Seated Zeus by Phidias

Year: -500Artist: Categories: ,

The statue of Seated Zeus was commissioned by the custodians of the Olympic Games (the Eleans). 

Towards the end of the fifth century BC, the Eleans constructed the Temple of Zeus in an effort to outdo the Athenians (their rivals). A sculptor by the name of Phidias was employed (he had been the sculptor behind the statue of Athena in the Parthenon) to complete the Seated Zeus statue.

The statue was so big that it took up almost half the width of the aisle of the temple it was built for. Zeus was a massive Chryselephantine cult statue (made of gold and ivory) created on a wooden substructure.

Zeus is considered the father of us all, both gods and humans. In an attempt to restore the balance of power between men and gods, Zeus killed Asclepius with a thunderbolt when Asclepius’ medicine and his ability to raise the dead prove to be too much of a threat.

There is no copy that remains in marble or bronze of the Seated Zeus statue. 


See other works featuring bronze.

More work by Phidias