Thursday, December 7, 2017

Athens of the South

Today we visited The Parthenon! The Parthenon in Centennial Park, is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. It was designed by Confederate veteran William Crawford Smith and built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. It now serves as an art museum with a permanent collection of 63 paintings painted by 19th-20th century American artists, and several galleries for temporary shows and exhibits.

Nashville's moniker, the "Athens of the South", influenced the choice of the building as the centerpiece of the 1897 Centennial Exposition. A number of buildings at the Exposition were based on ancient originals, however the Parthenon was the only one that was an exact reproduction. It was also the only one that was preserved by the city.

In 1990, a replica of the lost statue of Athena Parthenos was built inside the Parthenon. Nashville's Athena stands 41 ft 10 in tall, making her the largest piece of indoor sculpture in the Western World.It stood in Nashville's Parthenon as a plain, white statue for twelve years. In 2002, Parthenon volunteers gilded Athena under the supervision of master gilder Lou Reed. The gilding project took less than four months and makes the modern statue appear that much more like the way that Phidias' Athena Parthenos would have appeared during its time. While the replica appears opulent, concessions were made: The original was coated in over 2,400 pounds of gold leaf, whereas Nashville’s version boasts just eight pounds.

The design of this statue comes completely from descriptions of the original, since the original statue was completely destroyed. 

Here is one such description:

"Athena was portrayed as a warrior resting after successful combat. A figure of winged victory alighted on the palm of her outstretched right hand, while her left hand supported a round shield. A spear rested against her left shoulder. The goddess was draped in the simplest form of tunic, the peplos, her shoulders and chest hung with the aegis, the snake fringed, fish-sealed poncho that had been the gift of her father Zeus and had protective powers" 

This statue of the goddess Nike, stands 6 foot 4 inches but looks miniscule in the hands of the giant Athena.

There are plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles which are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon, dating back to 438 BC. The surviving originals are housed in the British Museum in London and at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Next up was lunch on the General Jackson. I love being on a boat of any kind, so even though we took a very similar lunch cruise on the Gen. Jackson just a few months before, I was still excited to go again.

Since I had throughly photographed our experience the first time we sailed on the General Jackson, I didn't take as many photos this time, CLICK HERE to see those photos.

You always get amazing views of the Nashville's unique skyline at one certain point of the cruise.

After lunch and our relaxing afternoon on the General Jackson, we headed back to our hotel for a little rest before dinner.

We headed back to the Opryland Hotel to dine at Jack Daniels for some southern classics and lots of BBQ. The atriums are stunning at night!


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Parthenon after so many years of studying it's figures and architecture...and visiting the ruins of the original. Seeing it intact was an amazing experience! It's colossal size as you walked around the pillars of the exterior...and the golden Athena! Imagine her made of ivory and gilded! This was a great post on a memorable day. I liked the pictures of the casts of the real figures in front of the Pediment showing where they fit in.

  2. I have written comments on three of yours posts, this one and the two before it, but I must not have clicked Publish. This was a FUN day! I love your pictures of the flowers and the Dogwood, the amazing hotel, and of course, the Grand Ol' Oprey!