Hydria depicting Andromeda: Drawing of the figural scene (left), showing ...

Hydria depicting Andromeda: Drawing of the figural scene, rolled out

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Ethiopians holding Andromeda's toilette

Hydria depicting chained Andromeda: Profile drawing of the vase

Hydria depicting Andromeda: Drawing of the figural scene (right), showing ...

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Three-dimensional approximation of the vase

Collection: London, British Museum
Summary: Andromeda being chained in the presence of Perseus
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Group of Polygnotos
Context: From Vulci
Date: ca. 440 BC

H 0.456m

Primary Citation: ARV2, 1062
Shape: Hydria
Beazley Number: 213802
Region: Etruria
Period: High Classical

Decoration Description:

In the center stands Andromeda in a frontal pose, firmly held by two curly haired Ethiopian youths. She is a tall, slim, figure, dressed in kidaris (Persian head-dress), shoes, jacket, anaxyrides (trousers) ornamented with small circles, and a short bordered chiton with vertical stripe and black girdle. With her arms draped over their shoulders, the diminutive slaves stand in a frontal pose, holding her wrists tightly while looking at each other. They each wear fillets and short bordered chitons with broad brown girdles. On the right a group of three Ethiopians prepares the ground for the erection of two posts to which the young woman will be bound. One lifts up a thick stake and drives it vertically into the ground; another, kneeling, enlarges the hole; and a third in a supervisory position, older with a furrowed brow, points directions while holding onto the second stake. Each of these figures wears a short girt bordered chiton and fillet. Further right Andromeda's bearded father Kepheus sits, leaning his head forward with his hands resting on the curve of his staff. Sitting dejectedly on a rocky outcrop, he wears a kidaris (Persian head-dress), long elaborately bordered chiton, striped himation, and shoes. On the far right is an unbearded, youthful Perseus who stands unobserved witnessing the horrid spectacle with his hand hitting his forehead in despair. He wears a petasos (winged hat) over his loose, wavy hair, a chlamys and high boots and is armed with two spears. On the left are three Ethiopians holding preparations for Andromeda's toilette. Just left of center, one stands frontal looking at Andromeda. He holds an alabastron suspended on a string in his right hand and a cosmetic box in his left. One standing in a frontal pose, looks left, carries a mirror and plemochoe or pyxis with an elaborate mantle draped over his left arm. Further left another strides toward the center bearing a scarf and a stool with striped cushion. These figures wear a fillet and short chiton, decorated above the waist with pairs of horizontal wavy lines and below with pairs of vertical lines.

The scene may be derived from drama, but is too early for the Andromeda of Sophocles.

Around the lip and the bases of the handles is an egg pattern. The design extends over the broad shoulder with a band of five-leafed palmettes above, at the base of the neck. Below the design frieze on the front is a double band of seven-leafed palmettes and honey suckle pattern. On the flat part of the rim and around the curved outer surface of the foot are reserved bands.

Collection History:

Canino Collection, no. 620

Sources Used:

Smith 1896, 152-153,; CVA, 5, 12, pls. 75, 1 and 76, 1a-d

Other Bibliography:

Archaeologia 36, 53-70, pl. 6; JHS 24 pl. 5