Miniatures of Temple of Zeus take their place in namesake cafe

Looking at the two rows of miniature plaster casts watching over diners in Klarman Hall’s Temple of Zeus cafe, you’ll notice some of the figures are missing. But “art detective” Annetta Alexandridis, associate professor of history of art and of classics, is on the case.

Plaster cast replicas

Cornell University

Plaster cast replicas

The casts – replicas of the east and west pediments from the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece – were installed in the dining area in late March. It’s part of a larger salvage and restoration project of Cornell’s cast collection Alexandridis is co-curating with Verity Platt, professor of classics and history of art.

Assembly of the miniature pediment casts started when Alexandridis discovered one piece at a College of Arts and Sciences warehouse near Ithaca. She realized it must be part of a set, when she saw other miniature figures on shelves in the registrar’s offices. So she began searching for the rest.

Alexandridis started by sending emails to everyone in the college asking if they had a cast (they had been museum pieces, but dispersed years ago when the museum was turned into needed office space), then investigating fellow faculty members’ offices. “At one point, I thought it would be helpful if I could go undercover as a member of the cleaning staff at night,” Alexandridis said of her reconnaissance work.

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