This reconstruction shows the East Pediment from the Parthenon, a major construction of ancient Greece built between 447 and 432 BC. The fragments consist of well-crafted marble statues, exemplifying the artistic ideals and values of the Classical Greek period. These sectors illustrate the peak of ancient Greek sculptural artistry, created under the supervision of acclaimed architect and sculptor Phidias.
The East Pediment depicts the legendary episode of Athena's birth from the skull of her father, Zeus, an event that holds great significance for Athens, being its patron deity. The scene carries numerous divine and semi-divine entities including gods, goddesses, heroic characters, and the horses of Helios.
The display comprises remnants of the central composition, containing Zeus, Athena, and other gods such as Hermes, Ares, and Hera. Included is a representation of Hercules, signified by his signature lion's skin, located on the western side alongside a figure presumed to be Dionysius. The eastern end narrates the mortal responses to these divine events, varying between shock, admiration, or indifference.
The displayed marble statues, measuring from 87 cm to over 2 m, are noticed for their precise balance, giving off a serene visage, effectively demonstrating the known mastery of drapery and anatomy in classical Greek sculpture. These reconstructed figures offer a sense of lifelike dynamism, indicating the significant progress in Greek sculpture during this era.
The pediment, however, has been severely affected over time by various natural disasters and human actions including earthquakes, invasions, and a major explosion in 1687 caused by Venetian artillery during the Ottoman period. Notable parts of the pediment were also extracted by Lord Elgin in the 19th century and currently reside in the British Museum’s collection.
A key feature of the Acropolis Museum's display is the strategic use of empty spaces, symbolizing the missing elements, and underscoring the loss of cultural heritage over time. The arrangement incorporates plaster molds and evident gaps to serve as indicators of the original pediment's magnitude.