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Worcester 1966.63


Lent by the Worcester Art Museum; Austin S. Garver Fund (1966.63)

Height: 17 3/8 in. (44.15 cm.)

Broken and repaired; missing pieces restored and painted.

Side A: Herakles and Kyknos. Herakles, wearing a lion skin over his chiton, grasps Kyknos, a villain who robbed Apollo of his victims for sacrifice. The hero holds him by a crest of his helmet, and stabs him with a sword. Kyknos, fallen to the ground, faces outward, a sword in one hand, and a shield (device: white balls) in the other. He is dressed in greaves, corslet, and Corinthian helmet. Each protagonist is accompanied by an allied spectator. Behind Herakles is his patron Athena in chiton and himation and behind Kyknos is his father Ares carrying a shield (device: tripod) and javelin. Between Herakles and Ares is a thunderbolt showing the intervention of Zeus.

Side B: Herakles playing a kithara between Athena and Hermes. Herakles, dressed in lion skin, stands on a podium playing the kithara. Athena, on the left, is dressed in chiton, himation, aegis, and Attic helmet. She carries a shield and a javelin. On the right, Hermes leans on his caduceus, entranced by the music. He wears his hat (petasos), winged boots, and chlamys over short chiton. Herakles' club, his usual weapon, leans against the podium on the left.

On the neck, palmette-lotus chain; on the shoulder, framed tongues alternately red and black; at the handles, palmettes and volutes; around the base of the scene, lotus buds; below, rays.

Red: details of Herakles' lion skin, Athena's crest, parts of the decoration.

White: Athena's flesh, the shield devices, helmet plumes, helms of swords, end of the scabbard, the teeth of the lion skin on side A, and parts of the lyre on side B.

Attributed to a painter of the Leagros Group [Bothmer] ca. 515 - 500 B. C.

Leagros is the kalos name from which a group of black-figure artists derives its name. The painters in the group are contemporary with the red-figure `Pioneer' painters (see Buitron 1972, no. 37). The representations of the myths on both sides show characteristics of the later sixth century. The battle of Herakles and Kyknos was a favorite subject with vase painters from the mid-sixth century on. In its early stages it included the two protagonists, Zeus, and generally Athena and Ares as well. From ca. 525 on, the scene is simplified, and as in this vase a thunderbolt replaces the figure of Zeus (Karouzou 1963, 132-141). D. von Bothmer suggests a vase in Athens (Athens 517) as parallel for the thunderbolt.

Herakles playing the kithara was also popular in the last quarter of the century, although kithara and flute players had been depicted earlier. The Lysippides Painter was especially fond of the subject (ABV, 255, no. 9 and p. 256, no. 16; see also Schauenburg 1961, 57 ff). For a list of other vases showing Herakles playing a musical instrument see Brommer 1960, 46.


Denver Art Museum, Collector's Choice No. 5, exhibition catalogue (April 25 - June 6, 1965) no. 5 ill.; Fort Worth Art Center, Classic Art of Antiquity, exhibition catalogue (November 1 - December 5, 1965); Art Quarterly 29 (1966) no. 3-4, p. 289 (mentioned in accessions list); Worcester Art Museum Annual Report (1967) xiv.

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