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March 21, 2009
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The Criosphinx by Vyrilien The Criosphinx by Vyrilien
The Criosphinx

The Sphinx is a traditional monster with the body of a lion, and the head of either a human, falcon or ram invented by the Egyptians of the Old Kingdom, before being imported in Greek mythology. The name sphinx comes from the Greek sphiggein Σφινξ — Sphinx, apparently from the verb σφινγω — sphingo, meaning ‘to draw tight’ or more loosly translated: ‘to strangle’.

There are three types of sphinx in Egyptian statuary.

- Androsphinx
The typical lion with a human face/head. Rarely was the Egyptian sphinx portrayed as a female. When it was, it symbolized Isis and/or the reigning queen. Most usually it had the head of the reigning Pharaoh.
- Criosphinx
Criosphinx is Greek for "ram-headed sphinx", referring to a figure with the body of a lion and the head of a ram. It’s unknown what Egyptians called these figures. The Criosphinx is said to have represented Amun, the God of Creation.
- Hieracosphinx
A sphinx with the head of a falcon or hawk.

The Greek Sphinx whose name became applied to the Egyptian figures was a singular demon with a lion's body and a woman's head, plus the wings of an eagle and a serpent tail.

So yeah, this took some time. More than it should have, but I'll save you some ranting. Grrrr, wings... background... Oh, but please DO TELL if this thing looks either too dark or too bright on your monitor. I can adjust it :)

EDIT: Thanks so much for all the helpful critiques! I fixed the shadows here and there, adjusted the lighting on the body in comparison to the tail and I worked some subtle warm/cold contrast into it. I really tried to implement all of the points mentioned, but I did have the image retain a similar look, so sorry if you don't notice anything.

~Vyrilien

Medium: Corel Painter Essentials 2, Photoshop CS2 and a Wacom Intuos 2
Time Taken: Several weeks. I estimate about 45 hours of work.
Add a Comment:
 
:icondragonstorm:
dragonstorm Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014
Neat! I didn't even know there were other types of sphinxes in Egyptian mythology.
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I actually didn't either for the longest time! They're a little overlooked as far as mythological creature popularity goes ;)
Reply
:iconmagpie-poet:
magpie-poet Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013
That's awesome.

