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Hermes des Praxiteles
Knidian Aphrodite, copy of the original
Knidian Aphrodite, partially clothed variant

Praxiteles ( Greek Πραξιτέλης Praxitélēs ; * around 390 BC in Athens ; † around 320 BC) is considered one of the most important sculptors of ancient Greece . He worked alongside Skopas and Lysipp in the late classical period .


Praxiteles was a student and probably a son of Kephisodotos 'the Elder and father of Kephisodotos' the Younger , who was also an important sculptor. He was contemporary and competitor of Skopas and is considered the most important representative of the younger Attic school .

Ancient authors praised him as one of the greatest sculptors. His works combine naturalness and psychologically fine expression. In addition, his sculptures are characterized by mastery in surface treatment, balance in body rhythms and a graceful shape. He made some statues out of Parian marble .

He was the creator of the youthful ideals of gods ( Dionysus , Aphrodite , Eros , Apollon , Artemis ) and overcame the sublime severity of Phidias .

Ancient writers mention around 50 works by him. Particularly famous were the Aphrodite of Knidos , the Eros of Thespiai , the lizard- slayer Apollon Sauroktonos and the resting satyr . A number of the most beautiful surviving satyr statues are said to be replicas of his works from later times, especially the copies of a youthful satyr pouring wine from a raised jug into a drinking horn. A dancing satyr was rescued from the sea off the Tunisian coast in 1998 and exhibited in the Louvre in 2007. Replicas of the Sauroktonos statue have also been preserved. The closest thing to the Knidian Aphrodite is a marble statue that is now in the Vatican museums .

Whether a large group of Niobe and their children were created by Praxiteles or by Skopas was a matter of dispute even in ancient times.

An original work by Praxiteles, the Hermes with the Dionysus boy mentioned by Pausanias , was found in Olympia in 1877 (see Hermes von Olympia ). The masterful marble treatment and the grace and softness of the shapes confirm the praise of ancient writers, who name Praxiteles on an equal footing with Phidias and Skopas .

Works (selection)

  • The pouring satyr (2nd quarter 4th century BC)
  • Aphrodite of Knidos (around 340 BC), (probably the best of the many copies of it in Rome , Vatican Museums)
  • Hermes of Olympia (around 340 BC, marble, Olympia Museum).


  • Antonio Corso: The art of Praxiteles. The development of Praxiteles' workshop and its cultural tradition until the sculptor's acme (364-1 BC). ( Studia archaeologica , Volume 133.) L'Erma di Bretschneider, Rome 2004. ISBN 88-8265-295-5 .
  • Antonio Corso: The art of Praxiteles II. The mature years. ( Studia archaeologica , Volume 153.) L'Erma di Bretschneider, Rome 2007. ISBN 978-88-8265-437-5 .
  • Antonio Corso: The art of Praxiteles III. The advanced maturity of the sculptor. ( Studia archaeologica , Volume 177.) L'Erma di Bretschneider, Rome 2010. ISBN 978-88-8265-575-4 .
  • Antonio Corso: The art of Praxiteles IV. The late phase of his activity. ( Studia archaeologica , Volume 190.) L'Erma di Bretschneider, Rome 2013. ISBN 978-88-913-0291-5 .
  • Antonio Corso: The art of Praxiteles V. The last years of the sculptor (around 340 to 326 BC). ( Studia archaeologica , Volume 198.) L'Erma di Bretschneider, Rome 2014. ISBN 978-88-913-0655-5 .
  • Reinhard Stupperich : Praxiteles . In: Kai Brodersen (ed.): Great figures of Greek antiquity. Beck, Munich 1999, pp. 287-295. ISBN 3-406-44893-3 .

Web link

Commons : Praxiteles  - album with pictures, videos and audio files