atlantes (ătlănˈtēz) [key] [Latin plural of Atlas], sculptured male figures serving as supports of entablatures, in place of a column or pier. The earliest (c.480–460 B.C.) and most important example from antiquity is in the Greek temple of Zeus at Agrigento, Sicily. The baroque architecture of the 17th cent. made considerable use of atlantes, as did the classical revival in the early 19th cent. Female supporting figures are called caryatids.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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