Tondo: head of Athena

Tondo: Theseus, upper half

Detail of side A, right: Theseus with Skiron

Euphronios cup: oblique view (drawing) of side B from below, showing Thes...

Cup attributed to Onesimos: Drawing of side B, showing Theseus wrestling K...

Cup attributed to Onesimos: Drawing of side A, showing Theseus battling Sk...

Collection: Paris, Musée du Louvre
Summary: Interior: Theseus and Amphitrite, with AthenaSides A-B: Deeds of Theseus (Side A: Skiron, Procrustes; Side B: Kerkyon, bull)
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to Onesimos
Potter: Signed by Euphronios
Context: Caere
Date: ca. 500 BC - 490 BC
Dimensions: Diam. 0.40 m
Primary Citation: ARV2, 318.1; Para, 358; Beazley Addenda 2, 214
Shape: Cup
Beazley Number: 203217
Region: Etruria
Period: Late Archaic

Date Description: The "Panaitian" period of the painter.

Decoration Description:

Interior: Theseus, shown as a young boy, reaches with his right arm across the tondo of the cup to greet Amphitrite on the right. Out of his element in the underwater palace of Poseidon, the youth's feet are supported by Triton. He is dressed in a chitoniskos with sword slung around his waist, and appears blonde through the use of dilute glaze. The seated goddess Amphitrite is enveloped in Ionic chiton and himation which partially covers her hair at back. She raises her right arm toward Theseus, offering him a wreath (done in applied clay and originally covered with gold; cf. Robertson 1992, 48-50). Her hair is partly painted in dilute glaze and she wears sandals whose ties are painted in added red. The stool on which she sits is decorated with stars and palmettes and its cushion has a checked cover. In the center of the composition, behind Amphitrite and Theseus, stands Athena, dressed in chiton, aegis, and helmet. She holds an owl in her right hand and a spear in her left; her body is turned towards Theseus, whom she has accompanied beneath the ocean, but she turns her head to Amphitrite. All garments are voluminous and very finely pleated, and are painted in great detail. Athena's aegis is articulated with fine scales overall. The underwater setting of the scene is reinforced by the dolphins swimming behind Theseus. Palmettes form the border on the rim and a continuous meander running right encircles the tondo.

Sides A and B: The deeds or "labors" of Theseus as he traveled from Troizen to Athens (cf. Apollod. 3.16.1 ff.; Plut. Thes. 8ff; Bacchyl. 17). On Side A, at the left, Theseus and Skiron. Skiron lived on the cliffs (the "Skironian rocks") in Megarian territory, where he compelled passers-by to wash his feet, and then pushed them off the cliffs into the sea where they were devoured by a great turtle. Theseus is shown throwing Skiron off the cliffs (indicated by the rocks in the background); the foot basin is shown before him. He has hung his clothes and sword in a tree behind him. At the right, Theseus and Procrustes. Procrustes (also known as Polypemon or Damastes). Procrustes invited travelers to sleep in a bed, but then stretched (or hammered) the shorter travelers out or cut off portions of taller travelers to make them fit the bed. Theseus here attacks Procrustes, seizing him by the hair with his left hand and wielding Procrustes' own axe with his right; Procrustes is shown bleeding from a wound in the chest. Theseus' traveling hat is shown in the field behind him, and his clothes and sword are again hung in a tree. The two villains are shown with shaggy beards and hair, indicating their uncivilized, monstrous nature.

On Side B, at the left Theseus wrestles Kerkyon, who compelled passersby to a wrestling match and killed them. Theseus has Kerkyon in a headlock; Kerkyon's features are distorted and distressed with pain. At the right, Theseus captures the Bull of Marathon, looping a rope around the bull's horns and feet; the bull is collapsing forwards onto its face. As in the other scenes, Theseus has hung his clothing and sword in a tree, and fights in heroic nudity; his traveler's cap is shown in the field.

Boardman states that the association of Onesimos with the Proto-Panaitian Group and the Panaitios Painter is still open to discussion (Boardman 1975, 133-134). Robertson suggests that the style is so close to the Panaitian cups that the "Panaitios Painter" may only be an earlier phase of Onesimos (Robertson 1992, 50). Hurwit points out the beginning of the use of Theseus as a subject in vase painting after the fall of Hippias (510 B.C.; Hurwit 1985, 314). The cup painter is a direct successor of the "Pioneer Group," and his heroes and opponents are masterfully executed in their athleticism (Robertson 1992, 48-50).

Shape Description: Type B cup


On the interior, *E*U*F*R*O[*N*I*O*S *E]*P*O*I*E*S*E*N, Euphronios made it, inside around the tondo behind Theseus. On the exterior, figures are labelled: *S*K*I*R*O*N, "Skiron"; *P*R*O*K*R*O*U*S*T*E*S, "Procrustes", *Q*E*S*E*U*S, "Theseus"; *K*E*R*K*U*O*N

Sources Used: Boardman 1975, 133, fig. 223; Hurwit 1985, 314-315; Robertson 1992, 48-50