statue of a caryatid

Artist: Possibly Phidias
Date: About 410 B.C.
Location: Waymon L. Hickman, Lobby

A caryatid is an architectural support in the shape of female figure. Such figures, not limited to human dimensions, generally adorn building or parts of buildings that are small. And 8-foot column is not unusually tall, but a caryatid of this height gives an effect of colossal size. A male figure used similarly is called an atlas.

The earliest extant example of the use of caryatids to replace columns is in the porch of the Treasury of the Siphanians at Delphi. The most famous caryatids are those on the south porch of the Erechtheum on the Acropolis in Athens, dating for the last fifth century B.C.

The original of the particular caryatid is presently in the British Museum in London.

Descriptive and historical information about the sculptures compiled by Dr. Douglas O. Eason.