Beautiful Phryne

Posted on February 25, 2018 by Liz Toussaint

Phryne lived in Athens, around 300-400 BC.  She was a courtesan with a reputation, mostly for stepping nude into the sea with her hair down during festivals (see Phryne at the Poseidonia in Eleusis by Henryk Siemiradzki c. 1889).  

Phryne’s beauty, wit and intelligence were legendary.   

Escaping slavery, she became one of the richest Greek women of her time.  She was said to have inspired the well known Sandro Botticelli painting Venus Aphrodite Rising from the Sea sometimes called The Birth of Venus painted in the mid 1840s.

However, it was her skinny dipping habits that led her to be put on trial for offending the Gods, a crime for which if found guilty she would have been executed.  Ironically, baring herself in the very court in which she was on trial  is said to have caused the judges to have mercy.  The judges, confronted by Phryne’s naked and beautiful body, deemed her to be a divine creature and therefore unable to have profaned the Gods.

Phryne is depicted in the  courtroom in the painting Phryne before the Areopagus by French painter Jean-Léon Gérôme, c. 1861). 

In this classic, famously shy but naked stance, Phryne at Manon Antiques is as she stands before the Greek court.  Her classic pose was taken from the Siemiradzki painting and rendered in sculpture by the late 19th century French sculptor Alexandre Falguière.

Our Phryne has travelled a far to make her way to Manon.  She is an English origin, charming and genuine antique made of composite stone in the early 20th century, after the famous Falguière statue.  She was discovered by us in the garden of an old country estate in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire England where she had likely reposed for many years.  Her beautiful and uniquely weathered patina is testament to time.

Phryne is an exquisite antique piece in a beautiful dove grey, and adds classic elegance to any garden or courtyard.  

Phryne is 115cm tall and is $3,200.

 


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