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On the south of the temple, the famous “Porch of the Maidens”, with six draped female figures (Caryatids) as supporting columns, each sculpted in a manner different from the rest and engineered in such a way that their slenderest part, the neck, is capable of supporting the weight of the porch roof whilst remaining graceful and feminine. The porch was built to conceal the giant 15-ft beam needed to support the southwest corner over the Metropolis, after the building was drastically reduced in size and budget following the onset of the Peloponnesian war.
One of the Caryatids was removed by Lord Elgin in order to decorate his Scottish mansion, and was later sold to the British Museum (along with a number of sculpture (also known as the Elgin Marbles) taken from the Parthenon). Athenian legend had it that at night the remaining five Caryatids could be heard wailing for their lost sister. Elgin attempted to remove a second Caryatid; when technical difficulties arose, he tried to have it sawn to pieces. The statue was smashed, and its fragments were left behind. It was later reconstructed haphazardly with cement and iron rods.
Previous attempted restorations by Greece damaged the roof of the Caryatids’ porch with concrete patches, along with major damage caused by pollution in Athens. Scientists were working in 2005 to repair the damage using laser cleaning. Now, the five original Caryatids are displayed at the Acropolis Museum and are replaced in situ by exact replicas.
Information supplied by Wikipedia.
Single RAW image Tonemapped in Photomatix Pro.
Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)
Lens: Sigma 18-200mm
Exif data from the JPG
Focal length 76 mm
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