These sculptures from the Temple of Zeus are an architectural relic that once crowned the east-facing side of the Temple of Zeus, a significant structure of classical Greek architecture built between 472 and 456 BC, in Olympia, Greece. This extant piece, composed of Parian marble, displays the superior workmanship emblematic of the height of Greek sculpting mastery.

The East Pediment is an intricate sculpted relief that showcases several figures enacting the myth of the chariot race between Pelops and Oinomaos, a tale purported to constitute the genesis of the Olympic Games. At the pinnacle of this triangular structure stands the figure of Zeus, the central arbitrator of the race.

The extended scene is complemented by other prominent figure depictions including Pelops and Oinomaos, prepped for their race on mounted chariots, accompanied by other significant characters, such as Hippodameia - the prize awaiting the race’s victor. The pediment's sloping edges originally hosted further figures for a holistic composition, however, only remnants remain to suggest this narrative endpoint.

This relic underscores its ceremonial role in the religious practices of ancient Greece through its monumental dimensions and elaborate detail execution. The depicted figures’ realistic aesthetic, sophisticated posing, and the adept display of draperies and anatomy denote the advanced artistry that characterized and promoted the classical Greek sculptural tradition.

The East Pediment of the Temple of Zeus, albeit currently fragmented, offers insight into the stature and grandiosity of the originally unbroken temple. The pieces serve as enduring tokens which facilitate an understanding of the Temple's magnificence.

Archaeological Museum of Olympia