The New Student's Reference Work/Phidias
Phidias (fid′i-as) or Pheidias, the greatest sculptor of ancient Greece, was born about 500 B. C. To Phidias came such an opportunity as comes only to few artists. Pericles, having risen to the head of affairs, resolved to adorn Athens with public buildings, and he therefore not only gave Phidias a commission to execute the more splendid statues to be erected, but made him superintendent of all public works planned. He constructed the Propylæa and the Parthenon, the sculptured ornaments of which were executed under his direct superintendence, while the statue of Athené, in ivory and gold, was the work of Phidias himself. He also executed a colossal gold and ivory statue of Zeus for the Olympian temple in Elis; this is considered his masterpiece. In his later years Phidias was accused of appropriating a portion of the gold designed for the robe of Athené and of impiety in having placed his own likeness and that of Pericles upon the shield of the goddess, and was thrown into prison, where he died about 430 B. C.