PHIDIAS, the greatest sculptor and statuary of ancient Greece, born at Athens; flourished in the time of Pericles, and was appointed by him to direct the works of art projected to the beautifying of the city, and expressly commissioned to execute certain of these works himself; the chief work that he superintended was the erection of the Parthenon, much of which he himself adorned; and of the statues he executed the most famous were one of Athena of ivory and gold for the Parthenon, and a colossal one of Zeus, his masterpiece, also of ivory and gold, for Olympia; accused of having appropriated some of the gold intended for the statue of Athena he was acquitted, but was afterwards charged with impiety for carving his own likeness and that of Pericles on the shield of the goddess, and was thrown into prison, where he died, 432 B.C.

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