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Early Hellenistic Athens

Over forty Athenian sculptors are known from ca. 330 through the late third century (Stewart 1979, 158-61), but only a handful appear in the literature; fortunately, epigraphy provides much information about commissions, shifts in the art market (particularly after Athens' defeat in the Chremonidean War of 266-261), and other issues. The following selection includes some of the major personalities active to ca. 260; the "renegade" Xenokrates is treated among the pupils of Lysippos.

Kephisodotos (II) and Timarchos, sons of Praxiteles



As indicated above, these two were active around 345-290. Yet their mature work must have fallen during the Lykourgan administration of 336-324, when they also paid heavy naval liturgies (IG 22 nos. 1628, lines 57, 68, 74, 11; 1629, line 674; 1633, line 100; cf. J.K. Davies 1971 no. 8334; Stewart 1979, 106; Lauter 1980). So Pliny's floruit of 296-293 (T 1) must originally have been calculated either by simple association with their Peloponnesian counterparts, the pupils of Lysippos (for Lysippos' own floruit in 328-325 naturally determined theirs, a generation later), or from the death of Menander (no. 12, below) around 293/2. The latter is less likely, since only Pausanias mentions the statue Paus. 1.21.1 but without naming its authors, who remained anonymous till the inscribed base was found in 1862.

Kephisodotos was clearly the principal; his known works, including those where Timarchos assisted, are as follows:

    • Aphrodite of marble, later in Rome (T 134, cf. 167)
    • Artemis of marble, ditto (T 134
    • Asklepios of marble, ditto (T 134
    • Enyo, in the temple of Ares at Athens (with Timarchos)
    • Leto of marble, later in Rome (T 134, cf. T 90
    • Zeus Soter (enthroned), flanked by Megalopolis and Artemis Soteria, in Pentelic marble, at Megalopolis. In collaboration with Xenophon of Athens
    Architectural sculpture
    • Embellishment of an Altar of Asklepios, probably at Kos (with Timarchos: T 135
    • The Altar of Athena at Thebes (with Timarchos)
    • The poetess Anyte of Tegea in bronze, later in Rome (with Euthykrates of Sikyon? T 136
    • Dion and Diokleia, dedicated by their father Aristogeitos at Megara (with Timarchos)
    • Lykourgos and his sons in wood, at Athens(?) (with Timarchos)
    • Menander, in the Theater of Dionysos at Athens (with Timarchos)
    • The poetess Myro of Byzantium in bronze, later in Rome (T 136
    • Philylla, dedicated by her mother Philia to Demeter and Kore, in the Agora
    • A priestess of Athena in bronze, on the Akropolis (with Timarchos)
    • Statues of philosophers in bronze
    Uncertain subject-matter
    • A dedication to Asklepios on the Akropolis
    • Dedication of Aischronides in bronze, on the Akropolis
    • Dedication of Kekropia to Demeter and Kore, Eleusis
    • Another dedication to Demeter and Kore, Eleusis
    • Another dedication [to Demeter and Kore], Eleusis
    • A statue at Chersonesos (in the Crimea)
    • A dedication of a priest to Apollo, Troezen
    • A 'symplegma' (erotic group) in marble, at Pergamon (T 134
Almost half of these (10, 12, 14, 15, 17-23) are known only from their inscribed bases; in addition, a single signature of Timarchos was found at Rome in 1874.

Clearly, the brothers not only inherited their clientele from their father, but continued to work in his favorite genres and techniques: marble for divinities, bronze for portraits (on the continuing Eleusinian connection here see esp. Harward 1982a). As for the works themselves, Pliny provides a brief introduction:

“The son of Praxiteles, Cephisodotus, inherited also his skill. His group of People Grappling (symplegma ) at Pergamon is much praised, being notable for the way in which the fingers seem really to sink into living flesh rather than marble. At Rome his works are a Leto in the Palatine temple, a Venus in the collection of Asinius Pollio, and the Asclepius and Diana in the shrine of Juno within the Porticus Octaviae.

Pliny N.H. 36.24
The stress on realism with regard to (24) echoes the concerns of e.g. T 3 (see commentary to T 133, above). This apart, Pliny obviously had no critical tradition to draw on, only a bare list of Kephisodotos' works in Rome. Of these, (1) was not the only Praxitelean piece in Pollio's collection (cf. T 167), while (5) is reproduced, with Timotheos' Artemis and Skopas' Apollo, on a relief commemorating Augustus' dedication of the Palatine cult group: cf. T 90. The cult complex for (6) dates these to after ca. 350.

