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Other Subjects: Amazonomachies and Centauromachies

Other subjects, such as the Amazonomachy, that were favored by the Niobid Painter and his shop appear throughout the span of the Polygnotan workshop. Polygnotos painted Greeks battling Amazons, as noted above, but he limited his compositions to restricted groupings of two or three figures. In some, such as his amphora in London (London E 280),1 he names the figures Achilles and Penthesilea, adding an epic dimension that gave a specific dramatic focus to the scene as well. The Christie Painter, the Guglielmi Painter, and others painted similar two-, three-, or four-figure Amazonomachies, in a limited and fairly consistent range of compositions.2

The most complex Polygnotan Amazonomachies were big battle scenes with a dozen or more combatants, such as the dinos by an unnamed Polygnotan in London (London 1899.7-21.5;

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).3 Here Greeks and Amazons, both mounted and on foot, battle one another in a series of small groups that combine to create a frieze encircling the entire vessel. The varied groundlines echo monumental painting, while the feeling of depth created by the overlapping mounted Amazons recalls riders on the Parthenon Frieze. The centauromachy was another subject popular with members of the Niobid Painter's workshop that may have links to monumental painting. The episode with Kaineus and the centaurs is treated twice by Polygnotos, on a signed stamnos in Brussels (Brussels A 1344 and on a late volute krater in Bologna (Bologna, Museo Civico Archeologico 16557 (Pell. 275)),5 and a fragment of another representation is preserved from a double-register calyx krater by an unnamed Polygnotan hand in the University of Chicago collection (University of Chicago 1967.115.390).6 The double-register calyx krater was one of a number of decorative formats adopted by Polygnotan painters from the Niobid Painter and his shop.7

1 ARV2, 1030, no. 35; Beazley Addenda 2, 317; CVA, London, British Museum 3 (Great Britain 4) pls. 12, 3 and 16, 1; LIMC, I, 164, Achilles no. 732, and 598, pl. 465, Amazons no. 179.

2 Amazonomachies on Greek vases are categorized and discussed by von Bothmer 1957. The Christie Painter's examples are on stamnoi in London (London 1898.7-15.1) and Copenhagen (Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek 2694) and on pelikai in the Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels (Brussels A 133) and St. Petersburg 3374, the latter pair virtual replicas (ARV2, 1048, nos. 35, 36, 39, and 40, respectively). The Guglielmi Painter's Amazonomachies are on a stamnos in the Vatican (Museo Gregoriano Etrusco Vaticano 16) and a bell krater in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples (Naples 1768) (ARV2, 1043, nos. 1 and 3 respectively).

3 ARV2, 1052, no. 29; Beazley Addenda 2, 322; CVA, London, British Museum 6 (Great Britain 8) pl. 103; LIMC, I, 439, pl. 339, Akamas no. 22 and 602, pl. 470, Amazons no. 233. Some of the figures are named: ΘΕΣΕΥΣ;Α[ΝΔ]ΡΟΜΑ[ΧΗ]; [ΠΕΙ]ΡΙΘΟ[Ο]Σ; [επιγ-ρουγη]ΙΠΠΟΛ[ΥΤ]Ε; Α[Κ]ΑΜΑΣ; ΜΕΛΑ...ΥΣ; ΛΑΣ; ΣΘΕ[ΝΕΛΟΣ]

4 ARV2, 1027, no. 1; CVA, Brussels, Musée de Cinquantenaire 1 (Belgium 1) pl. 7, no. 2; Arias & Hirmer 1962, pl. 100; Beazley Addenda 2, 317; LIMC, V, 887, pl. 571, Kaineus no. 44. The vase is signed ΠΟΛΥΓΝΟΤΟΣ ΕΓΡΑΨΣΕΝ on side A, and Kaineus is named: ΚΑΙΝΕΥΣ.

5 ARV2, 1029, no. 18; Beazley Addenda 2, 317; CVA, Bologna 4 (Italy 27) pls. 59 (below), 67, and 68, 8-10; LIMC, V, 887, pl. 571, Kaineus no. 45.

6 ARV2, 1057, no. 107; Beazley Addenda 2, 323; Moon 1979, cat. no. 118; LIMC, V, 887, Kaineus no. 46.

7 For the double-register format and its development, see Brijder 1984, 119-27 (J. H. Oakley, "Double-Register Calyx Kraters: A Study in Workshop Tradition")..

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