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4. Subjects from the Mythology of Apollo. This class contained one of the most celebrated statues of Praxiteles, namely the bronze figure of Apollo the Lizard-slayer (Plin. Nat. 34.8. s. 19.10 ; puberem Apollinem subrepenti Lacertae cominus insidiantem, quem Sauroctonon vocant ; comp. Martial, Mart. 14.172). Numerous copies of it exist ; some in marble, one in bronze, and several on gems. (Müller, Arch. d. Kunst, l.c. n. 7, Denkmäler, vol. i. pl. xxxvi. n. 147, a. b.)

There still remain numerous works of Praxiteles, a full enumeration of which will be found in Sillig. (Cut. Artif. s. v.) It was an undecided question among the ancients, whether the celebrated group of Niobe was the work of Praxiteles or of Scopas.

One point in the technical processes of Praxiteles deserves particular notice. It is recorded by Pliny that Praxiteles, on being asked which of his own works in marble he thought the best, replied, those in which Nicias had had a hand, "tantum," adds Pliny, "circumlitioni ejus tribucbat." (Plin. Nat. 35.11. s. 40.28.) In all probability, this circumlitio consisted in covering the marble with a tinted encaustic varnish, by which we can easily conceive how nearly it was made to resemble flesh. (See Dict. of Ant. art. Pictura, § viii.) It was probably from a confused recollection of this statement in his Greek authorities that Pliny had shortly before (l.c. 11. s. 39), mentioned Praxiteles as an improver of encaustic painting.

Praxiteles had two sons, who were also distinguished sculptors, Timarchus and Cephisodotus II. (Pseudo-Plut. Vit. X. Orat. pp. 843, 844; Paus. 1.8.5, 9.12.5.) Respecting the error by which some writers make a second Praxiteles out of the artist Pasiteles, see PASITELES, No. 2.


hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.8.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.12.5
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 34.8
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 35.11
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.172
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