LC: ACG - John S. Bailey Library, Peer Tutoring Office
CM: This is an etching of the Parthenon at the Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee. The Nashville Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Nashville's moniker, the Athens of the South, influenced the choice of the building as the centerpiece of the 1897 fair. A number of buildings at the Exposition were based on ancient originals, however the Parthenon was the only one that was an exact reproduction. It was also the only one that was preserved by the city, although the Knights of Pythias building was purchased and moved to nearby Franklin, Tennessee. Many people from all over the world come to see its beauty. Originally built of plaster, wood, and brick, the Parthenon was rebuilt on the same foundations, in concrete, in a project that started in 1920; the exterior was completed in 1925 and the interior in 1931. § Today, the Parthenon, which functions as an art museum, stands as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, a large public park just west of downtown Nashville. Alan LeQuire's 1990 re-creation of the Athena Parthenos statue is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building is a full-scale replica of the Athenian original; and the statue of Athena Parthenos within is a reconstruction of the long lost original to careful scholarly standards: she is cuirassed and helmeted, carries a shield on her left arm and a small (1.8 m) statue of Victory in her right palm, and stands 42 feet (13 m) high, gilt with more than eight pounds of gold leaf; an equally colossal serpent rears its head between her and her shield. Since the building is complete and its decorations were polychromed as close to the presumed original as possible, this replica of the original Parthenon in Athens serves as a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos (the east room of the main hall) are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon, dating back to 438 BC. Many fragments of the originals are housed in the British Museum in London. Others are at the Acropolis Museum in Athens. § As an art museum, the Nashville Parthenon's permanent collection is a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan. Additional gallery spaces provide a venue for a variety of temporary shows and exhibits. § In the summertime, local theater productions use the building as a backdrop for classic Greek plays performing usually for free on the steps of the Parthenon. Other performances, such as Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, have been done inside, at the foot of Athena's statue. § The Nashville Parthenon served as the location for the political rally in the climactic scene of Robert Altman's 1975 film Nashville. It was also used as a backdrop for the battle against the Hydra in the 2010 movie Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.