Saturday, August 8, 2015

24 Works, The world's first supermodel, Phryne

Phryne at the Poseidonia in Eleusis, c. 1889
Henryk Siemiradzki
Oil on Canvas
Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Phryne's real name was Mnēsarétē ("commemorating virtue"), but owing to her yellowish complexion she was called Phrýnē ("toad"). This was a nickname frequently given to other courtesans and prostitutes as well. The exact dates of her birth and death are unknown, but she was born about 371 BC. In that year Thebes razed Thespiae not long after the battle of Leuctra and expelled its inhabitants.

The Hémicycle
Paul Delaroche (1797–1856)
Oil and wax on wall

This painting replicates Delaroche's most famous work, a mural in oils and wax (1836-41) in the auditorium of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France's most prestigious art school. Delaroche's pupil, Charles Béranger, is thought to have begun this replica in 1841, but the master completed it following his pupil's death in 1853. It provided a basis for L.-P. Henriquel-Dupont's engraving reproducing the composition.

Central portion of "The Hémicycle"
Phryne at the Festival of Poseidon
Paul Delaroche
Oil and wax on wall
École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris

Athenaeus Naucratita, a Greek rhetorician and grammarian, provides many anecdotes about Phryne. He praises her beauty, writing that on the occasion of the festivals of the Eleusinia and Poseidonia she would let down her hair and step naked into the sea. This would have inspired the painter Apelles to create his famous picture of Aphrodite Anadyomene (Rising from the Sea also portrayed at times as Venus Anadyomene). Supposedly the sculptor Praxiteles, who was also her lover, used her as the model for the statue of the Aphrodite of Knidos.

Praxiteles of Athens
The Aphrodite of Knidos

The Aphrodite of Knidos was one of the most famous works of the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles of Athens (4th century BC). It and its copies are often referred to as the Venus Pudica ("modest Venus") type, on account of her covering her naked pubis with her right hand. Variants of the Venus Pudica (suggesting an action to cover the breasts) are the Venus de' Medici or the Capitoline Venus.

Praxiteles produced two more statues for her, a statue of Eros which was consecrated in the temple of Thespiae 

Praxiteles Giving Phryne his Statue of Cupid
Angelica Kauffmann
Swiss, 1741-1807
Praxiteles Giving Phryne his Statue of Cupid, 1794
Oil on canvas
43.3 x 48.6 cm (17 1/16 x 19 1/8 inches)

and a statue of Phryne herself which was made of solid gold and consecrated in the temple of Delphi. 

Purple and Gold: Phryne the Superb! - Builder of Temples
James McNeill Whistler (11 July 1834 - 17 July 1903)
Purple and Gold: Phryne the Superb! - Builder of Temples
Date: 1898.01
236 x 137 mm (9 1/4" x 5 3/8")

Athenaeus alleges she was so rich that she offered to fund the rebuilding of the walls of Thebes, which had been destroyed by Alexander the Great in 336 BC, on the condition that the words "Destroyed by Alexander, restored by Phryne the courtesan" be inscribed upon them.

The best known event in Phryne's life is her trial. Athenaeus writes that she was prosecuted for a capital charge of impiety, and defended by the orator Hypereides, who was one of her lovers. When it seemed as if the verdict would be unfavourable, Hypereides removed Phryne's robe and bared her breasts before the judges to arouse their pity. 

File:Jean-Léon Gérôme, Phryne revealed before the Areopagus (1861) - 01.jpg
Phryne revealed before the Areopagus (1861)
Jean-Léon Gérôme
Oil on canvas
80 × 128 cm (31.5 × 50.4 in)
Kunsthalle Hamburg

Her beauty instilled the judges with a superstitious fear, who could not bring themselves to condemn "a prophetess and priestess of Aphrodite" to death. They decided to acquit her out of pity.

File:Jose Frappa - Phryne.jpg
Phryne, c. 1904
Jose Frappa
Oil on canvas
Musée d'Orsay

Due to her beauty, she also inspired much later works:

Franz Von Stuck - Phryne
Franz von Stuck, 1863-1928
Phryne, c.1917/18 
Greek hetaera, 4th C BC., accused of atheism; narrator Hypereides achieves her acquittal by unveiling her body. Oil on paperboard
51 x 32,5cm

File:Phryne seduces the philosopher Xenocrates, Angelica Kauffmann 1794.jpg
Angelica Kauffman, (1741–1807)
Phrine seduces Xenocrates, 1794
Oil on canvas

Salvator Rosa, (1615 - 1673)
Phryne Tempting Xenocrate

The famous Greek courtesan Phryne (4thC BC fl.) reclining invitingly to left against a cushion, pointing and looking towards the philosopher Xenocrates (396 BC - 314 BC), who draws back. Phryne tested the legendary self-control of Xenocrates, one of Plato's successors and scholarch/rector of the Academy 339-314 BC. 

Joseph Mallord William Turner ‘Phryne Going to the Public Baths as Venus: Demosthenes Taunted by Aeschines’, exhibited 1838
Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775–1851
Phryne Going to the Public Baths as Venus, c. 1838

Oil paint on canvas
1930 x 1651 mm

Phryne at Eleusis
William Shackleton
Phryne at Eleusis, c. 1907
Oil on canvas
100.5 x 140.5 cm

Bronze, 27"x15", 1948
Albert Wein
Phryne Before the Judges, c. 1948

ANTONIO PARREIRAS, (Brazilian, 1860- 1937)
PHRYNE, c. 1909
Oil on canvas
48 1/2 in. x 72 1/2 in.

This painting was exhibited at the Salon Societe-Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1910

James Pradier, (1790-1852)
Phryné remettant ses voiles
Sand cast bronze, 1845.
H. 39.8 cm (15 ½ in.)
Louvre Museum

Joseph Mallord William Turner ‘Study for a Composition: ?Phryne’, c.1804–10
Joseph Mallord William Turner, (1775–1851)
Study for a Composition: Phryne c.1804–10
Pen and ink on paper
138 x 300 mm

Joseph Mallord William Turner, (1775–1851)
Study for a Composition: Phryne c.1802–10
Pen and ink on paper
140 x 302 mm

Percival Ball, (17 Feb 1845 - 04 Apr 1900)
Phryne before Praxiteles, 1900
on the facade of the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Bronze relief
Singer and Sons, Foundry
2620.0 x 3440.0 cm

Phryne Posing for Praxiteles | by Dovid100
Percival Ball, (17 Feb 1845 - 04 Apr 1900)
Phryne before Praxiteles, 1900

Detail, see above

Louis Lagrenée THAT courtesan Phryne before their judges., Auction 846 Ancient Art, Lot 1345
Louis Lagrenée
Courtesan Phryne before their judges
Watercolor and pen and brown ink over white heightening on paper
H 17.2; B 19.3 cm

Phryne (w/c, pastel, pencil with pen and ink on paper) Posters & Prints by English School
English School
Bridgeman Art Library
pastel, pencil with pen and ink on paper

Phryne Before the Areopagus
Jean-Baptiste Deshays (French, Colleville 1729–1765 Paris)
Phryne Before the Areopagus, mid-18th century
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white, over black chalk
18 11/16 x 23 11/16 in. (47.5 x 60.2)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Patric Richmond Nicholas
Phryne Before the Areopagus

Acknowledgment: Wikipedia

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