The casts reproduce portions of the temple’s balustrade dedicated to Athena Níke (Victory) on the Acropolis in Athens. The temple was built between 430-420 BCE by the architect Kallikrates.
The Ionic temple has four columns on both its front and rear sections. Due to the temple’s small size, the entrance wall was replaced by a bronze gate situated between pillars. An Ionic frieze, representing episodes of the Persian Wars, ran along the upper exterior walls. Around 410 BCE, the temple was equipped with an elegant balustrade made of Pentelic marble, decorated by Nikai (Victories) sacrificing and raising trophies in front of Athena, the goddess of the city. In the image of a Nike adjusting her sandal, the solid volumes of her body and the wet-looking folds of her garment suggest that the relief was executed by an artist trained under Phidias at the Parthenon. The temple’s decorative program highlighted both Athens’ ambitions and its past victories at a time of crisis during the Peloponnesian War against Sparta (431-404 BCE).