The optical tricks of the Parthenon
The designers of ancient Greek temples were ultimately striving to achieve true perfection, a quality of perfection worthy of the gods
- January 25, 2018 18:30
- Monika Dimitrova
The quality of the craftsmanship and the stunning white Pantelic marble of this 2,500 year old temple dedicated to Athena Parthenos, the virgin goddess and patron deity of ancient Athens – are all features of a unique, world-class monument that strike all vistors immediately. As viewers, we accept the temple’s outward beauty and seeming perfection, but we don’t see the incorporated numerous hidden devices within its marble construction and carved decorations.
In fact, there are virtually no straight lines or right angels in the Parthenon. The columns themselves are not straight along their vertical axes, but swell in their middles. This phenomenon, called “entasis” intended to counteract another optical effect in which columns with straight sides appear to the eye to be slenderer in their middles.
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