How to move a 3 ton sculpture: Athena Parthenos

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This video from The Metropolitan Museum of Art shows how they recently installed a monumental statue of Athena Parthenos (ca. 170 B.C.), which comes in at 10 feet tall and weighing over 3 tons. This sculpture is on special loan from the collection of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, and will reside in the Met’s Great Hall for the next 2 years. One might wonder why the Pergamon would loan such an important sculpture for such a long period of time, but the answer is simple: The Pergamon Museum is currently closed for renovation and is scheduled to reopen in 2019.

I find it interesting – and a bit unexpected – that the head is separate from the body, and wondered if it was separated during modern times for some sort of conservation reason. But instead, I learned that when this sculpture was discovered in 1880 in the Sanctuary of Athena in Pergamon, they found the body in one room, and the head in a courtyard some distance away. The body, head, base and arms of the statue were made by the original sculptor separately and joined together, which is why the head fits in like a puzzle piece as you can see in the video. The arms were never found when the other parts were, so therefore this is not a full representation of how the sculpture was originally displayed.

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