Skopas of Paros and his World

Paros III is the third in a series of international conferences dedicated to the archaeology and culture of Paros and the Cyclades, organized by IAPC and conducted at Paroikia on Paros at periodic intervals. This volume, entitled Skopas and His World, contains scholarly papers presented during the Third International Congress organized in collaboration with the Municipality of Paros and the Archilochos of Paros Cultural Association, and held in Paroikia from 11-14 June, 2010. The congress, the first ever held on the great ancient sculptor Skopas of Paros, attracted the interest of many scholars from Greece and abroad. It included papers on all evidence available to date on Skopas and his work as a sculptor and architect, from all the areas of the ancient Greek world where he traveled and worked.

The Paros III volume published by IAPC, and edited by Dora Katsonopoulou and Andrew Stewart, includes a total of thirty-four scholarly papers, divided into four parts. Part I, entitled Skopas of Paros and Earlier Parian Sculpture, includes eight studies on the sculptor’s personality and work, and the latter’s relationship to the island and its previous sculptural output. Part II, entitled Skopas the Architect, contains nine papers on the artist’s architectural projects, and Part III, entitled Skopas the Sculptor, includes twelve papers on his art and the statues he created for various cities over the course of his long career. Finally, Part IV, entitled The Impact of Skopas’s Work, contains five papers on the influence that his art exerted during the ancient world.

Paros III - Skopas of Paros and his world

Part I begins with an overview of Skopas and his work, on the basis of the literary and recent archaeological evidence relevant to the investigation of his artistic personality (Stewart). Next, a link between the particular art of Skopas and Parian sculpture workshops is proposed, via the presentation of recent finds of sculpture from Paros and an analysis of the influence of the island’s cultural environment and heritage upon his personality (Katsonopoulou). Specific elements that characterize Skopas’s work as architect and sculptor are then considered as a standard in relation to output of the later Messenian artist Damophon (Themelis); and the historical context of the era in which he executed his great artistic projects at the Artemision at Ephesos, the Maussoleion at Halikarnassos, Tegea, and Megara, is addressed (Tandy). Following this, we turn to the products of Parian sculpture workshops before Skopas’s time, and to significant finds of the 6th and 5th centuries BC from the last few decades of excavation on Paros (Zafeiropoulou). These include the archaic temple of Apollo at Despotiko and its important cache of archaic kouroi and some korai (Kouragios), and -as a case study of the work of itinerant Parian artists before Skopas- the sculptor Aristion and his oeuvre (Barlou). Finally, the sculpture workshops identified in recent years in Paroikia are discussed and their output from Skopas’s time until the Roman period is analyzed (Detoratou).

Part II investigates Skopas’s architectural work, starting from his Parian roots and the construction of the city’s Prytaneion and temple of Hestia (Ohnesorg). Next comes a presentation of recent data, including the question of Cycladic elements, concerning his most prominent architectural creation, the temple of Athena Alea at Tegea in Arkadia (Østby), and a discussion of the iconography, interpretation, and restoration of its pedimental compositions and akroteria (Mostratos). The Tegea temple’s rôle as a model for others in the Peloponnese, such as those of Zeus at Nemea and of Ephesian Artemis at Alea in ​​upper Argolis, is evaluated (Kousoulas). Skopas is also proposed as the architect-sculptor of another monument, the altar in the Tegean sanctuary, on the basis of both his prior experience with the sculptural embellishment of the Maussolleion at Halikarnassos and the Hecatomnid rulers’ association with the sanctuary of Athena Alea (Leventi). The role of Skopas as architect, master sculptor, and cult statue maker at Samothrace is critically reviewed via a reevaluation of the plan and elevation of the Hall of Choral Dancers and its links with northern Greek and Macedonian architecture (Wescoat). Finally, Skopas’s architectural work in Asia Minor and mainland Greece is examined for possible interactions with local traditions (Pedersen), with particular attention to exploring his responsibility for the altar of the late classical Artemision at Ephesos (Bammer) and the friezes of the Maussolleion at Halikarnassos (Schmid).

To introduce Part III, which is devoted to Skopas’s work as a sculptor and cult-statue maker, the only known copy of one of the Parian artist’s most famous works, the Dresden Maenad, is revisited and a new reconstruction of its unusual twisting pose is proposed (Barr-Sharrar), and an interpretation of its movement in a Dionysiac context is advanced in relation to earlier and later works in this vein (Wolf). The evocative description of the statue by Kallistratos (Statuarum descriptiones 2) is discussed as an ekphrasis comparable to that of the shield of Achilles in Book 18 of the Iliad (Petropoulos). Alternatively, what if the so-called Berlin Dancer actually copies this masterpiece of Skopas, instead of the Dresden Maenad (Geominy)? Next, the famous group of Aphrodite and Pothos created for the sanctuary of the Great Gods at Samothrace is discussed in relation to the extant literary and archaeological evidence (Marconi); its statue of Aphrodite is sought in the naked Anadyomene type, welcomed here by Pothos and Phaethon (Delivorrias); the Pothos itself is explored in the light of new information (Lopes); and two hitherto unrecognized intaglio versions of it in the Thorvaldsen Collection are presented (Kluge). The statue of Eros Thunderbolt-Bearer erected in the late classical period probably in Athens and later taken to Rome is examined and its attribution to Skopas revived (Corso), and all the sculptor’s statues in Rome listed by Pliny are analyzed, shedding new light on his influence upon Roman art and culture (Calcani). Lastly, Skopas’s work in Knidos is investigated on the basis of fourth-century marbles from the site that clearly demonstrate the impact of his style (Özgan), and his presence and that of his workshop during the construction of the temple of Artemis at Ephesos is examined (Muss).

Finally, Part IV discusses the impact of Skopas’s art upon various regions of mainland Greece, such as the Apollo sanctuary at Delphi, where a revival of Parian marble and workmanship during the fourth century BC has been documented by new discoveries (Partida), and also further north on Thasos, a Parian colony, on the basis of unpublished marble sculpture in his manner discovered at Heraklion (Katsonopoulou and Korka). Sculptures (portraits and others) at Alexandria exhibiting Skopadic stylistic features are analyzed and the channels through which knowledge of his art infiltrated the city’s historical and cultural fabric are investigated (Ghisellini). The influence of Skopas and his workshop in Egypt and Macedonia are studied through drawings on the Artemidoros Papyrus and finds from the Royal Tomb II at Vergina (Adornato). Finally, collections of ancient sculpture of the first half of the fourth century BC and Hellenistic period from the north Pontic region, where the influence of Skopas is particularly evident, are presented and analyzed (Trofimova).