1. A celebrated Athenian sculptor, whose sister was the first wife of Phocion. (Plut. Phoc. 19
He is assigned by Pliny (34.8. s. 19.1
) to the 102nd Olympiad (B. C. 372), an epoch chosen probably by his authorities because the general peace recommended by the Persian king was then adopted by all the Greek states except Thebes, which began to aspire to the first station in Greece. (Heyne, Antiq. Aufs.
i. p. 208.) Cephisodotus belonged to that younger school of Attic artists, who had abandoned the stern and majestic beauty of Phidias and adopted a more animated and graceful style.
It is difficult to distinguish him from a younger Cephisodotus, whom Sillig (p. 144), without the slightest reason, considers to have been more celebrated.
But some works are expressly ascribed to the elder, others are probably his, and all prove him to have been a worthy contemporary of Praxiteles. Most of his works which are known to us were occasioned by public events, or at least dedicated in temples.
This was the case with a group which, in company with Xenophon of Athens, he executed in Pentelian marble for the temple of Zeus Soter at Megalopolis, consisting of a sitting statue of Zeus Soter, with Artemis Soteira on one side and the town of Megalopolis on the other. (Paus. 8.30.5
.) Now, as it is evident that the inhabitants of that town would erect a temple to the preserver of their new-built city immediately after its foundation, Cephisodotus most likely finished his work not long after Ol. 102. 2. (B. C. 371.)
It seems that at the same time, after the congress of Sparta, B. C. 371, he executed for the Athenians a statue of Peace, holding Plutus the god of riches in her arms. (Paus. 1.8.2
.) We ascribe this work to the elder Cephisodotus, although a statue of Enyo is mentioned as a work of Praxiteles' sons, because after Ol. 120 we know of no peace which the Athenians might boast of, and because in the latter passage Pausanias speaks of the plan of Cephisodotus as equally good with the work of his contemporary and companion Xenophon, which in the younger Cephisodotus would have been only an imitation.
The most numerous group of his workmanship were the nine Muses on mount Helicon, and three of another group there, completed by Strongylion and Olympiosthenes. (Paus. 9.30.1
.) They were probably the works of the elder artist, because Strongylion seems to have been a contemporary of Praxiteles, not of his sons. (Comp. Sillig. p. 432.)
Pliny mentions two other statues of Cephisodotus (34.8. s. 19.27), one a Mercury nursing the infant Bacchus, that is to say, holding him in his arms in order to entrust him to the care of the Nymphs, a subject also known by Praxiteles' statue (Paus. 9.39.3
), and by some bassorelievos, and an unknown orator lifting his hand, which attitude of Hermes Logeos was adopted by his successors, for instance in the celebrated statue of Cleomenes in the Louvre, and in a colossus at Vienna. (Meyer's Note to Winckelmann,
It is probable that the admirable statue of Athena and the altar of Zeus Soter in the Peiraeeus (Plin. Nat. 34.8. s. 19.14
) -- perhaps the same which Demosthenes decorated after his return from exile, B. C. 323 (Plut. Dem. 100.27
, Vit. X Orat.
p. 846d.)--were likewise his works, because they must have been erected soon after the restoration of the Peiraeeus by Conon, B. C. 393.