Athenian Agora - The Stoa Poikele (‘Painted Stoa’) Page 1
The Stoa Poikele or 'Painted Stoa' is situated to the north of Adrianou (Hadrian's Street), beyond the Panathenaic way and Eridanos stream, and therefore outside the present boundaries of the Agora. It can be seen through the fence from the terrace of one of the kafeneia. The Painted Stoa has been discovered relatively recently, in 1981, and only its west corner has so far been exposed. The adjacent building plots will have to be expropriated before excavations can be continued.
The exposed west corner shows that the Painted Stoa was 12.5 m deep and, if the usual proportions were followed, it will prove it to be at least 36 m long. The exterior columns were in the Doric order, the interior ones in the Ionic order. The Stoa was built out of beautifully hewn and carefully fitted limestone ashlar, with details (such as the Ionic capitals) in marble. Its construction date is 475-450 BC.
The Athenians of Classical times initially called the Stoa 'Peisianaktios' after the person who built it, Peisianax, the brother-in-law of the statesman Kimon. It was one of the most famous buildings of ancient Athens.
On its walls hung wooden panels with paintings of mythical and historical battle scenes by the most admired Classical painters: Polygnotos, Mikon and Panainos (the brother of the sculptor Pheidias).
By the late 4th century AD these paintings had been removed, but they were still there at the time of Pausanias' visit (in the 2nd century AD), to whom we owe a detailed description: