Ancient Greek History

Praxiteles – Famous Sculptor of Ancient Greece

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Although many of the historical figures in Ancient Greece may have been forgotten, their work still remains standing today. It is worth learning as much as we can about those who contributed so strongly to the culture of Ancient Greece. Praxiteles is one of the most celebrated Attic sculptors in Greece. Although there is very little information about him, some of his achievements still exist to remind us of his great work. Here’s more information:

About Praxiteles

Praxiteles was from Athens, and his father was also a renown sculptor. It is estimated that Praxiteles’ work dates back to the 4th century BC, and was the first sculptor to come up with a nude female form statue. Several copies of his work still exist up to date. In fact, various renown authors such as Pliny the Elder has written about his works. In addition to that, pictures of his sculptures were engraved on Roman coins.

It is believed that the work of Praxiteles was inspired by a presumed relationship between him and a beautiful model who was a courtesan in Thespian. Praxiteles’ sculptures are heavily dominated by marbles. This was because he could easily get high-quality marbles from the quarries which were at Parros. Some of his sculptors were painted by Nicias who was one of the best painters at that time. In fact, Praxiteles categorically stated that Nicias played a significant role in some of his best sculptors.

Praxiteles Sculpting Style

Praxiteles remains an icon due to the contribution that he made towards the growth of the Greece sculpture. He was passionate, and his sculptures tend to arouse some emotions. He used his sculptures to change the perception that people had towards the gods. He managed to bring out the human nature of the gods, thereby narrowing the gap between humans and their gods.

Although most sculptors during his time preferred to use bronze, Praxiteles chose a different path by using marbles. His main reason for selecting marbles is because they are soft and radiant-just like the human skin. Although bronze could give a perfect representation of the human anatomy, Praxiteles aimed to achieve more than this. He wanted an ideal image of a human being, including the outer surface. In fact, the exquisite finishing of the marbles could speak more about the personality of the subject. This unique path is what made him be among the best sculptors.

Subjects of His Sculptures

Praxiteles preferred to use young gods such as Apollo, Aphrodite, and Hermes. He avoided producing sculptures of elderly and more respected gods like Poseidon and Zeus. One of his outstanding pieces of sculptors was the Aphrodite of Knidos, which entered into the books of history as the first sculpture of a female nude. The people of Knidos bought this sculpture, and it became their treasure. In fact, it became a major tourist attraction.

Other famous subjects that were portrayed in Praxiteles’ sculptures include:

  • Hermes and Dionysus
  • Apollo Sauroktonos
  • Apollo Lykeios
  • Capitoline Satyr
  • Leto
  • Artemis
  • Leconfield Head
  • Aberdeen Head
  • Aphrodite of Cnidus

As a result of the immense success of the Praxiteles sculpture, several Roman copies have tried to imitate his work. However, they fail to achieve his standards due to his unique style and workmanship. His influence is still felt up to today. The sculptures that came after the 4th century BC drew their inspiration from the Praxiteles’ sculpture. Some even try to copy every detail of his work.


Praxiteles – Wikipedia

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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