previous next


Athens: The Postwar Generation

Aside from the gravestone-carvers, who remain completely anonymous, about a dozen Attic sculptors are attested for the earlier fourth century; all are known only through one or two signatures or literary references, with two exceptions: Demetrios of Alopeke and the elder Kephisodotos.


Demetrios of Alopeke

Demetrios

No patronymic or exact dates are available for Demetrios, though the script of his signatures suggests a career from ca. 400-360. His recorded works, probably all bronzes and all portraits except no. 1, are:

  • Athena
  • Dedication to Athena by the tribe Kekropis, on the Akropolis
  • Dedication to Athena by Aristogenes of Aixone, on the Akropolis
  • Athena's priestess Lysimache, on the Akropolis
  • Kephisodotos of Aithalia, on the Akropolis
  • Hippolochides son of Thrasymedes and [....]sieus, dedicated by the latter on the Akropolis
  • The horse-breeder Simon
  • The Corinthian general Pellichos, later in a private collection in Athens (T 91
In addition, two inscribed base-fragments from the Akropolis may have supported a dedication of his, though the association is not absolutely certain, and the script seems to pre-date most of his signatures: Raubitschek 1949, no. 143. Of the others, Pliny N.H. 34.76 relates that Lysimache (4) was priestess for 64 years, and an inscribed base from the Akropolis (IG 22 no. 3453) may belong to this monument; for though the names of both subject and artist are lost, it mentions "[six]ty-four years [service] to Athena" and stresses the woman's great age. The size of the base and foot-prints suggest a smallish figure; for this and other reasons Berger 1968 has proposed a statue of an old woman in Basel as a copy. Its once-inset head is lost, but two heads in Rome and London (London 2001; Stewart 1990, fig. 488), long conjectured to copy the Lysimache, conform in both scale and type. The features are lined and drawn, with sunken eyes and furrowed brow, just as one should expect from an artist notorious for his realism (T 3; see further below).

Yet a pyramid of mutually-supporting hypotheses is not proof, and others prefer the evidence of Roman terracotta plaques showing Eurykleia in very similar guise, attending the mourning Penelope (cf. Hom. Od. 19ff). This raises other problems, however, including whether the "mourning Penelope" type, known in several versions including one from Persepolis (buried when Alexander burnt the palace in 330), belongs: this is usually dated to ca. 460 (cf. Ridgway 1970, 101-5), the Basel statue to ca. 430, and the Akropolis base to ca. 370! The issue remains moot, though a snippet of evidence so far ignored in the debate is Strab. 14.1.23, describing wax images of Penelope and Eurykleia at Ephesos by one Thrason (EAA q.v.): matrixes for stolen bronzes?

Demetrios' other works are equally problematic. (7) may be the Simon who was cavalry commander in 424; Xenophon, On Horsemanship 1.1 records his debt to Simon "who wrote on horsemanship" and mentions a dedication in the Agora of a bronze horse with a pedestal-reliefs showing the man's exploits: is this Pliny's statue or another? Finally (8) is known only through Lucian's satires:

“"When you came in the hall," he said, "didn't you notice a totally gorgeous statue up there, by Demetrios the portraitist?"

"Surely you don't mean the discus-thrower . . .?" "[No not that one, nor the Diadoumenos, nor the Tyrannicides, but] perhaps you saw the one by the fountain with a pot belly, a bald head, half exposed by the hang of his cloak, with some of the hairs of his beard blown by the wind, and with big, conspicuous veins, just like the man himself, that's the one I mean; he's thought to be Pellichos, the Corinthian general." "Good God," said I, "I saw it on the right of the spout, wearing fillets and withered wreaths, its chest covered with gilded leaves!" "I put on the gilt leaves myself," said Eukrates, "when it cured me of the gout that was torturing me every other day."

Lucian, Philopseudes 18
This is extremely suspicious. Described by a notorious liar and only "thought" to be Pellichos, the statue appears in the middle of a satirical dialogue, accompanied by Myron's Diskobolos (T 44), the Diadoumenos (T 62), and the Tyrannicides (T 31-32), as a comic foil to these acknowledged masterpieces of classic beauty, all supposedly in the liar's own private collection. In fact, it soon transpires that its inclusion is merely the pretext for a double joke: that the liar only prizes it because it cures the gout, and that it is so lifelike that it actually walks the house at night, singing and taking baths. To such fantasizing the narrator can only retort that if so, it ought rather to be wooden, and made by Daidalos (cf. T 10-11)!

