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Aristotle and Phyllis

A work made of engraving in black on cream laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving in black on cream laid paper.


c. 1500


Master M.Z.
German, active 1500-1550

About this artwork

According to legend, Alexander the Great’s tutor, Aristotle, counseled him to resist the seductions of Phyllis, the king’s mistress, and focus on his royal duties. But Aristotle ignored his own advice, and with her promise of sexual favors, let Phyllis mount him like a horse. Forewarned by Phyllis, Alexander was able to secretly observe his tutor’s humiliation. Brandishing a riding crop, here Phyllis amply demonstrates the power of feminine wiles over masculine intellect. Indeed, the philosopher’s sunken eyes and compromising position indicate his smitten blindness to his lust, as he is almost completely eclipsed by her voluminous skirts.


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Prints and Drawings


Master M.Z.


Aristotle and Phyllis


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Engraving in black on cream laid paper


Sheet trimmed within platemark: 18.2 × 13.1 cm (7 3/16 × 5 3/16 in.)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


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