Acropolis Museum, Athens
The Acropolis Museum, containing one of the most valuable collections of Greek art in existence, was built in 1949-53 at the southeast corner of the Acropolis, lying so low that it does not obtrude.The rooms to the left contain material of the Archaic period (sixth century B.C.) which formed part of the "Persian rubble" and was recovered during excavations by Panayiotis Kavvadias in 1885-86: pediments from temples and treasuries, votive statues and (in the rooms to the right) marble figures from the pediment of the Old Temple of Athena (Rooms I-V). In the other rooms to the right (VI-XI) is sculpture of the Classical period (fifth century).
Acropolis Museum Map
Opening hours: Jan 1 to Mar 31: 8:30am-3pm; Mon: 10am-3pm
Apr 1 to Dec 31: 8am-7:30pm; Mon: 11am-7:30pm
Apr 1 to Dec 31: 8am-7:30pm; Mon: 11am-7:30pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Greek National Day (Mar 25), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee: Adult Admission Cost, Concession or reduced rate Discount, Child 18 & under Free
Useful tips: Free admission Sundays in the period between 1 November and 31 March.
Guides: Interpretive sessions sometimes available.
Transit: Bus: 230 and electric Rail: from Theseion.
Acropolis Museum Highlights
Room I (Seventh to fifth century B.C.)
Room I in the Acropolis Museum is dedicated to the early sixth century B.C. To the left is a pediment group in painted poros limestone depicting Herakles fighting the Lernaean hydra (No. 1: ca. 600 B.C.). Opposite the entrance is a lioness rending a young bull, from a large poros pediment (No. 4: ca. 490 B.C.); to the right is a Gorgon (No. 701: beginning of sixth century B.C.).
Room II (Marble sculpture)
Room II of the Acropolis Museum is an introduction of Herakles to Olympus (on left, No. 9/55: ca. 580 B.C.).It includes the right-hand half of the "Red Pediment", depicting Herakles and Triton (No. 2: ca. 560 B.C.) and the "Olive-tree Pediment", probably portraying the myth of Troilos, with a representation of a temple and a girl carrying water (No. 52: ca. 570 B.C.). Two sections of a poros pediment, probably from the old Temple of Athena: to the left Harakles and Triton, to the right a three-bodied monster, now believed to be Nereus (No. 35: 580-570 B.C.).The central section of the pediment was probably the group of two lions rending a bull displayed in Room II (No 3). Here, too, are the famous Moschoporos ("Calf-Bearer") of Hymettian marble, a votive offering by Rhombos (No. 624: ca. 570 B.C.), and the earliest of the korai, the figures of girls which were set up in large numbers on the Acropolis as votive offerings to Athena; in one hand this Attic work holds a pomegranate, in the other a garland (No. 593: beginning of sixth century B.C.).
Room III (Pediment group)
Room III of the Acropolis Museum contains the central section of a pediment group (cf. Room II) and the torsos of two other korai, probably from Naxos or Samos (Nos. 619 and 677: 580-550 B.C.).
Room IV (Human sculpture)
Room IV of the Acropolis Museum contains a large number of master works. First come four or perhaps five works attributed to the same sculptor, Phaidimos. The earliest is the so-called Rampin Horseman, the head of which is a cast (original in the Louvre). Together with a second horseman preserved in fragments this formed the earliest known equestrian group in Greece. It is believed to represent either Hippias and Hipparchos, the sons of Peisistratos, or the Dioscuri (No. 590: ca. 550 B.C.).A famous mature work by the same sculptor is the "Peplos Kore" (No. 679: ca. 530 B.C.) named after the Doric garment which she wears. A lion-head spout from the Old Temple of Athena (No. 61: ca. 525 B.C.) and a hound from the Brauronion (No. 143: ca. 520 B.C.) are also attributed to Phaidimos. A figure of a horseman in Persian or Scythian costume probably represents Miltiades (No. 606: ca. 520 B.C.).In the rear part of Room IV are a group of korai, wearing the peplos or later the more elegant chiton, usually covered with the himation (cloak). As a rule one hand gathers in the maiden's garment while the other holds a votive offering.These figures, mostly life-size, stood in the open air, and many of them still preserve the fixing of the meniskos, an iron shield designed to protect them from bird droppings. The figures were originally painted, and some traces of coloring can still be seen, particularly on the garments.First come a kore with a serious expression, wearing Ionic costume (No. 673: 520-510 B.C.), a graceful kore from Chios in an elegantly draped painted chiton (No. 675: ca. 510 B.C.) and a very fine head (No. 643: ca. 510 B.C.).Then, in a wide semicircle, are (from left to right) a large kore from Chios (No. 682: ca. 520 B.C.), a vigorous figure, probably from the Peloponnese (No. 684: ca. 490 B.C.), the enigmatic "Sphinx- Eyed Kore" (No. 674: ca. 500 B.C.) and a kore clad only in a chiton (No. 670: ca. 510 B.C.).A large and badly weathered seated figure of Athena (in the center of the group) by Endoios (No. 625: ca. 530 B.C.) is followed by the clothed figure of a youth (No. 633: end of sixth century B.C.), a severe kore, the only one not girding her garment (No. 685: ca. 500 B.C.), an almost unworn kore from the Ionian Islands (No. 680: ca. 520 B.C.) and a large kore, also almost undamaged (No. 671: ca. 520 B.C.).
