Gustave Boulanger (1824-1888)
On a luxurious bed, lounging against soft, colorful cushions and throws, an ‘oriental’ figure fixes her challenging gaze on the viewer. Her white robe has slipped from her body, and she wears nothing more than some jewelry and a kind of headdress. She playfully fingers her necklace with one hand, while the other holds a mirror with an elaborately decorated handle. Her name can be found on the green pillow to her left: Phryne. Phryne was a true femme fatale and the painter, Gustave Boulanger, sought to express this in her seductive pose. She had many lovers, among them the celebrated Greek sculptor Praxiteles. She was his model for a famous statue of the Greek goddess of love, the Knidian Aphrodite. This artwork – and thus Phryne – introduced an erotic component into classical sculpture.