The “Mourning” Athena

by maria

A few days ago I visited again the Acropolis Museum. I hadn’t been there since I was a young child so it was an overwhelming experience. All the exhibits filled me with a sense of pride for my country. However the one exhibit that caught my attention the most was the relief of the “Mourning” Athena. In this piece of art Athena stands leaning against her spear and contemplates at a column. Some suspect that the column could be bearing the accounts of her sanctuary, while others think that it could be defining the boundaries of her sacred precinct or it could be funerary stele. This relief is dated back to the Classical period and is made of Parian marble. Both the goddess’s stance as well as the treatment of her dress, are features of the Severe Style. Athena’s expression is unique as it grants a feeling of melancholy to the viewers, which may be due to her mourning about all the deaths (if this is a funerary stele). This exact feeling made me distinguish this particular relief; it indicates that even a goddess as powerful as Athena can sometimes feel lost.

The Acropolis Museum is a contemporary museum that exhibits all these past treasures. Sometimes we tend to take it for granted or think that it’s only there for tourists to visit. However, a visit there could change your mind…

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