These marble sculptures hail from the northeastern part of the Parthenon, an ancient Greek structure dating back to the 5th century BC. The term 'metopes' refers to the rectangular blocks of marble that are situated between the triglyphs in a Doric frieze, often housing carved reliefs.

This specific set of metopes is recognized for its raised relief and in-depth narrative content. These blocks, made from pentelic marble, portray numerous scenes involving the rather famed myth of Lapiths in conflict with Centaurs, a theme also known as the Centauromachy, which is prevalent in Greek architectural ornamentation and represents the rationale of civilization triumphing over primitive behavior.

The intricate combination of equine and human figures facilitates the complex construct of these pieces. These reliefs display detailed narratives – horses rearing, bodies falling and heroes in battle – demonstrating the dynamic attributes of ancient Greek art. The blocks are approximately 1.2 meters each in height, with the width varying.

Despite the passage of time and consistent erosion, these metopes maintain elements of their original craftsmanship, testament to the talents of ancient Greek sculptors. Remaining figures, though in various stages of disintegration, continue to express significant emotional vigor, physical exertion, and motion.

These artifacts were originally components of a broader decorative theme within the Parthenon, contributing to an expansive narrative of mythology, history, and symbolism that graced the whole temple. Initially, they would have been painted, further enhancing their visual appeal, a common feature in ancient Greek sculptures.

Acropolis Museum
Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece