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49. 13.202 LEKYTHOS The death of Orpheus PLATES XXII and XXVI

Height, 0.41 m.; diameter, 0.142 m. Broken, but complete; the eyelids and the lips of the woman slightly damaged. On the shoulder an egg pattern and three red-figured palmettes. No relief contours, except for the left shoulder and right leg of Orpheus, and the sword. Red used for the blood issuing from his wound, the fastenings of the strings of the lyre, the fillet of Orpheus, the cord of the plectrum, and the inscription. Brown used for the tattoo marks on the arms of the woman, for the fur on the flaps of her boots, for some of the inner markings on the body of Orpheus. The brown markings are distinguished in the drawing from those in relief lines.

Ann. Rep. 1913, p. 91.

A Thracian woman, advancing in a long stride,1 grasps the lifted arm of Orpheus with her left hand, and holds in her right the sword with which she has already dealt him a wound. Her hair, confined by a broad fillet, falls loose on her shoulders. She wears a short, sleeveless chiton, girded above the overfall, and high Thracian boots of fawn-skin, whose furry inner surface is indicated on the flaps in thinned varnish. She is tattooed on both forearms with a row of chevrons in brown; and the right arm shows in addition three stripes round the wrist, and at the elbow a dotted circle, a pattern which recurs on the boots. Orpheus is sinking to the ground, with blood spurting and streaming from a wound in his right side. His left knee is bent, and the lower leg boldly but unsuccessfully foreshortened. He holds his lyre with his right hand above his head. His mantle, hanging over his left shoulder and right thigh, forms a background for his figure. In the field, ΑΛΚΙΜΑΧΟΣ ΚΑΛΟΣ ΕΠΙΧΑΡΟΣ.

On the treatment of the subject in vase paintings see Gruppe in Roscher, Lexikon, iii, I, pp. 1183-8; Robert, Heldensage, i, pp. 404-6; and Albizzati, Due nuovi acquisti del Museo Gregoriano-Etrusco, pp. 16-22. For the drapery of Orpheus Beazley compares the Theseus in the west pediment of the temple of Zeus at Olympia, and the Theseus in the neck-picture of the volute-krater in New York, F.R. ii, Pl. 116 (painter of the woolly silens) (New York 07.286.84).

At least eight occurrences of the name Alkimachos are to be added to the seven cited by Klein, L.I. 2, p. 165. The revised list is as follows:

On the following vases the name occurs as a patronymic:

The Alkimachos celebrated on our lekythos and on the London amphora, no. 2, was the son of an Epichares, 'perhaps the Epichares represented, about 500, on a cup by the Panaitios painter in the Cabinet des Médailles (Paris, Cab. Méd. 523, Hartwig, Meisterschalen, Pl. 15, 2, and 26)'.2 The Alkimachos painter, who decorated the London amphora, worked about 470 B.C., so that the dates are suitable. Alkimachos was a contemporary of Glaukon, as Epichares was of Leagros, the father of Glaukon. But too much stress is not to be laid on this, since the name Epichares was common at Athens.3 More interesting is the question whether the Alkimachos mentioned as the father of Axiopeithes on the two white lekythoi by the Achilles painter, nos. 11 and 12, is identical with Alkimachos, son of Epichares. Axiopeithes was a contemporary of a younger Alkimachos, for both are celebrated as καλός on the Goluchow krater by the Lykaon painter. Beazley suggests that Axiopeithes and the younger Alkimachos were cousins. The family tree would be as follows:

One of the two alternative stemmata tentatively proposed by Wernicke4 agrees with this, except that Alkimachos II is made the brother instead of the cousin of Axiopeithes.

About 460 B.C. The attribution of the picture remains an unsolved problem. It has been placed on the same plate with the lekythos by the Achilles master because of its obvious stylistic connexion with works of that artist. But the points of resemblance are in externals. It cannot be from the hand of 'the most classical of all vase-painters'.5 Like the vases grouped by Beazley under the heading 'Meletos painter',6 it seems to be by an artist strongly under the influence of the Achilles painter's earlier manner.7


ARV, p. 646, no. 15 (Manner of the Achilles Painter); Chase 1950, pp. 70-71, fig. 77; Brommer 1960, p. 356, no. B 23; Chase & Vermeule 1963, pp. 93, 96, 112, fig. 93; ARV2, p. 1002, no. 11; H. Froning, AA 1971, p. 33, note 12; Brommer 1973, p. 505, no. B 26; Kurtz 1975, p. 48, pl. 34, 1; K. Schefold, AntK 19 (1976), pp. 76-77; K. Zimmermann, JdI 95 (1980), pp. 178 (no. 21), 180 (fig. 17), 184; CVA, Würzburg, 2, p. 38, under no. H 4906 (F. Hölscher); Raeck 1981, p. 280, note 541; Beazley Addenda 1, p. 153; Schefold & Jung 1988, p. 84; H. R. Goette, JdI 103 (1988), pp. 425 (note 105, h, incorrectly as ARV, 2nd ed., 1002, 1), 431 (note 129, incorrectly as ibid., 1602, 11); E. D. Serbeti, Boreas 12 (1989), p. 34, note 98; Maas & Snyder 1989, pp. 96-98, 112, fig. 29; Beazley Addenda 2, p. 313; Oakley 1990, p. 30, note 193.


1 The length of the stride is unfortunately much exaggerated in the drawing owing to the curvature of the vase. The distance between her feet is actually less by a centimetre.

2 Beazley, Vases in Poland, p. 55, note 3.

3 Cf. Kirchner, Prosopographia Attica, i, p. 327, nos. 4972-5022.

4 Die griechischen Vasen mit Lieblingsnamen, 117. Unjustly characterized as 'reine Phantasiegebilde' by Klein, L.I. 2, p. 4, note 4.

5 Beazley, Vases in Poland, p. 50.

6 V.A., p. 166; Att. V., p. 371.

7 (From Addenda to Part I) No. 49. ARV. p. 646, manner of the Achilles Painter, no. 15. Close to his early work. Chase Guide p. 71.

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