The Athenian Acropolis from Pericles to Parr

Between 448 and 404 BCE, four buildings arose on the Acropolis of Athens, the city’s main sanctuary: the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion. Their construction took place under the stewardship of Pericles, the city’s legendary statesman, and was coordinated and supervised by Pheidias, the city’s most prominent sculptor.

The resulting architectural ensemble has over time come to be seen as the most celebrated architectural expression of the High Classical era. The ancient Romans already regarded the structures as both noble and timeless. To the biographer Plutarch, writing in the second century CE, they seemed “untouched by time, as if some unfading spirit of youth had been breathed into them.”

Modern interest in Classical Greek civilization re-emerged during the Enlightenment, in the second half of the eighteenth century. Since then visitors have measured, drawn, painted, photographed, interpreted, admired, and danced upon the antiquities of Athens. Each cultural epoch brought its own concerns and preoccupations to bear upon how the Periclean Acropolis was perceived.

This exhibition chronicles the changing perceptions of the Acropolis over the last three centuries. It brings together a broad array of images mostly drawn from collections at Middlebury. Together they bear testimony to the enduring fascination with the Athenian Acropolis that persists to this day.


Pieter Broucke – Exhibition Curator

Daniella Silva ‘17 – Curatorial Assistant