Girls instead of columns. What an unorthodox idea for the most unorthodox of the Greek temples, the Erechtheum (or Erechtheion, as we Greeks call it). Yet it worked so beautifully here that it inspired countless imitations, across the centuries.
The Caryatids may all look the same, locked in the same pose and wearing the same kind of loose dress that was the fashion those days, but in fact they are all different. It’s something like any age’s teenagers – all wearing the same clothes, like a uniform, but all different if you take care to look more closely. Of course, on the Acropolis, you can’t get near their small balcony, which is being restored, but this is no great loss as these caryatids are copies. The originals were removed for preservation and can now be seen at the New Acropolis Museum. If you get there, notice at all their different hairdos and the slight differences in the way their clothes are draped. These differences would have been enhanced by painting, as statues in antiquity were all painted – the plain white marbles we see today are just a result of time washing away the colours.