Oil on canvas
390 x 763,5
State Russian Museum
Henryk Siemiradzki is famous in the history of Russian and European art as a singer of antiquity. His outstanding painterly mastery and profound knowledge of ancient archaeology won him many followers. The subject of this canvas is taken from ancient Greek history. Famed for her beauty, the hetaera Phrine was the favourite model of Praxiteles. Here she imitates Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, at one of the Eleusinia festivals. To the delight of onlookers, Phrine strips off her clothes, descends the steps and plunges into the water. The scene is constructed in the manner of a theatrical action played out against a magnificent background of southern nature flooded with sunlight.
Siemiradzk, Henryk Ippolitovich
1843, Pechenegi (Kharkiv Province) - 7902, Strzalkov (Poland)
Painter, author of pictures on historical and religious subjects, portraitist, landscape painter. Studied physics and mathematics at the Kharkiv University (until 1864) and art at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1864-70; occasional student). Contributed to exhibitions at the Imperial Academy of Arts (from 1867). Fellow of the Imperial Academy of Arts in Germany and Italy (1871-77). Academician (1873), professor (1877). Awarded the Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in Paris and the Legion d''hon-neur or The Luminaries of Christianity and La Femme ou la Coupe (1878). Councillor (1889) and full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1893). Member of the Academies of Arts of Berlin, Stockholm, Rome, Turin and Paris.