Attribution Details This was made between 410-400 BC The size of the vase is 52 cm Potter: Meidias The painter is unknown since he did not sign his name but as he worked with the potter Meidias, he is known as the Meidias Painter.
Shape The shape of this vase is Hydria and it was commonly used as a vessel for carrying water. It has 3 handles; one on each side for carrying and another at the back for pouring.
Scene The myth: The 11th Labour of Herakles This myth revolves around the taking of the golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides. The Hesperides were nymphs who tended a blissful garden in a far western corner of the world, located near the Atlas mountains in Libya and it was on his way to this garden that Herakles slew Antaios the giant.
In this scene, the male figure, seated on the right, is Herakles. • How do we know that it’s him? • Cushioned with lionskin • He leans forward on his club • He is painted heroically nude. • (well muscled upper torso) This scene is found in the lower frieze of the vase.
Castor A Helera C Zeus D Aphrodite F Eriphyle G Aphrodite E Polydeuces B
The myth The abduction of the daughters of Leukippos, Phoebe and Hilaeira, by Castor and Pollux from the sanctuary of Aphrodite. They had been gathering flowers and their companions were scattered in all directions. Castor and Pollux then married Phoebe and Helaeira. In return, Idas and Lynceus, nephews of Leucippos (or rival suitors), killed Castor. Poludueces was granted immortality by Zeus, and further persuaded Zeus to share his gift with castor
Style • How has the artist painted the drapery? • The female form is revealed underneath see-through clothes. The clothing is accentuated with gold. She gently tugs her chiton in a graceful manner. • The women on the right is typical of the style of this group of painters. What are the typical elements? • Her chiton is made up of many folds. They resemble contour lines and they reveal the figure underneath. • Elegant poses are depicted • She wears jewellery such as earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
What is unusual about the pose of the woman standing in the chariot? Hilaera has been abducted. Pollux is shown racing off in his chariot with Hilaera. The faces of both the women in the top two pictures show a new development in the depiction poses of figures, first seen with the Noibid Painter. What is it? Their eyes How has the artist depicted the eyes? Direction of their eyes. It wasn’t frontal and more realistic. How would you describe the painting of the heads and necks compared to the Achilles Painter? More shape and contours which shows the movements and directions
Painting Technique • Vase is first coated with ochre (natural earths containing ferric oxide, silica, and alumina: used as yellow or red pigments) then polished therefore heightening the orange-red clay. • Outline of figures sketched with incision or charcoal stick. • Figures outlined with slip and background filled in. • Inner detail of figures painted with black slip and dilute slip for fine lines. • Honey-coloured glaze added to certain parts i.e. hair, clothing (to add ‘realism’) • A thick slip could have been used alongside a syringe-like instrument. • The painting technique used on this vase is Red Technique.
TComposition • Different levels indicated by wavy groundline, but much of this has disappeared so figures appear floating in mid air • Stylised branches growing out of base of frieze are meant to represent bay trees of Aphrodite’s sanctuary • Movement convincing- fluttering drapery etc. • Advances in antomy – four galloping horses seen in profile, three quarter view, foreshortened • Beauty of composition • Figures of Castor and Polydeuces dressed in heavily embroidered chitons with foral motifs and other patterns • Figures of females elegant • Wear transparent chitonsamd up of intricate folds which mould their bodies • Aguae and Peitho wear embroidered mantles which they lift out, so that they billow behind them • Much of clothing is accented with gold
A pattern to make a groundline is used to divide the two freizes. • MeidiasPainter used an ochre slip on the vase before he applied any decoration – this is called “intentional” red. This heightened the orange-red of the clay’s natural colour. • Though he was interested in showing internal detail on the figures, Meidias Painter was most interested in the figures’ poses. Drapery helped to accentuate the poses he created. • Handles: Upper frieze has the three handles. Two on sides and one on back. Third handle interrupts the narrative. A palmette is placed under this handle.
Upper tier: Painter restricted by shape of vase and handles. Gets around it by arranging the composition at many levels, connecting groups by wavy lines. Objects needing more space are in the larger upper area i.e. 2 chariots with horses. Lower Scene Baseline: Heads of the figurines are almost all at same level. Figures are mostly still so attention drawn more to elegance of the poses and delicacy of drapery. • Space is created by ‘foreshortening’ (object appearing compressed) and the way figures turn.
LOWER FRIEZE • Appears much more static, people are placed in positions, appearing as statues (emphasised by gold detailing) • Elements of pyramidal composition creates a sense of symmetry or ‘flow’ within the painting. • Idea of symmetry or coherent structure (accurate use of space) gives a consistent ideal and so therefore appears richer. • Lower frieze does move the figures to represent landscape and natural elements. A lot more level than upper though. No handles getting in the way.
UPPER FRIEZE • Comparatively busy – depicting a scene of greater drama and tension. This is emphasised by the varied points of narrative focus – while the lower frieze has basic symmetry, the upper frieze has different points of contact between figures. • Different levels indicated by wavy groundline, but much of this has disappeared so figures appear floating in mid air. • Advances in anatomy – four galloping horses seen in profile, three quarter view, foreshortened