July 12, 2006

The College of Staten Island’s Parthenon project

Posted at 9:04 pm in Acropolis

The College of Staten Island in New York State is planning on using casts & photos that they have of the Parthenon frieze as the basis for providing facilities for in depth study of the sculptures.

Greek News Online

July 11, 2006
Community: The Parthenon Project at the College of Staten Island
Posted on Monday, July 10 @ 22:03:55 EDT by greek_news

Community New York.- The College of Staten Island, centrally located on Staten Island, is the largest school in the CUNY system. Its 204 acres of lawns and woodlands are graced by 19 neo-Georgian brick buildings, which house academic, administrative and recreational activities. The College serves a diverse student body of more than 12,800 full-time and part-time students pursuing associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. Within its academic programs; the creation of the Honors College with emphasis on excellence; the internationally known MacroMolecular Assemblies Institute and Center for Engineered Polymeric Material, which expands the frontiers of biotechnology; and, its nationally-recognized Discovery Institute, serving local intermediate and high school teachers; CSI has placed teaching, learning and research at the center of its priorities.

The College of Staten Island is embarking on a very exciting project – the restoration, display, and enriched course offering as it relates to the Parthenon and ancient Greek history.

The Parthenon, one of the world’s great cultural monuments, stands as the most important and characteristic testament of ancient Greek civilization. Dedicated to Athena Parthenos, the patron goddess of Athens, it was built between 447 and 438 B.C. The Frieze, approximately 524 feet long, ran on a continuous line around the exterior wall of the cella. The sculptures of the Frieze, executed in low relief, depict the people of Athens in two processions that begin at the southwest corner and parade in opposite directions until they converge. It is almost certain the Frieze represents the historic Panathenaic procession that was a central celebration in Athens.

Over time, the College of Staten Island has acquired rare casts manufactured by the Caproni Factory of Boston, with the Caproni seal visible on all of the pieces. These detailed casts of the Frieze were made from original molds created after Lord Elgin brought most of the Frieze to the British Museum in the 19th century.

The Parthenon Frieze casts at the College of Staten Island serve as an educational tool documenting the importance of Greek culture in our society, while exposing students to the brilliant Hellenic art and architecture of the 5th century B.C. Currently, the majority of the casts are on display in CSI’s Center for the Arts, while the rest remain in storage. By restoring, cleaning, and properly exhibiting the casts, CSI will be able to enhance the campus and lend itself to creating a culturally enlightening environment. In addition to the casts, the College of Staten Island anticipates permanently displaying a 100-foot photo atlas of the Parthenon Frieze. The photographs from the British Museum, London, and the Acropolis Museum, Athens, will complement the casts and their reading. A wall-size print of the Parthenon, with a transversal section showing the original location of the frieze will complete the exhibit.

Using the impetus of this project, CSI seeks to develop new course offerings, expand faculty research, and increase the CSI Library collection, as it relates to Greek culture and history. The College also seeks to create a two-week study abroad program, offering select senior level students the opportunity to travel to Greece for an intensive learning experience with CSI faculty.

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