Hartford 1961.8BLACK-FIGURE HYDRIA
Lent by the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, Connecticut; the Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection (1961.8)
Height with handle:18 1/2 in. (47 cm.)
Broken and repaired around upper part of vertical handle; some inpainting including minor details of design areas.
On the body: harnessing a four-horse chariot. On the left a man, stepping into the chariot, holds a goad and the reins of the two pole horses, while a youth looks on. Another youth leads a muzzled trace horse forward to be harnessed. The charioteer busies himself with the harnesses of the pole horses, and a third youth stands at the heads of these horses to calm them. At the charioteer's feet is a dog; a bird flies in the sky above. On the shoulder: Herakles battles Triton. Nereus, the old man of the sea, is seated to the right, and two of his daughters, the Nereids, run up on the left. Herakles, astride Triton, holds the monster in an iron grip from which he vainly tries to free himself. Below the main scene are alternating hanging palmettes and upright lotuses; on the sides are small horizontal palmettes. The shoulder is framed below by a ribbon motif, laterally, by double rows of connected dots, and above, by tongues alternating red and black. Red: parts of the men's hair and beards, the horses' tails and manes, drapery edges, parts of the chariot and harness, and the dog's collar and tail. On the shoulder, parts of the hair, Triton's scales, and edges of the drapery. White: the charioteer's chiton, spots on the trace horse. On the shoulder, female flesh, the tender belly of Triton, and the beard and hair of Nereus.
Attributed to Psiax [Beazley] ca. 530 - 500 B. C. Psiax, though largely a black-figure artist, also painted in the red-figure style; his name is known from two signed red-figure alabastra in Karlsruhe and Odessa (ARV2, 7, nos. 4 and 5). He is known to have collaborated with three potters, Menon, Hilinos, and Andokides, and is the stylistic brother of the prolific black-figure artist, the Antimenes Painter. Compare with Harvard 1960.308; the compositions are quite similar. C. C. Vermeule, in his publication of this hydria, remarks that scenes involving horses are favorites with Psiax and his contemporaries. The subject is probably chariot racing as the participants are not in armor. In the sixth century B. C. chariots were no longer used in battle. When they appear in connection with warriors, mythological heroes are suggested.