From the renowned Parthenon, an important example of ancient Greek architecture, the West Metopes represent a significant collection of sculptural reliefs. Made of Pentelic marble, they once embellished the exterior of the Parthenon's high entablature. These pieces originated from around 447-438 BC, during the golden age of Periclean Athens.

The West Metopes constitute twelve individually carved panels. Each piece measures approximately 1.2 meters in height and 1.25 meters in width, reflecting the scale admired by the ancient Greeks in their artistic productions. The West Metopes depict the mythological battle between the Athenians and the Amazons, a narrative known as the Amazonomachy in classical mythology.

The figures are depicted in a state of action, demonstrating a sequence of combat scenes. The Athenians, both mortals and deities, are accurately depicted concerning musculature and drapery, an indication of the realistic detail characteristic of the high classical period. This level of dynamism adds life to the stone, offering a historical tale of the conflict between civilization and barbarism.

Despite degradation and discoloration due to aging, these sculptural panels demonstrate superior workmanship. The intensity of the legendary battle, alongside the representation of classical Greek aesthetics such as balance, proportion, and harmony remain evident. The artists managed to create an impression of spatial depth and volumetric form through in-depth carving and modulation of the marble surface.

Regrettably, time and human interference have caused substantial damage. The West Metopes show signs of the Parthenon's historical turbulence with some missing figures and partially defaced characters. This damage could be attributed to events ranging from the Persian invasions to Venetian bombardments.

The impressive preservation of the West Metopes underscores the technical and artistic prowess of the ancient Greeks. Despite damage, these high-relief sculptures continue to convey the Athenian value system, serving as invaluable historical texts for researchers and enthusiasts.

Acropolis Museum
Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece