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Praxiteles(prăksĭt`əlēz), fl. c.370–c.330 B.C., famous Attic sculptor, probably the son of CephisodotusCephisodotus
, Gr. Kephisodotos, fl. 4th cent. B.C., two Greek sculptors. The elder, the master and probably the father or the brother of Praxiteles, is noted for the statue Irene and Plutus [Peace and Wealth]. The original was erected on the Areopagus at Athens c.
..... Click the link for more information. . His Hermes with the Infant Dionysus, found in the Heraeum, Olympia, in 1877, is the only example of an undisputed extant original by any of the greatest ancient masters. It was discovered in the same place where PausaniasPausanias,
fl. A.D. 150, traveler and geographer, probably b. Lydia. His Description of Greece is an invaluable source for the topography, monuments, and legends of ancient Greece. There are translations by J. G. Frazer and W. H. S. Jones.
..... Click the link for more information. had seen it 17 centuries earlier. The workmanship of the sculptor can be judged directly from it—the delicate and perfect modeling, as well as the strength and grace of conception, are characteristic of his figures. His most renowned statues are lost entirely or known only through Roman imitations. Out of some 50 works mentioned as his in ancient writings, the one chosen as finest of all was the Aphrodite of Cnidus. There is a copy in the Vatican. Of the Eros of Thespiae, only the fame remains. Praxiteles made several statues of young satyrs; the one in the Capitoline Museum (Rome) is celebrated in Hawthorne's Marble Faun. Other copies of the sculptor's works are Apollo Sauroktonus (Vatican); Apollino (Florence); and Silenus and Dionysus (Louvre). All of these illustrate his choice of youthful gods and other beings in which joy of life finds expression. Praxiteles' modeling of face and hair and his treatment of the surface of the marble are unsurpassed. Praxiteles also created works in bronze, e.g., the Apollo Sauroktonos described by Pliny the ElderPliny the Elder
(Caius Plinius Secundus) , c.A.D. 23–A.D. 79, Roman naturalist, b. Cisalpine Gaul. He was a friend and fellow military officer of Vespasian, becoming eventually an army and naval commander and imperial official, and he dedicated his great work to Titus.
..... Click the link for more information. in the 1st cent. A.D. The piece thought by many to be the original of this bronze was purchased by the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2004.
Born circa 390 B.C., in Athens; died circa 330 B.C. Ancient Greek sculptor, a representative of late classicism.
Praxiteles, the son and pupil of the sculptor Cephisodotus, worked primarily in Athens. His works, executed for the most part in marble, are known from ancient copies and the writings of ancient authors. The only original that has been preserved is the group Hermes with the Infant Dionysus (c. 340 B.C., Olympia Museum), which was found at Olympia. A number of scholars consider the Hermes to be a copy. In his early works, such as The Resting Satyr (c. 375 B.C.), Praxiteles basically followed the principles of Polyclitus. A contemplative mood predominates in his representations of the gods and goddesses. The artist attained an idyllic and sensitive spiritual quality through an extremely refined working of the marble and a virtuoso play of light and shadow. The latter causes the separate surfaces to flow smoothly into each other, giving the sculpture a “moist appearance.”
Among Praxiteles’ best-known works are Apollo Sauroktonos (Apollo Killing a Lizard, c. 370 B.C.), Aphrodite of Cos (c. 360–350 B.C.), Aphrodite of Cnidus (c. 350 B.C.), and The Resting Satyr. The Aphrodite of Cos seems to have held a mirror, and the Aphrodite of Cnidus, Praxiteles’ most famous work in antiquity, is represented disrobing before bathing.
REFERENCESZeest, I. B. Praksitel’. Moscow, 1941.
Belov, G. D. Praksitel’. Leningrad, 1973.
Rizzo, G. E. Prassitele. Milan-Rome, 1932.