Harvard 1972.40RED-FIGURE HYDRIA (KALPIS)
Lent by Frederick M. Watkins
Height: 15 1/16 in. (38.1 cm.)
Intact, except for restoration of one side handle and part of the mouth.
Ransom of Hector. The artist has followed the description of the scene in the Iliad. Achilles "had just now got through with his dinner/ with eating and drinking, and the table still stood by. Tall Priam/ came in unseen by the other men and stood close beside him/ and caught the knees of Achilles in his arms..." (Hom. Il. 24.475-478, R. Lattimore trans. [Chicago 1951]). Hector lies at the foot of the table; the thongs with which he was tied to Achilles' chariot and dragged around Troy still bind his ankles. His hair is disheveled and his body covered with wounds. At the right are the shield and helmet of Achilles. Inscribed between Priam and Achilles, ΠΡΙΑΜΟΣ (Priam); the other inscriptions are meaningless: ΙΧΕΧ, ΙΟΤΕΧ, ΤΙΝΙ, ΧΕΤΕΙ (retrograde). The scene is restricted to the shoulder and framed above and on the sides with a net pattern knotted twice; below, with dentils and dots. Running from handle to handle is a band of alternately rightward and leftward palmettes interspersed with teardrop ornaments; the band is open on the left, closed on the right. Dilute glaze: blood on Hector's body, folds of Priam's drapery, shading on Achilles' shield. Red: fillet of Achilles, inscriptions, lines falling from the table onto Hector's body (blood of the meat being cut?).
Said by Beazley to recall Euthymides and earliest Kleophrades Painter ca. 525 - 500 B. C. This vase is related by both shape and style to a group of kalpides ascribed to the Pioneer Group (ARV2, 33), red-figure artists led by Euphronios, Euthymides, and Phintias, who form the transition from the more restricted style of early red-figure (see Boston 01.8037) to the broader ripe archaic style (see Williams 1964.9). The abrupt combination of frontal and profile forms, incised contour of the hair, and sparing use of dilute glaze for inner details indicate an early stage in the development of the red-figure style. The subject is relatively rare; Brommer lists only twelve examples in black-figure and red-figure (Brommer 1960, 330) to which one more can be added (Münzen, [Basel May 6, 1967] 76). Compare especially the kylix in Munich (Munich 2618; ARV2, 61, no. 74) by Oltos. Noteworthy in our piece is the large size of Hector's body with respect to the other figures and the composition.