In fact, since (1) the only known Pellichos was the father of a commander active ca. 434, (2) Demetrios is not otherwise attested to have worked outside Athens or on non-Athenians, (3) a statue of a Corinthian general erected inside Athens would be quite extraordinary in this period, and (4) in any case such a monument could never have been removed from the Agora or Akropolis to a private house, the likelihood is that the entire description was manufactured for comic effect. Of course, Lucian knew his sculpture and here if anywhere seems concerned to be plausible in his descriptions (cf. T 44), so that with T 3 this still ranks as an extremely valuable source for this radical and uncompromising realist, even if Pellichos himself better belongs in fantasy land.

Select bibliography: Overbeck 1868/1959, nos. 897-903; Löwy 1885/1976 nos. 62-64; Stuart-Jones 1895/1966, 188-90; RE 4: 2850-51 (Robert, 1901); ThB 9: 52-53 (Amelung, 1913); Picard 1935-1971 (vol. 3): (Picard/Manuel) 125-50; Raubitschek 1949, 488; Lippold 1950, 226; EWA 2: 108 (Richter, 1958); EAA 3: 68-69 (Cressedi, 1960); Richter 1965, 155, figs. 877-79; Berger 1968; Zinserling 1968; Metzler 1971, 314-26; Hiller 1972; Pollitt 1974, 83, 131, 425, 432-33; M. Robertson 1975, 504-06; Pollitt 1990, 89-90, 222-23.


Kephisodotos (I) of Athens

Kephisodotos (I)

The names Kephisodotos and Praxiteles apparently alternated in this family (cf. T 1), suggesting that Kephisodotos I was indeed the father of the great Praxiteles (see T 93-106, below). T 1 gives his floruit as 372-369; this coincides with the most likely date for his most famous work, the Eirene (Munich GL 219; 5, below). According to Plutarch, Phokion 19, his sister became the first wife of this Athenian statesman (b. 402), which already bespeaks a certain standing for the family in Athenian society. His recorded works are:

  • Hermes and the young Dionysos, in bronze
  • Athena (and Zeus?) at Piraeus, in bronze
  • Altar of Zeus Soter, in the same location
  • Muses on Mt. Helikon, with others by Strongylion, later taken to Constantinople
  • Eirene holding the infant Ploutos, in the Athenian Agora (T 92
  • "Gesturing orator", in bronze
  • A dedication to Athena Pronaia at Delphi
Some recognize (1) in a Renaissance drawing and an (eclectic) statue in Madrid, while Waywell 1971 connects (2) — where the MSS of N.H. 34.74 actually read "Cephisodorus" — with the Piraeus Athena (Piraeus Museum; Stewart 1990, fig. 511), even though the latter was buried out of sight long before Pausanias' visit (1.1.3); Palagia 1980 prefers an attribution to Euphranor. In fact only the Eirene (Munich 219; Stewart 1990, figs. 485-87) can be identified with certainty, thanks to Pausanias' note concerning a similar work in Thebes:

“[At Thebes] is a sanctuary of Tyche [Fortune], who carries the child Ploutos [Wealth]. According to the Thebans, the hands and face of the image were made by Xenophon of Athens, and the rest by Kallistonikos, a native. It was a clever idea of theirs, to place Ploutos in the arms of Tyche, and so to suggest that she is his mother or nurse. Equally clever was the conception of Kephisodotos, for he made the image of Eirene [Peace] for the Athenians with Ploutos in her arms.

“[In the Athenian Agora], after the statues of the Eponymous heroes come images of the gods, Amphiaraos, and Eirene carrying the child Ploutos.

The Baiae finds include fragments of a cast of the Ploutos. Other attributions (e.g. Hill 1974) seem somewhat optimistic given the evidence at hand, though one can conjecture that Kephisodotos was a less radical figure than Demetrios, making cult statues in the Attic tradition yet cautiously experimenting with new subjects and modes of rendering.

Select bibliography: Overbeck 1868/1959, nos. 1137-43; Imhoof-Blumer 1887/1964, 147; Stuart-Jones 1895/1966, 118, 149-51; RE 11: 232-35 (Lippold, 1921); ThB 20: 163-66 (Bieber, 1927); Picard 1935-1971 (vol. 3): (Picard/Manuel) 77-125; Lacroix 1949, 295-300; Lippold 1950, 223-25; Marcadé 1953, 51-52; EWA 2: 105-06 (Richter, 1958); EAA 4: 342-44 (Mustilli, 1961); Bieber 1961b, 14-15; Künzl 1968, 8-12; Richter 1970d, 197-98; Waywell 1971; Borbein 1973, 115-19; La Rocca 1974; Hill 1974; M. Robertson 1975, 287, 383-86; Jung 1976; Vierneisel-Schlörb 1979, 255-66; Harward 1982a; Landwehr 1985, 103 no. 63 (Ploutos, cast); LIMC 3: 703 no. 8 (Volkommer, 1986); Pollitt 1990, 72, 83-84; Stewart 1990, 14, 28, 34, 173-74, 176, 177, 179, 237, 275-76, 324.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: