Phidias or Pheidias (480 – 430 BC) was a Greek sculptor, painter, and architect. His Statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Phidias also designed the statues of the goddess Athena on the Athenian Acropolis, namely the Athena Parthenos inside the Parthenon, and the Athena Promachos, a colossal bronze which stood between it and the Propylaea, a monumental gateway that served as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. Phidias was the son of Charmides of Athens. The ancients believed that his masters were Hegias and Ageladas.
Plutarch discusses Phidias’ friendship with the Greek statesman Pericles, recording that enemies of Pericles tried to attack him through Phidias – who was accused of stealing gold intended for the Parthenon’s statue of Athena, and of impiously portraying himself and Pericles on the shield of the statue. The historical value of this account, as well as the legend about accusations against the ‘Periclean circle’, is debatable, but Aristophanes mentions an incident with Phidias around that time.
Phidias is often credited as the main instigator of the Classical Greek sculptural design. Today, most critics and historians consider him one of the greatest of all ancient Greek sculptors.