Whereas we have no original fragments of these, or even copies in the round, the finds from (7) do seem persuasively post-Praxitelean (Classical Quarterly cf. Stewart 1990, figs. 604-05). An early Hellenistic poet describes a visit to what appears to be this complex (contra , somewhat speciously, I.A. Cunningham in Classical Quarterly N.S. 16 [1966]: 115-17):

Hail, Lord Paieon, ruler of Trikka, who dwells in sweet Kos and Epidauros too; hail Koronis too, who bore you, and Apollo, and Hygieia whom you touch with your right hand, and those whose honored altars are here too; hail to Panake, Epio, Ieso, and those who sacked house and walls of Leomedon, doctors of savage diseases, Podaleirios and Machaon, and all the gods and goddesses who inhabit your shrine, father Paieon. Come gracefully to accept this cock . . . .

O Kynno dear, what fair statues! What craftsman, pray, made this stone, and who set it up?

The sons of Praxiteles: don't you see the letters on the base? And Euthies son of Prexon set it up.

May Paieon be gracious with them and to Euthies for their fair works. [They then turn to admire other dedications before entering the temple with their offering].

Herondas, Mimiambos 4
No doubt most of the personages addressed by Kynno were figured on the altar. The Olympia Hermes (T 93) is probably also a post-Praxitelean original, as is a splendid female head from Chios (Boston 10.70; Stewart 1990, figs. 606-08).

Typically, Pliny confines his survey of Kephisodotean works at Rome to divinities; yet a second-century Christian apologist reveals that portraits of his were also there, and Coarelli 1971-72 has shown that he is almost certainly speaking of a display in Pompey's theater complex, dedicated in 55:

“Lysippos cast the bronze of Praxilla (who said nothing useful in her poetry), Menestratos the Learchis, Silanion the hetaira Sappho, Naukydes the Erinna from Lesbos, Boiskos the Myrtis, Kephisodotos the Myro of Byzantion, Gomphos the Praxigoris, and Amphistratos the Kleito. But what should I say about Anyte, Telesilla, and Mystis? The first is by Euthykrates and Kephisodotos, the second by Nikeratos, the third by Aristodotos. Euthykrates made for you the Mnesarchis of Ephesos, Silanion the Korinna, Euthykrates the Argive Thalarchis, [. . . lacuna . . .], Praxiteles and Herodotos the hetaira Phryne, and Euthykrates cast the Panteuchis made pregnant by a seducer. I set all this forth not having learned it from another, but [as a result of my trip to Rome where I saw the statues seized from you Greeks].

Tatian, Contra Graecos 33
Unfortunately, nothing of this dazzling array survives, and no copies have so far come to light; indeed, among (9)-(24) only the Menander (12) is presently identified: inscribed bust of Meander (Malibu 72.AB.108), head of Meander (Dumbarton Oaks 46.2; see Stewart 1990, figs. 610, 613).

Like their father, the brothers inspired no Hellenistic critic to consider their work in depth; even the epigrammatists apparently ignored them. In this respect, Greek sculpture's long twilight truly begins with them.

Select bibliography: (A) General: RE 11: 235-40 (Lippold, 1921); Bieber 1923/4; ThB 20: 166-67 (Bieber, 1927); Lippold 1950, 299-302; EAA 4: 344-45 (Mustilli, 1961); Bieber 1961b, 19-21, 51-54; Richter 1970d, 206-07; M. Robertson 1975, 383, 480, 518-19; Stewart 1979, 3-5, 136-37, 158-59: Stewart 1990, 46, 66-67, 71, 198-99, 238, 277, 295-97.

(B) Sources: Overbeck 1868/1959, nos. 1140, 1331-41; Löwy 1885/1976 nos. 108-12, 337, 491, 555; Stuart-Jones 1895/1966, 164-66; Marcadé 1953, 53-59; Gallet de Santerre 1983, 210-11, 272; Hebert 1989, nos. 107, 238, 336, 346, 368, 381, 447, 454, 517; Pollitt 1990, 111-12.

(C) Individual works: Imhoof-Blumer 1887/1964, 103-04, 124 (Zeus, Artemis); Richter 1965, 224-36; 1972, 7 (Menander); Coarelli 1971-72: 99-106 (portraits in Rome); Ashmole 1973 (Menander); M. Robertson 1975, 518-9 (the best account of the Menander controversy and its resolution, now purely of academic interest); Pfrommer 1984, 176 (Hermes); Zanker 1988, 240-41 (Leto); Ridgway 1990a, 163-64, 226-27 (Altar at Kos, Menander).

(D) Social standing: J.K. Davies 1971 no. 8334; Stewart 1979, 106-08; Lauter 1980; Stewart 1990, 66-67, 71, 192, 295.

