Praxiteles

, a most celebrated Grecian sculptor, flourished, according to Pliny, in the 104th olympiad, that is, about 364 years before the Christian aera, He worked chiefly in Parian marble, to which he seemed to convey not only expression but animation. He was much attached to the beautiful Phryne, to whom he promised to give the very finest of his works, if she would select it. Not trusting to her own judgment in this matter, she contrived a stratagem, as Pausanias relates, to discover which he most esteemed. She ran to him in a pretended alarm, exclaiming that his workshop was on fire, when he immediately cried out, “If my Satyr and Cupid are not saved, I am ruined” Having thus learned his private thoughts, she took advantage of them in making her choice. His love for Phryne led him also to preserve her beauties by his art; and her statue, carved by him, stood afterwards in the temple at Deipni, between those of Archidamus king of Sparta, and Philip of Macedon. Grace and beauty prevailed in every work of Praxiteles and his statue of Venus clothed, which was bought by the inhabitants of Coos, was only surpassed by a naked figureof the same goddess, which was obtained by the Cnidians. It is uncertain whether any work of Praxiteles remains but an antique Cupid, formerly possessed by Isabella d’Este, of the ducal family of Mantua, was supposed to have been the production of his art. 2

2

Hayley’s Essay on Sculpture.