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Paeonius (or Paionios) of Mende, Chalkidiki was a Greek sculptor of the late 5th century BC. He most likely received his early training in Northern Greece and is thought to have later adapted Athenian stylistic elements into his own work, based upon his probable interaction with the Olympia workshop of Pheidias.
The only work that can be positively attributed to him is the statue of Nike (c. 420 BC) discovered at Olympia. According to the inscription on the base, it was commissioned by the people of Messenia and Naupactus as a victory dedication from an unnamed conflict. Given the historical events in this period, scholars most often consider it connected with the Peloponnesian War, likely the joint victory of the Athenian-Naupactian allies over Sparta in the battle of Sphacteria, 425 BC.
Paeonius also won the commission to decorate the acroteria of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, as described in the pedestal inscription. An ancient account also references Paeonius' work at Olympia. Pausanias attributes the front (east) pedimental sculptures of the Temple of Olympian Zeus to Paeonius. Despite this assertion, scholars continue to debate the reliability of this attribution based upon the various interpretations of the scant additional evidence.
Nike by Paeonius featured prominently in the design of medals of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and likely influenced later artistic renderings of victory personified. It is on permanent exhibition at the Archaeological Museum of Olympia.
- Murray, A S (1890). A History of the Sculpture of Greece. J. Murray. p. 498.