Telesinos of Athens


Telesinos appears here only because of the long Delian inscription honoring him for his lavish donation of time, labor, and materials to the Asklepieion:

“Since Telesinos undertook to make for the Delians statues of Asklepios and Queen Stratonike; and since he donated them to the people and made the Asklepios of bronze and the Stratonike [of stone]; and since he made them well, on time, and [ ]; and since he personally restored all the other statues in the sanctuary that required it; and since he has chosen to be a benefactor of the sanctuary and the Delians for no monetary reward; BE IT RESOLVED (1) to praise Telesinos [the Athenian and to crown] him with a laurel crown and to [announce] at the festival of Apollo that [the Delian people] have given Telesinos the Athenian crown for his piety towards the Delian sanctuary and his goodwill towards the Delian people; (2) to appoint him honorary Athenian consul [proxenos ] and benefactor; (3) to give him and his descendants [the right to own land on Delos]; (4) to give him first right of hearing before the Council and people after the sacred business and that pertaining to other consuls and benefactors of the sanctuary and the Delians; (5) and to inscribe this decree on stone in the Council-chamber and the sanctuary, and set it up in the most convenient place.

IG 11.4 no. 514
Though this indicates a man of means, he may stand as a representative of that large but almost faceless throng of Hellenistic sculptors who, despite major commissions and handsome rewards, have nevertheless been all but erased from history. For his only recorded works, a sort of microcosm of Kephisodotos's, are:

  • Colossal Poseidon and Amphritrite, Tenos; akrolithic
  • Asklepios in bronze, Delos
  • Queen Stratonike in marble, Delos
  • A marble portrait (statuette) on Delos
Indeed, our only authority for (1), Clement of Alexandria 4.41 (cf. T 13, 14, 149) reads 'Telesios', so even this citation, a quote from the normally reliable Philochoros (FGH 328 F 176; cf. T 34, 48) is not quite certain. Excavations have yielded fragments of feet, hands, and faces from the temple: Etienne-Braun 1986, pls. 131-39. Philochoros died ca. 261, Stratonike ca. 270, giving a rough date for Telesinos' shadowy career.

Select bibliography: Overbeck 1868/1959, no. 1371; RE 5A: 385 (Lippold, 1934); ThB 32: 511 (Bieber 1938); Lippold 1950, 304; Marcadé 1957, 124; EAA 7: 676 (Moreno, 1966); Marcadé 1969, 73-74; Stewart 1979, 6, 108-09, 159; Etienne 1986 (Tenos); Ridgway 1990a, 218 (Tenos); Stewart 1990, 23, 28, 67, 71, 297, 317, 322.

Polyeuktos of Athens


Polyeuktos is known for only one work, the Demosthenes that survives in over 40 copies: Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek; see Stewart 1990, figs. 614-16. Though Pausanias 1.8.2 Paus. 1.8.2once again notes the statue and again not its author, others are more forthcoming:

“[Demosthenes, in exile and hunted by the Macedonians] asked for writing materials and wrote (so Demetrios of Magnesia says) the couplet that was later inscribed by the Athenians upon his portrait: “If your strength had been equal to your will, Demosthenes,
Never would the Greeks have been ruled by a Macedonian Ares.

The statue, a work of Polyeuktos, stands near the roped-off enclosure [in the Agora] and the Altar of the Twelve Gods.

Ps-Plutarch, Moralia 847A
A papyrus (POxy 15.1800 fr. 3) dates the commission to 280/79, while Plutarch, Demosthenes 31 adds that the statue "stood with its hands clasped", securing the identification beyond doubt.

Select bibliography: Overbeck 1868/1959, nos. 1365-68; ThB 27: 323 (v[on] L[ücken] 1933); Lippold 1950, 302-03; RE 21: 1629-30 (Lippold, 1952); EAA 3: 76-77 (Arias, 1960); Bieber 1961b, 66-67; Richter 1965, 215-23; 1971, 7; M. Robertson 1975, 511-12; Stewart 1979, 5, 135-36, 159; Pollitt 1986, 61-63; Hebert 1989, nos. 6-18; Pollitt 1990, 112; Ridgway 1990a, 224-26; Stewart 1990, 27, 199, 297, 325.

After the defeat of 261 Athens' sculptors left the city en masse. Some went to Rhodes, to join an already extensive array of portraitists with whose work time has dealt particularly savagely: though vast numbers of bronzes were displayed there even in Pliny's day (N.H. 34.36), the 'Adorans' [REF] alone survives, while Pliny himself only noted Chares' colossus (T 142), Philiskos' Muses (T 157), and the baroque-style mythological groups (T 167, T 171). Yet the signed bases record the activities of no fewer than 150 portraitists working on the island down to the sack of 42, including immigrants from all over the Aegean area: Marcadé 1969, 471-83; Goodlett 1991.

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