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Return of Hephaistos

Often in the Classical period, Dionysiac processions such as those just discussed are given a specific narrative context by being transformed into scenes of the return of Hephaistos.1 This was a particularly popular subject among Polygnotan painters, notably with the Kleophon Painter and the unnamed hands in the Group. Two vases bearing this subject, now in the San Antonio and Toledo Museums of Art, have recently been attributed to the Curti Painter (San Antonio, Tex., San Antonio Museum of Art 86.134.77; Toledo 82.88).2 Both show Hephaistos mounted on a mule and preceded by Dionysos, who appears on foot. The figure of Dionysos in both cases is very close to that on the Harvard stamnos, as is the Dionysos on another version by an unnamed Polygnotan, on a calyx krater now in Munich (Munich 2384;

).3 The seated figure of Hera, awaiting release by Hephaistos, appears on the Toledo skyphos, an unusually complete narrative version echoed among the Polygnotans only in a fragmentary representation by the Hector Painter in Bologna (Bologna, Museo Civico Archeologico 16498 (Pell. 282)).4 More commonly the scene is abbreviated to eliminate Hera, although her presence is always implied and would certainly have been provided in the ancient viewer's imagination. A variant type of the return also used by Polygnotan painters shows Hephaistos on foot, as on the Kleophon Painter's pelike in Munich.5

1 On the subject, see Brommer 1978a, and M. Halm-Tisserant, "La représentation du retour d'Hephaistos dans l'Olympe," AntK 29 (1986) 8-22.

2 Calyx krater in San Antonio, Halm-Tisserant (supra n. 35) pl. 1; LIMC, IV, 644, pl. 398, Hephaistos no. 164b. Skyphos, Toledo, Ohio, Toledo Museum of Art 82.88; CVA, Toledo 2 (U.S.A. 20) pl. 84-87, as Kleophon Painter; Halm-Tisserant (supra n. 34) pl. III, as Curti Painter; LIMC, IV, 638, pl. 392, Hephaistos no. 119.

3 ARV2, 1057, no. 98; Para., 445; Beazley Addenda 2, 322; LIMC, IV, 644, pl. 398, Hephaistos no. 164a.

4 ARV2, 1036, no. 11; CVA, Bologna, Museo Civico 4 (Italy 27) pl. 70; Beazley Addenda 2, 318; LIMC, IV, 645, Hephaistos no. 172d.

5 Munich 2361; ARV2, 1145, no. 36; Para., 456; Beazley Addenda 2, 335; LIMC, IV, 645, pl. 401, Hephaistos no. 172c; Arias & Hirmer 1962, pls. 196-99.

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