ArtLex Art Dictionary

 

 

 

sSphinx - In Egyptian mythology, a figure having the body of a lion and the head of a man, ram, or hawk. In Greek mythology, a winged creature having the body of a lion and the head of a woman, and noted for killing those who could not answer its riddle.


Examples:

 

The Great Sphinx, and Pyramids and Sphinx, photo from a postcard, c.1905.

 

 

Egypt, Sphinx of Senwosret III, c. 1878-41 BCE, Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret III, Middle Kingdom, gneiss, length 28 3/4 inches (73 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftEgypt, Sphinx of Amenhotep III, c. 1391-53 BCE, Dynasty 18, reign of Amenhotep III, New Kingdom, Egyptian faience, length 9 7/8 inches (25 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightEgypt, Abu Simbel, Hawk-Headed Sphinx, Dynasty 19, c. 1250 BCE, limestone, British Museum, London. A hawk-headed sphinx is sometimes called a gryphon. This one wears the lappet head-dress signifying the pharoah. See anthropomorphism.

 

 

Syria, Plaques: sphinxes, 8th century BCE, Syrian style, bronze, height 4.9 inches (12.4 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftGreece, Attica, Lekythos in the Form of Sphinx, late 5th century BCE, clay, height 21.5 cm, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. The well-preserved polychrome painting on the sphinx body makes this lekythos worthy of particular note: the blue eyes shaded by their black eyelashes, the delicate color of the cheeks, the pink lips and moderate use of gilding enable us to imagine the original color range of monumental Greek sculpture of the Classical epoch. See lekythos.

 

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightGreece, Attic, Grave stele of a youth and a little girl with finial in the form of a sphinx, c. 530 BCE, Archaic, marble, height 13 feet 10 11/16 inches (423.4 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See finial and stele.

 

 

 

 


see thumbnail to leftJean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780-1867), Oedipus Solves the Riddle of the Sphinx
, oil on canvas, 1808. See Neoclassicism.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightGustave Moreau (French, 1826-1898), Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1864, oil on canvas, 81 1/4 x 41 1/4 inches (206.4 x 104.8 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Symbolism.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftBoleslas Biegas (Polish, 1877-1954), 1902, Sphinx, sculpture, bust, Musée d'Orsay, Paris. See Polish art and Symbolism.

 

 

Also see living rock.

 

 

 

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