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Paeonius or Paionios of Ephesus (fl. 350—310 bc)


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Greek sculptor from Mende, active c.420 bc. Known from an original work found at Olympia—a marble statue of a flying Nike, mounted on a high triangular base, and displayed before the eastern face of the temple of Zeus. The inscription on the base states that the monument was erected by the Messenians and Naupactians (see messenia, History), and that Paeonius both made it and won the competition for the acroteria for the temple.

The statue's style is certainly later than the Parthenon, which confirms a Messenian tradition that it celebrated Sparta's defeat at Sphacteria in 425 (see pylos), and that they omitted to say so for fear of the Spartans. A virtuoso essay in marble‐carving, the Nike represents the ‘birthday’ of the flamboyant or ‘Rich’ style in Greek sculpture, as the Tyrannicides had announced the birth of the Severe style (see critius). Her wet and windswept drapery clearly alludes to a battle at sea; she is also the first partially nude divinity in Classical Greek art.

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