"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Searching for Athena

We learned there is more to Nashville than country music.
Back in 1897, for the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition, a full-scale replica of the Parthenon was built.  The city wanted to be known as the "Athens of the South".
Why?  I don't know.
But I'm so glad they did.

 The original Greek temple, now crumbled ruins in Greece,
sits proudly and complete in Nashville.
A perfect replica.
Who knew?  

Just think--this is the cast from one of the sculptural fragments that was taken from the ruins to England in 1801.  With pieces like this, writings and ancient historical documents, sculptors Leopold and Belle Kinney-Scholz recreated the complete pediments on the Nashville building.  What imaginations!
(This torso happens to be part of Poseidon, the sea god.)

Then the large characters on the pediments that decorate the two outer ends of the building were meticulously re-sculpted and sized down so the mythological characters can be studied and viewed
by tourists like us.
Pretty awesome, I must say!

This strong beauty is Iris, goddess of the rainbow.
There were square pegs in her shoulders that alerted the        sculptors that she once had wings 
(and a head and arms and legs and such, I might add!)
Can you pick her out in the completed pediment above?
Hint: she is reaching toward the horse's mane.

 Details of whom each one is thought to be and their relationships to one another are fascinating to read.
Neptune, Mercury, Zeus, Diana--the whole gang is there.
Plus so many more.  

What or whom we really were searching for was Athena, goddess of wisdom, who had originally been created in the 5th century BC.   Alas, she is now lost, but her Tennessee image was finished in 1990, gilded and painted with 8 pounds of gold.  Everything about her-- her large shield, spear and helmet reveal tales of Greek mythology, bravery, battles and strength.
We just couldn't find her as we roamed around the art galleries of the building.
Hmmmm, where could she be?

How we laughed when we finally entered her room!
Dazzling!  She stands 42' 10" tall!
The little figure perched in her hand is Nike, 
goddess of victory.
"Little" Nike is actually 6' 4" tall!!
And Hillary and I stand like microscopic creatures in front.
To think we honestly almost MISSED finding Athena!!

This can be so true for our lives.
We hurry about focusing on distractions
and missing the glorious!
Today try to find Athena, my friends.

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