Praxiteles is one of the most famous ancient Greek sculptors. His sculptures were more lifelike and naturalistic then most sculptures of his day, with detailed and realistic facial expressions and naturalistic poses. He invented the "Praxitlean curve" (a relaxed, slightly exaggerated contrapposto), and pioneered realism in hair -- mostly by making it curly. He is often credited with introducing the female nude to sculpture, which is obviously an exaggeration. He did start the trend of representing Aphrodite as a nude, his most famous sculpture being Aphrodite of Cnidus.
He was either the son or a close relative of the sculptor Kephisodotos
, who took him on as a pupil. Praxiteles had two sons, Kephisodotos the Younger
, both of whom were sculptors, although they were not nearly so famous as their father. I do not know who their mother was, but my guess would be Phyrne
, his favourite model (she posed for the above mentioned Aphrodite of Cnidus
, among many others).
Some of Praxiteles' other well know pieces are: Apollo Sauroktonos, The Pouring Satyr, and Hermes with the Infant Dionysus. Of his works, only Hermes with the Infant Dionysus still exists today, but many of his sculptures are known through Roman copies.
cbustapeck says: re Praxiteles: Actually, the Cleveland Museum of Art obtained what appears to be the original bronze of Apollo Sauroktonos. There is some skepticism, but in person it is simply amazing. http://www.clevelandart.org/exhibcef/apollo/html/