Son of the
sculptor Cephisodotos, Praxiteles was to be the most popular artists in the
ancient world. Many of his sculpturs were copied: and his work is mainly known
through ancient descriptions and Roman marble copies.
One of his original statues, the Hermes statue in Olympia, with the god carrying a young Dionysos as a baby on his arm, has survived. Praxiteles bronzestatue of Eirine, godess of Peace, was put on the square of Athens in 370 BC and he founded a new god-ideal. Apollon, who used to be pictured as a serious and harsh avenger, was portraited as a youngster. For example, his statue Apollon Sauroktonos, the Lizardkiller, has the a young mans body, soft and beautiful. He also made a satyr, and.
Praxiteles' statues were made to be watched from all angles. He was also celebrated for his satyrs. His sculptures of the female body as completely different from the male was also an invention much praised. The most famous example is the Cnidic Aphrodite, just about to take a bath, for the first time depicted start naked. He also made other statues of the godess, and of her son Eros.
The sculptors' model was also his mistress, the hetar Phrynes. She also modeled for other artists, and according to Cicero she was once brought to court, charged with impiety. When her defender pulled her clothes off and showed the jury her magnificent breasts, after a brilliant speech, she was aquitted.