Athena Nike Temple

Hypertufa How To Manual eBook

Hypertufa Garden Art Objects

Get Instant Access

In January 1835, Ross, Schaubert and Hansen started the works. The guards were organized, outsiders were no longer allowed to enter this

Figure 4.15 The temple of Athena Nike in 1910, showing the terracotta casts of the Elgin Marbles provided by the British Museum. (Institut für Denkmalpflege, Berlin)

'sanctuary' without Ross' permission, and eighty men were working on the demolition of the Turkish walls and clearing the rubble from the Parthenon. Demolition was started in front of the Propylaea, but the Turkish masonry was very solid and difficult to break. Later, Ross wrote in his memoirs: 'We took down now, to start with, the Byzantine-Frankish-Turkish walls and fortifications in front of the Propylaea. Out of this appeared especially the remains of the demolished little temple of Nike Apteros, so that we were able to re-erect it on its ancient site during the next few months.'39 Two walls were found with a rubble filling between them altogether 7-8 m thick. The walls were of different dates, the more recent being built of architectural elements, ashlar and architraves. The filling consisted of columns, Ionic capitals, fragments of friezes, all elements from the Temple of

Figure 4.16 The temple of Erechtheum on the Athens Acropolis in 1910. (Institut für Denkmalpflege, Berlin)

Nike. The foundations of the temple were discovered in situ on the southern bastion consisting of three steps, with the entire base of the cella wall, two column bases, and a drum still in place. By July, all fragments were collected in an area in front of the Propylaea, where they remained for some months until reconstruction could start during the spring of 1836 to be completed by May.

The work was done using almost entirely original elements. Three broken columns were repaired with blocks of Pentelic marble following Klenze's guidelines. Any necessary new blocks were not decorated. In the cella walls, some half-broken marble blocks were replaced with new ones in 'Poros-stone'. The temple was completed to the height of the architrave on the north and east sides, while on the south side, part of the cella wall remained unfinished, and in the south-west corner a column was left short of the original height and without a capital.40 Together with his colleagues Ross also undertook the preparation of a publication on the temple of Nike. He himself wrote the text; Schaubert and Hansen were responsible for the drawings.

This was intended to be the first publication of a series on the excavations, which should have been followed by one on paint and colour in classical architecture, which was becoming fashionable at the time.41

During 1843-44, the Archaeological Society of Athens decided to finance a second phase in the reconstruction of the Nike temple in order to complete the south-west corner. The cella wall was built to the full height including the architrave, the coffered ceiling was reconstructed, a new capital with a rough outline was made for the south-west column. The British Museum sent terracotta copies of the bas-reliefs removed by Lord Elgin, and these were placed on the north and west sides of the temple. A floor of limestone and bricks was built inside the temple in order to avoid damage from the penetration of rainwater into the foundations. The entrance of the temple was provided with metal gates.

When Pittakis was in charge on the Acropolis, he continued the excavations already started by Ross in the Erechtheum, and did some restorations at the same time. He fixed the three standing columns of the west front, and he reinforced and repaired two columns in the north porch. The Swiss sculptor E. Imhoff restored the second Caryatid from the east, and the internal caryatid on the east side was later repaired by his Italian assistant J. Andreoli. In 1846-7, Alexis Paccard completed the restoration of the porch; the base and the architraves were repaired, using new marble, and shoring the structure in timber, later changed into iron. A terracotta cast was provided by the British Museum of the missing Caryatid. Pittakis respected the original material and limited his restoration to what he could do with the original blocks. He preferred to use blocks that were not damaged; and only resorted to fragments in exceptional cases. Any new elements were always marked and dated by him. For reinforcement he used externally visible iron rods or hoops, and when internal connections were necessary, this was done with iron cramps. Broken parts were completed with bricks - as in the cella wall of the Parthenon, where he also did some minor works.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment