The workshop of Pheidias

In the late fifth century BC the Athenian sculptor Pheidias worked on the enormous cult statue of Zeus in this workshop, which therefore had to be more than 13 m high. The light came in through a very large and high door. The building is exceptionally well preserved because it was reused as a church in the fifth century AD.

 

Vast amounts of material from the works have been found outside the building : casting moulds in clay for the folds in the garments, fragments of ivory and bone, tools such as bone pencils, clay moulds for glass. Glass was a precious material and pieces of inlaid glass gave colour to the huge statue covered with ivory and gold.

P244A cup inscribed with the words "I belong to Pheidias" ascertains the identification of the building, though it is not certain whether the cup really belonged to the famous sculptor himself : already in Antiquity souvenirs were sold at Olympia!

© KU Leuven, 2012