previous next


Ἀλκαμένης), a distinguished statuary and sculptor, a native of Athens. (Plin. Nat. 36.5. s. 4.) Suidas (s. v.) calls him a Lemnian (if by Alcamenes he means the artist). This K. O. Muller (Arch. der Kunst. p. 96) interprets to mean that he was a cleruchus, or holder of one of the κλῆροι in Lemnos. Voss, who is followed by Thiersch (Epochen der bild. Künst, p. 130), conjectured that the true reading is Αίμνιος, and accordingly that Alcamenes was born in the district called the Αίμναι, which is in some degree confirmed by his having made a statue of Dionysus in gold and ivory to adorn a temple of that god in the Lenaeum, a part of the Limnae. (Paus. 1.20.2.) He was the most famous of the pupils of Phidias, but was not so close an imitator of his master as Agoracritus. Like his fellow-pupil, he exercised his talent chiefly in making statues of the deities. By ancient writers he is ranked amongst the most distinguished artists, and is considered by Pausanias second only to Phidias. (Quint. Inst. 12.10.8; Dionys. De Demosth. acum. vol. vi. p. 1108, ed. Reiske; Paus. 5.10.2.) He flourished from about Ol. 84 (Plin. Nat. 34.8. s. 19) to Ol. 95 (B. C. 444-400). Pliny's date is confirmed by Pausanias, who says (8.9.1), that Praxiteles flourished in the third generation after Alcamnenes; and Praxiteles, as Pliny tells us, flourished about Ol. 104 (B. C. 364). The last works of his which we hear of, were the colossal statues of Athene and Hercules, which Thrasybulus erected in the temple of Hercules at Thebes after the expulsion of the tyrants from Athens. (B. C. 403.) The most beautiful and renowned of the works of Alcamenes was a statue of Venus, called from the place where it was set up, ἐν κήποις Ἀφροδίτη. (Lucian, Imagines, 4, 6; Paus. 1.19.2.) It is said that Phidias himself put the finishing touches to this work. (Plin. Nat. 36.5. s. 4.) The breasts, cheeks, and hands were especially admired. It has been supposed by some that this was the Venus for which he gained the prize over Agoracritus. There is no direct evidence of this, and it is scarcely consistent with what Pliny says, that Alcamenes owed his success more to the favouritism of his fellow-citizens than to the excellence of his statue. Another celebrated specimen of his genius was the western pediment of the temple at Olympia, ornamented with a representation of the battle between the Centaurs and the Lapithae. (Paus. 5.10.2.) Other works of his were: a statue of Mars in the temple of that god at Athens (Paus. 1.8.5); a statue of Hephaestus, in which the lameneess of the god was so ingeniously represented as not to give the appearance of deformity (Cic. De Nat. Deor. 1.30; V. Max. 8.11. ext. 3); an Aesculapius at Mantineia (Paus. 8.9.1); a three-formed Hecate (the first of the kind), and a Procne in the Acropolis at Athens (Paus. 2.30.2, 1.24.3); and a bronze statue of a victor in the Pentathlon. (Plin. Nat. 34.8. s. 19.) A story of very doubtful credibility is told by Tzetzes (Chil. 8.193), that Alcamenes and Phidias contended in making a statue of Athene, and that before the statues were erected in their destined elevated position, that of Aleamenes was the most admired on account of its delicate finish; but that, when set up, the effect of the more strongly defined features in that of Phidias caused the Athenians to change their opinion.

On a Roman anaglyph in the villa Albani there is the following inscription :


If this contains the name of the artist, he would seem to have been a descendant of an Alcamenes, who had been the slave and afterwards the freedman of one of the Lollian family, and to have attained to the dignity of deenrio and duumvir in some municipium. He perhaps exercised the art of carving as an amateur. (Winckelmann, 8.4, 5.)


hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
444 BC (1)
403 BC (1)
400 BC (1)
364 BC (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: