In this book, Clemente Marconi provides a new interpretation for the use of figural decoration in Greek temples of the archaic period, through a study of the archaic metopes of Selinus. The study of figural decoration on Greek temples has traditionally been identified with the broader study of architectural sculpture. At the same time, the original, articulated appearance of archaic temples has been fragmented into a discussion of individual types. Marconi argues against both the typological approach and the tendency to investigate style and iconography as two aspects unrelated to the cultural and social background within which temple decoration operated. He explores the relation between style and function and examines the function of figures on temples within the cultural and social context of the communities for which these images were created. Critical to this exploration are the reintegration of the figures into the fabric of buildings, the space of archaic sanctuaries and cities, and the ritual dimension that represented the context for the reception of the figural decoration of Greek temples.
Clemente Marconi is the James R. McCredie Professor in the History of Greek Art and Archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. A scholar of Greek art and archaeology, he is the author of Selinunte: Le metope dell' Heraion and editor of Greek Painted Pottery: Images, Contexts, and Controversies.
1. Figure and temple in the Greek world until the beginning of the late archaic period (ca. 700-530 BC); 2. Monumental architecture and colonization in archaic Sicily; 3. Selinus: history and urban development of an archaic Greek colony; 4. The small metopes; 5. Temple C and its metopes; 6. Gods, heroes, and monsters: the cultural identity of a Greek colony in the West.