“should any one wish for information on the origin of those draped matronal figures crowned with a mutulus and cornice, called Caryatides, he will explain it by the following history. Carya, a city of Peloponnesus, joined the Persians in their war against the Greeks. These in return for the treachery, after having freed themselves by a most glorious victory from the intended Persian yoke, unanimously resolved to levy war against the Caryans. Carya was, in consequence, taken and destroyed, its male population extinguished, and its matrons carried into slavery. That these circumstances might be better remembered, and the nature of the triumph perpetuated, the victors represented them draped, and apparently suffering under the burthen with which they were loaded, to expiate the crime of their native city. Thus, in their edifices, did the antient architects, by the use of these statues, hand down to posterity a memorial of the crime of the Caryans.”
Vitruvius (De Architectura)
The six maidens stood unmolested for 2,500 years, until a year into the 19th Century, Lord Elgin of Scotland came to saw and chisel one away, kidnapping her for the purpose of decorating the grounds of his estate. A second was spared a similar abduction only by virtue of suffering extensive damage in the Lord’s clumsy attempt to disentangle her from the stone, eventually ending up smashed amongst the other marble ruins of the Acropolis, before undergoing a haphazard reconstruction. Severely degraded by the Athenian air pollution of the late 1970′s, the five remaining sisters were removed in 1978 and replaced with carefully reconstructed replicas. For the past 3 years, the conservators at the Athens Museum have undergone a round the clock restoration effort to eliminate the centuries of soot and grime. Lasers excise millimeter by millimeter of foreign matter before reaching the original apricot-colored patina of the ancient marble.
Caryatids are architectural elements, taking the female figure to support a building’s entablature. The six that make up the Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis at Athens are the most famous and most widely photographed.
Here, photogrammetry software was used to construct a 3D mesh model of the fifth Caryatid – Maiden E – and 3D printed. Having never had the pleasure to visit Athens myself, the 3D model for this print was generated from images of the Porch of the Erechtheion as found through a Google image search. The GIS photos have all been taken after 1978, and are themselves images of copies – the original sisters having been secured and replaced with ersatz, in-situ replicas. Therefore, this print is in effect a copy of multiple of copies and degradations, both due to time and translation into varied mediums. There has been a translation from original marble to a lesser replicated stone, to a series of flat images, to a software’s algorithmic understanding and reconstruction of 3d depth, and ultimately to a plastic, physical print. Within that gamut of transformations there is ample room for glitches and anomalies to present themselves, however the loss of resolution and additional artifacts only serve to reinforce the confinement and fusion between form and weight.
*3D Printed with an Ultimaker2 Machine