The Lost Statue of Zeus at Olympia recreated using 3D Printing

09 Aug

The Lost Statue of Zeus at Olympia recreated using 3D Printing

As a kid I was mesmerized with the story of the seven wonders of the ancient world, I always wanted to be able to see it in person but unfortunately for me all I could ever do was make pictures of them in my mind as most of these wonders are long lost. The only original monument that still stands out of these seven wonders are the Great Pyramid of Giza, the others have not been so lucky. Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus are all destroyed and the location of hanging gardens of Babylon is still a mystery unsolved.

Exact details of most of these statues are unknown and they only stay alive in legends and folk stories. One of these seven wonders is the Statue of Zeus was made by Phidias a Greek sculptor, painter and architect and stood in Olympia, the place where the modern day Olympics can trace their roots. According to historians who took the first hand account of the people who saw the statue in its full glory have quoted that “he would unroof the temple."

3d printed Zeus

It just a vivid description of the mammoth monument which was lost around during the 5th century AD, however according to geographer and traveler Pausanias the statue was crowned with a sculpted wreath of olive sprays. It had gold sandals, and a golden robe carved with animals and lilies. In its right hand was a small chryselephantine statue of crowned Nike, goddess of victory. Its left hand held a sceptre inlaid with many metals, supporting an eagle. The throne was decorated in gold, precious stones, ebony, and ivory.

This description was a great start point for someone who wanted to recreate the monument, so when Millennium Gate Museum in Atlanta decided to do so they had their task cut out. The Museum wanted to re create the charismatic statue which was supposedly also the god of the Olympics games. So they decided the timing of the unveiling to coincide with the 2016 Rio Olympics which also happens to be the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta.

Museum director Jeremy Kobus spoke to the media about the diculties they faced while replicating the Zeus statue “The biggest challenge was the statue no longer existed. 3DPTree and museum curators teamed to conduct extensive research on how it would have looked, and later recreated it digitally.”

3d printed Zeus?

They chose 3DPTree an Atlanta based company to do the task for them. The museum researchers worked closely with the designers at 3DPTree and digitally replicated the statue which was ten 3D Printed using Stratasys Fortus 900mc 3D printer. The statue thus printed was colored to show its past glory and is now a part of The Games: Ancient Olympia to Atlanta to Rio art collection which shows the religious aspects of the Olympic Games, and its importance in the Greek history.  The Exhibition will open for general public on 20th of August 2016.

 I would want ever one to visit this amazing work of art and spread the news that 3D Printing is not just the tool to create new things but that its application can be as varied as the thought of the person who uses the tool.


Image Credit: Stratasys

Chris Joel (Author)

The Lost Statue of Zeus at Olympia recreated using 3D Printing
Chris Joel is a writer at 3D Printers Online Store. Hailing from South London, he has a degree in English Literature. His interests include the application of 3D printing technology to art and its popularization.