I once saw a beautiful (surprisingly more realistic than normal for egyptian) scupture of a different variant. It was a hawk headed crocodile. I don't know if it was a proper sphinx or not, but it was striking.
Reply
:iconlordcthuhulu666:
lordcthuhulu666 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
wat up with the bird
hahaha jk the bird's fine
Reply
:iconnirhtak:
Nirhtak Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2012
The light is great! And I love the head, the wings, I love everything! :)
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! :D
Reply
:iconnirhtak:
Nirhtak Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012
NP :)
Reply
:icondiphylla:
diphylla Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Featured Here: [link] :heart:
Reply
:iconcorustenebrae:
CorusTenebrae Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
great work <333
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! <3
Reply
:iconhappyblueimp:
happyblueimp Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Beautiful colors and detail! Very well done!
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner May 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much! :)
Reply
:iconhappyforme1:
happyforme1 Featured By Owner May 6, 2012
This is yours?!?! :love:
I've seen his before somewhere, I just forgot where!... and then I stumbled upon it today! I'm so happy!
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Reading your comment made me smile, also because it sounds so familiar. I've often 'lost' artists, because I couldn't remember their usernames anymore and finding them again is like finding money in your pocket, haha :D I'm so happy you like my work! :hug:
Reply
:iconeverythingsol:
EverythingSol Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The Greek Sphinx is called "manticore" :D
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Actually, the Manticore is a different creature from the Greek sphinx though they share some the similar features of having a human face and being lion-like in body. The Manticore is a legendary creature from Persian mythology, a human faced red lion with rows of teeth and a spiked tail. The Greek sphinx was singular and mostly known from the Oedipean myth. :) (sorry for the wall of text, I'm a little obsessed XD)
Reply
:iconeverythingsol:
EverythingSol Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah yeah I regretted commenting on that after i posted it ><;;
I'm sorry! LOL XD
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh nono, don't worry about it, haha! :D I just like ranting about mythology
Reply
:iconeverythingsol:
EverythingSol Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Nothing's wrong with ranting~
Reply
:iconwakedreaming:
wakedreaming Featured By Owner May 2, 2012
A very beautiful piece. The wings and the lighting are amazing. It all fits together so smoothly. Absolutely lovely!
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner May 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! I'm so happy you like this image :)
Reply
:iconnerielmi:
NerielMi Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I very like the atmosphere of this picture, so calming...
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! :)
Reply
:icongothb4play:
GothB4play Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012
Stunning characters and beautifully done, it draws one into a story with a hundred different endings!
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! :love: That's a wonderful comment!
Reply
:iconlimegreenleaf:
limegreenleaf Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2011  Student
I simply must know more!!!
This art is amazing XD
Reply
:iconkellodraw:
KelloDraw Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thiz Iz Huge AMAZEMENT Rite Here!!!! I Love Thiz Sphinx,Glad That Itz A Criosphinx & Nt The Common,Evryday Androsphinx,Thoze So Ttly Bore Me. I Think Having Human Traits Iz Alrite In A Creature,Bt A Human Face,Just Makez Me Lose Interest,I Love A Inhuman Effect,Especially wit Beasts Lyk Thiz! Really Love It!! Nice :thumbsup: :D
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I kinda agree! I do like the Androsphinx too, but it's such a shame you don't see any of the other sphinxes. Without the human traits they seem a lot more mystic and otherwordly to me. Thank you so much :)
Reply
:iconkellodraw:
KelloDraw Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Ur Very Welcom :D I'm Glad 2 See That At Least We Share Some Of The Same Veiw On Sphinxes,& Again,I Rlly Lovd It. :love:
Reply
:iconryn-ishtar:
Ryn-Ishtar Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2011  Student Interface Designer
And I continue to be impressed...
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:w00t:
Reply
:iconchochimbv:
chochimbv Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2011
Wow! Very Impressive
Reply
:iconchochimbv:
chochimbv Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2011
The Most Impressive ART I've ever seen.
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, a huge compliment! Thank you so very much :)
Reply
:iconchadosia:
chadosia Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2011
úú is awesome!!
Reply
:iconlives-to-love:
lives-to-love Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011
incredible!
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconsezaii:
Sezaii Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, thats just the most amazing picture <3 I love the colour combinations and the sharpness of the creatures from the background is very well done!! I <3 the anatomy of the sphinx too! Your very talented!
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! :love:
Reply
:iconsezaii:
Sezaii Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
no prob :3
Reply
:iconaniju-aura:
Aniju-Aura Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2011
I love sphinxs. I didn't know there were names for the other kinds of sphinxs. I love the wings and head the most.
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! I didn't know about them either, until I happened to see a ram-headed sphinx in a game once. Sphinxes are even cooler than I thought they were. Glad you like it :heart:
Reply
:iconaniju-aura:
Aniju-Aura Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2011
I love sphinxes. I rather be one that a Furry I tell people. I always drew pictures of human like animals. They had a human like head but had an animal like body. Finally I made the connection that my creatures looked very much like sphinxes! So I loved them since then. I also like mixing other animals and I think I would like to draw some of the other kinds of sphinxes too.
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh wow, you must have had similar ideas like the ancient Egyptians then haha. I guess you could use other animals too, but the ones like the Hieracosphinx (half falcon, half lion) seem like they might be similar to other mythical creatures such as the Chimeara or the Griffin/Hippogryph. It's fun to experiment though. Maybe one day I'll try to paint one of the humanoid sphinxes (Androsphinxes) because they do seem fun to paint!
Reply
:iconaniju-aura:
Aniju-Aura Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2011
I like both the Egyptian and Roman sphinxes. I have lost of sphinx xhracters. I like the other sphinxes too so I'll be sure to draw some. There are lots of creatures that resembles sphinx since in ancient times fusing animals together was very comment. I also like chimeras and griffins too, however sphinxes are different from chimeras and griffins. Chimeras are usually more than three animals and are not supposed to contain a human part in them. Sphinxes have one head while Chimeras have two or sometimes even three, so that is how you can tell them apart. While Griffins are felines and bird combined and are just two animals. Chimeras and Griffins are like the sphinx’s cousins and probably the Manticore too.
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes exactly. And yes, the classical Chimaera is part, goat, serpent, (dragon) and lion. However, nowadays people seem to call any creature with random parts of different animals Chimaera's (and indeed, usually, no human parts, but like with dragons people seem to play around with its design more). The thing is that the Hieracosphinx originates from a different culture than the griffin does and yet they are very similiar. Like the Manticore is also quite similar to Androsphinxes in a way (a part from the funny tail). It's very interesting to dig in to!
Reply
:iconaniju-aura:
Aniju-Aura Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2011
Over time cultures will come up with similar creatures and even adopt other cultures mythicaly animals and add their own touch to them. Dragon people do mix anything and everything with dragons that the fine lines are being burred. Dragons are less interesting to me now that they seem able to do anything. I like the original Chimera form the best, it doesn’t need a dragon in it.
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, which is what happened to the Sphinx (it was adopted into Greek mythology).

I suppose its due to the Dragon's popularity that its appearance can vary so greatly. I must admit I kind of like that, because it allows for a lot of freedom when painting one and it can stay an interesting (but maybe cliché) subject even if you paint it multiple times. But I can imagine the dragon, overrated as it is, isn't as interesting as say the Manticore.

As for the Chimera, I personally don't like it. Its design doesn't work for me. But that's just an opinion.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconaishabaden:
AishaBaden Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011
stunning work, I'm really amazed :)
Reply
:iconvyrilien:
Vyrilien Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! :heart:
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