Porch of The Maidens

Porch of The Maidens

Six stately young women stand like sentinels on a marble parapet atop the Athenian Acropolis. Casual and relaxed, the women are balancing a heavy stone roof on their heads.

The young women are dressed in a fine peplos, a tunic doubled back at the bodice in a bottom-heavy arc and pinned at the shoulders with a brooch. Their long hair, falling in a loose braid down the back, presumably signals their unmarried status, since contemporary Greek matrons wore a chignon. The caryatids’ fleshy physique is distinctly revealed by their “wet look” robes. These pensive girls with their broad, ripe, thrusting breasts seem eagerly poised for marriage.

It is a remarkable display of female power: voluptuous curves combined with massive, muscular strength.

Camille Paglia
Glittering Images 2002


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