Phryne: cnidian Venus to movie star

Eleonora Cavallini

Abstract


Phryne, probably the most renowned Greek courtesan (especially because of the famous trial where she was defended by the public speaker Hyperides), was a source of artistic inspiration not only for the Greek sculptor Praxiteles, but also for modern painters, such as Angelica Kauffman, J.M.W. Turner and the French pompiers. In the XX century, Phryne has been "discovered" also by filmmakers. After the successful 'Altri tempi' by A. Blasetti (1952) where a gorgeous Gina Lollobrigida starred as a modern Phryne, Mario Bonnard directed a péplum entitled "Frine, cortigiana d'Oriente" (1953) starring Elena Kleus. Spite of the absurd title, probably chosen by the production with commercial purposes, the movie is not totally lacking in historical interest: Phryne is represented as a war refugee and as a fierce enemy of Alexander the Great, who had destroyed Thebae, chief town of the region where Phryne was born. As a matter of fact, a main role in the screenplay and direction appears to be due to young Sergio Leone.

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1973-9494/478

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Copyright (c) 2006 Eleonora Cavallini

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