zeus would never become totally unhappy.” We approach the magnitude of his personality through his marvelous sculptural compositions in the Parthenon.