The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Athens' Parthenon Scaffold-Free for First Time in Years
A newly restored section of columns is seen from inside the 5th century B.C. Parthenon temple on the Acropolis. AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris.

By: Jon Hemming

ATHENS (REUTERS).- Visitors to Athens have a rare window of opportunity to see the showpiece Parthenon temple on the ancient Acropolis without scaffolding for the first time in nearly 30 years as a major restoration work nears completion.

The Greek government launched a project to restore the Parthenon and other buildings on the world heritage site in 1975, but it was not until 1983 that work started.

Scaffolding has been up somewhere around the ancient temple ever since. But from now until September, the exterior of the Parthenon will be scaffold-free.

Building the Parthenon took nine years from 447 BC and the sculptural decorations took another 10 years to complete. Restoration has already taken longer than it took to build.

"We treat every piece of marble like a piece of art so we have to respect it," Mary Ioannidou, the head of restoration told Reuters during a tour of the temple.

"The ancient Greeks had the possibility that if a block failed, to leave it and take another one, but we can't do it so we have to treat it with great respect."

Over the years, the Parthenon has suffered from fire, war, revolution, looting, misguided restoration and pollution.

It became a church for nearly 1,000 years and served as a mosque under the Ottomans for nearly 400 years after that.

The greatest blow to the structure though came in 1687 when a Venetian mortar ignited the Ottoman Turkish gunpowder store inside and widespread looting followed. British Ambassador Lord Elgin then removed large chunks of the sculptures from 1801.

Between 1898 and 1938, restoration workers rebuilt large parts of the building and concreted in parts of the columns and blocks that were missing. But they used iron ties to hold the blocks together and replaced many in the wrong place.

The iron ties have since rusted and as they did so expanded causing cracks to appear. The ancients also used iron ties, but coated them in lead to prevent rust. They have lasted well.

The team of archaeologists, marble cutters, architects, and civil and chemical engineers, dismantled 1,852 metric tons of marble and began the painstaking task of attempting to put it back again in the right place, adding other fragments they found.

"It's like a huge puzzle," said Ioannidou with a wry smile.

Titanium is now used to tie the blocks and columns together which is highly resistant to corrosion.

New marble has been crafted to fill in some of the gaps left by the concrete and allow blocks of the original marble to be returned to their place on the Parthenon's stonework.

The original quarry for the marble on Mount Penteli is now itself a protected historical site, but marble has been cut from the other side of the same mountain.

"It's almost the same but not exactly the same," said Ioannidou. The new marble stands out in a much lighter color than the original.

"One of the principles of our restoration is not to cheat the visitor. Everyone can understand the parts that are ancient and those that are original," said Ioannidou.

As for the color, that will fade. "If you come here in 10 years the color will be almost the same," she said.

In September though, the scaffolding will be up again on the western facade and that project will last at least another three years. Efforts to piece together the walls of the inner chamber of the temple are already underway.

For some, restoring the Parthenon is their life's work. Marble-cutter Ignatius Hiou has worked there for 18 years.

"If I could do this until the day I die, I will be happy," he said.

(Additional reporting by Deborah Kyvrikosaios; Editing by Paul Casciato)

Athens | Parthenon Temple | Mary Ioannidou |




Today's News

May 29, 2010

The Global Art World Gathers in Hong Kong for the City's Third International Art Fair

Albertina Opens Major Survey of Printed Works by Alex Katz

Christie's to Present Magnificent Gustav Klimt Portrait in London

Cuban Voodoo-Variant Art Tops Sotheby's Latin American Sale

New York Judge Urges Settlement in Obama Poster Dispute

New York Public Library President Receives Spanish Civil Order

Tiffany's Dazzling Designs at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Group Exhibition of Street Art on View at Affirmation Arts

Internationally Renowned Director to Lead The San Diego Museum of Art

Christie's to Present an Important Auction of Orientalist Masterpieces

Exhibition of Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera Opens at Tate Modern

Miniature Chinese Art Makes World Record Prices at Bonhams

Artist Fred Tomaselli to Have Solo Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum

Athens' Parthenon Scaffold-Free for First Time in Years

New Book Features Candid Photographs from Ivy League Universities by Teruyoshi Hayashida

Europeana Public Domain Charter: Libraries, Museums and Archives Support Europe's Heritage

Most Comprehensive Exhibition of Work by Atlanta Artist Radcliffe Bailey to Premiere at the High

Phillips de Pury & Company's Africa Auction Totals $1,401,038

Amon Carter Museum Exhibits Ansel Adams Photographs

INAH, Candidate to Win Prince of Asturias Award

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome

Related Stories



Unpaid Greek Workers Heckle Culture Minister on Acropolis

Greek Police Seize Two Rare Statues From Two Farmers

Athens Print Fest to Open with Several Exhibitions Around the City



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site