As the most famous statue in ancient times made by the most famous sculptor, the Pheidian statue of Zeus at Olympia has provided a powerful model for representations of power and majesty in Western art. Largely through its literary representations, copies or depictions on coins, the pose and attributes of the god have influenced subsequent representations of deities and leaders. This paper examines the uptake of this model in the medieval period for representations of Christ, the challenge its formal attributes provided in the Renaissance, later difficulties in adapting the model in depictions of leaders such as Napoleon, Washington and Lincoln, and concludes by considering lingering influences in Australian art.
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