Born in Athens, Praxiteles was one of the most influential sculptors of Greece in the 300s B.C. His career covers the period from about 375 to 340 B.C. His father and his sons, Kephisodotos the Younger and Timarchos, were also sculptors. Praxiteles worked in both marble and bronze, but he was famous for his marble carving. He was a favorite artist among Roman collectors; although none of his original statues survive, we know his work from Roman copies and literary references.
Praxiteles introduced his own scheme of proportions for representing the human body, and it is said that he also invented new ways of depicting the gods. His male figures are noted for their elegantly curved poses, relaxed appearance, and an overall impression of softness. Praxiteles favored gods, personifications, mythological figures, and portraits. He experimented with new approaches to old subjects, as seen in his tendency to humanize divinities by portraying them as playful adolescents. His innovative approach had its strongest impact in his depiction of Aphrodite in the nude, which influenced most subsequent portrayals of the goddess.