Prayers in Stone: Greek Architectural Sculpture (c. 600-100 B.C.E.) (Sather Classical Lectures)

Ridgway, Brunilde S.

ISBN 10: 0520215567 / ISBN 13: 9780520215566
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Synopsis: The meaning of architectural sculpture is essential to our understanding of ancient Greek culture. The embellishment of buildings was common for the ancient Greeks, and often provocative. Some ornamental sculpture was placed where, when the building was finished, no mortal eye could view it. And unlike much architectural ornamentation of other cultures, Greek sculpture was often integral to the building, not just as decoration, and could not be removed without affecting the integrity of the building structure. This book is the first comprehensive treatment of the significance of Greek architectural sculpture. Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway, a world-class authority on ancient Greek sculpture, provides a highly informative tour of many dimensions of Greek public buildings—especially temples, tombs, and treasuries—in a text that is at once lucid, accessible, and authoritative.

Ridgway's pragmatism and common sense steer us tactfully and clearly through thickets of uncertainty and scholarly disagreement. She refers to a huge number of monuments, and documents her discussions with copious and up-to-date bibliographies. This book is sure to be acknowledged at once as the standard treatment of its important topic.

From the Inside Flap: HERE IS AN IMMENSELY SKILLFUL AND authoritative survey of a large and important set of issues never fully studied before as a single topic: Classical Greek architectural sculpture in all its different manifestations and variations. Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway, author of an admired series of studies of Greek sculpture in the round, opens up this closely related area to a wide range of questions and provides sober but penetrating analyses of the difficulties in coming up with easy or simple answers.

The first two chapters discuss basic issues of definition and aim: What qualifies as "architectural sculpture", as opposed to other kinds of sculpture, or architectural features such as moldings and column flutes? The third and fourth chapters deal with visibility and color: What could be seen, and how clearly, on a frieze or a pediment? How was paint used to highlight the sculpture? The last two chapters ask questions about message, meaning, and "authorship": Who designed the sculptural programs, and who was responsible for whatever message they may have conveyed: Architects? Sculptors? Priests? Politicians? How stable or knowable were the messages?

Ridgway suggests an interesting multiplicity of probable functions for these sculptural programs, including the aesthetic, the sacral, and the ideological, and attends to the many factors that operated in bringing these sculptures into existence and contributing to their interpretation. Ridgway's respect for the artistic and religious integrity of the authorities whose job it was to decide what motifs and materials to use on a particular sacred building is justifiable and reasonable, and her eminently practical mentality never loses sight ofwhat it was actually like to carve shapes out of stone in this or that location, and to view the result.

Ridgway's pragmatism and common sense steer us tactfully and clearly through thickets of uncertainty and scholarly disagreement; she is consistently both readable and to the point. This book is sure to be acknowledged at once as the standard treatment of its important topic.

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Title: Prayers in Stone: Greek Architectural ...
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