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A word may be added regarding treatments of the
Vasepaintings.
subject in works of art, which are not without some points of literary interest. Baumeister reproduces two vase-paintings, both curious1. The first2 represents a group of three figures,—the central figure being an old man who has just doffed the mask of a young maiden,—while a guard, spear in hand, seizes him by the neck. This is explained as a comic parody of Antigone's story; she has sent an old servant to perform the task in her stead, and he, when confronted with Creon, drops his disguise. The other vase-painting3,—of perhaps c. 380-300 B.C.,—represents Heracles interceding with Creon, who is on the hero's right hand, while Antigone and Haemon are on his left. Eurydicè, Ismene, and a youth (perhaps Maion, the offspring of Antigone's marriage with Haemon) are also present. Klügmann4 refers this picture to the lost play of Euripides. Heydemann5 (with more probability, I think) supposes it to represent a scene from an otherwise unknown drama, of which he recognises the plot in Hyginus (Fab. 72). It is briefly this:—Haemon has disobeyed Creon by saving Antigone's life; Heracles intercedes with Creon for Haemon, but in vain; and the two lovers commit suicide. Professor Rhousopoulos, of Athens, in a letter to the French Academy6 (1885), describes a small fragment of a ceramic vase or cup, which he believes to have been painted in Attica, about 400-350 B.C., by (or after) a good artist. The fragment shows the beautiful face of a maiden,—the eyes bent earnestly on some object which lies before her. This object has perished with the rest of the vase. But the letters “ΕΙΚΗΣ” remain; and it is certain that the body of Polyneices was the sight on which the maiden was gazing. As Prof. Rhousopoulos ingeniously shows, the body must have been depicted as resting on sloping ground,— the lowest slope, we may suppose, of the hill upon which the guards sat (v. 411). The moment imagined by the artist may have been that at which Antigone returned, to find that the body had been again stripped of dust (v. 426). The women of ancient Thebes are said to have been distinguished for stature no less than beauty; and the artist of the vase appears to have given Antigone both characteristics.


1 Denkmäler, pp. 83 f.

2 From Gerhard, Ant. Bildw. Taf. 73.

3 Mon. Inst. X. 27.

4 Ann. Inst. 176, 1876.

5 See footnote above, p. xxxviii, note 1 (3rd paragraph).

6Περὶ εἰκόνος Ἀντιγόνης κατὰ ἀρχαῖον ὄστρακον, μετὰ ἀπεικονίσματος”. I am indebted to the kindness of Professor D'Ooge, late Director of the American School at Athens, for an opportunity of seeing this letter.

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