the façade of the olympian centre is an adaptation of the temple of hera, the oldest sacred building in olympia, greece. the doric columns of the portico are scaled to the exact size of those on the seventh century b.c. temple and the colorful acroterian (roof ornament) is a replica of one in the olympia museum. the acroterian copy here was given in honor of bernice brooks hill.
stand in front of the building and you will be able to envision the temple of hera as it appeared in its ancient glory. a walk through the jasmine hill gardens will bring you to the world’s only full size replica of its ruins. (number 32)
in the great hall of the olympian centre are displayed reproductions of some of greece’s finest works of sculpture including one which stood in the temple of hera in ancient times. hermes of praxiteles.
olympian centre - great hall
hermes of praxiteles (right)
discovered in 1877 during excavations of the ruins of the temple of hera, this sculpture of hermes, the messenger of the gods, holding dionysis, the infant god of wine, is now on display at the olympia museum. carved in 343 b.c. from white parian marble, this work by praxiteles is the only sculpture which survives today that can be attributed to one of the six great greek masters.
the diadem wearer (left)
the original of this sculpture of a youthful athlete was done around 425 b.c. by polykleitos, one of the great masters of the classical period. the bronze original no longer exists. the work is known today from roman copies in marble.
polykleitos devised to make mathematical formula his “canon”, for determining the ideal proportions for the human figure as depicted in sculpture. this system had a profound influence on subsequent sculptors.
charioteer of delphi
the original of this early classical sculpture is a heroic sized bronze in the museum at delphi, greece. the charioteer was once part of a large sculpture group, complete with chariot and four horses. it was commissioned to commemorate the king of gela’s victory in the chariot races of 478 b.c. however, it is not the portrait of an individual but an idealized evocation of heroic strength and beauty, done by a sculptor whose identity is unknown.
urn carriers (from the parthenon’s northern wall) and the riders (from the parthenon’s western wall) are a portion of the spectacular running frieze, designed by phidas and carved by a team of anonymous masons. the originals of these dating 447-438 bc are in the acropolis museum in athens.