Room V (Kore of Antenor)
The most notable item in Room V at the Acropolis Museum is the Kore of Antenor, 2m (6ft) high, standing on a base bearing the name of the donor, Nearchos, and the sculptor, Antenor, which probably does not belong to it (Nos. 681 and 681A: ca. 525 B.C.).The room is dominated by statues from the pediment of the Peisistratid Old Temple depicting Athena fighting giants (No. 631: ca. 525 B.C.).In the alcove to the left is a collection of pottery ranging in date from the Geometric to the late Classical period.
Room VI (Fifth century B.C. work)
Room VI at the Acropolis Museum is dedicated to the early fifth century B.C. The earliest works belonging to this first stage of classical art date from before the Persian conquest (480 B.C.).This room contains work of this phase together with examples of the "Severe" style. Among outstanding items are the "Sulky Kore" (Nos. 686 and 609: ca. 490 B.C.), dedicated by Euthydikos; the "Kore of the Propylaia", set up shortly before the Persian attack (No. 688 ca. 480 B.C.); a statue of Athena (No. 140: 480-470 B.C.); a relief figure of a potter (No. 1332: ca. 500 B.C.); the head of a youth, from the workshop of Phidias (No. 699: 450-440 B.C.); and the forequarters of a horse, a noble work of 490-480 B.C. (No. 697).Famous works of the early Classical period are the "Fair-Haired Youth", a figure of unusual melancholy beauty (No. 689: shortly before 480 B.C.); a relief of "Mourning Athena" (No. 695: 460-450 B.C.); and the oldest of the group, the figure of a boy ascribed to Kritios or his workshop (No. 698: 485 B.C.). The torso and head of this "Critian Boy" were found in 1865 and 1888. It is the earliest known figure in which the archaic posture with each leg bearing an equal weight gives place to the classical pose in which one leg bears the weight and the other hangs free. In this respect Kritios was a forerunner of the art of the Classical period.
Room VII (Plaster reproductions)
Room VII at the Acropolis Museum includes plaster reproductions of the Parthenon pediments, a metope from the south side (centaurs and Lapiths: No. 705), a torso of Poseidon from the west pediment (No. 885a) and two horses' heads from Poseidons team (Nos. 882 and 884).
Room VIII (Sculptures)
Room VIII at the Acropolis Museum includes large sections of the Parthenon frieze (160m/525ft long, 1.05m/3ft 5in high). These depict the great Panathenaic procession and giving a vivid impression of life in Athens in the age of Pericles.From the north frieze: horsemen, apobatai (who jump off and on moving chariots), marshals, musicians, youths, carrying hydrias and sacrifical animals. The last slab (No. 857) is undoubtedly the work of Phidias himself. From the south frieze: horsemen.From the east frieze: Poseidon, Apollo and Artemis, probably carved by Alkamenes, a pupil of Phidias.On the projecting wall which divides the room into two are parts of the Erechtheion frieze, carved some decades after the Parthenon frieze (between 409 and 405 B.C.). The reconstruction shows the techniques used, the figures in light-colored Pentelic marble being attached to the background of darker marble with metal pegs. The significance of the figures is unclear.Finally there are a series of slabs from the parapet round the temple of Athena Nike (ca. 410 B.C.). The reliefs, which originally decorated the outer side of the parapet, depict a seated Athena (No. 989) with a number of goddesses of victory, including the famous Nike loosing her sandal (No. 973).
Room IX (Portrait of Alexander)
Room IX of the Acropolis Museum includes a large mask of a deity (No. 6,461), a bas-relief of an Attic trireme (No. 1,339) and - the most notable item - an idealized portrait of the young Alexander, probably carved by Leochares or Euphranor after Alexander's visit to Athens in 335 B.C. (No. 1331).Also very beautiful is the marble group "Procne and Itys" by Alkamenes.
The Vestibule is dominated by a large owl, the emblem of Athena (No. 1347: early fifth century B.C.). There is a marble statue of Athena, "Athena Propylaia" (No. 1336: end of fifth century); a marble base with a relief of soldiers dancing (No 1338: fourth century B.C.) and a marble funerary lekythos (No. 6407: end of fourth century). The caryatids from the Erechtheion are temporarily housed in a room to the right.