Pheidias was and is considered the greatest sculpturer of the divine. He was also an architect and a painter.
We do not know much about him, except that he was Athenian and studied at Hageladas school in Argos. His first comission was a group of national heroes with Miltiades as a central figure, and the famous statesman Pericles ordered several sculptures for Athens from him.
Phidias made the statue of Zeus in Olympia, by his time considered his masterpiece. It was made of gold and ivory, and the people regularly oiled it so the materials would not crack. It was said that anyone who had seen the God's smile could nevere be truly unhappy again. Furthermore, he made an Aphrodite in Elis and an Athena in Plataiai.
He was very productive, and had many disciples working for him. His brother Panainos was a painter and helped him with the Zeus statue.
There are different stories about the end of his life. According to one source he was arrested for embezzlement in the work on the Athena statue by Pericles enemies and died in prison. According to another source he fled the country and died in prison in Elis. A third version is that he was convicted of impiety after putting portraits of himself and Pericles on the shield of Athena. According to Plutarch, Phidias was really the one that supervised the work on the Acropolis.