Worcester 1935.39BLACK-FIGURE OINOCHOE (OLPE)
Lent by the Worcester Art Museum; bequest of Charlotte E. W. Buffington (1935.59)
Height: 8 15/16 in. (22.17 cm.)
Broken and repaired; missing pieces restored and painted.
The twelfth labor which Eurystheus set for Herakles was to fetch Cerberus, the guardian of Hades. Herakles, in lion skin, is shown approaching Cerberus from behind and grasping his tail which ends in a snake head. The monster turns one of his heads towards Herakles while Hermes grasps the snake forelock of his other head and prepares to throw a noose around him. Two of the monster's feet end in snakes, and two are lion claws; a "mane" runs down his neck and back. Above the scene is a palmette lotus chain. Red: parts of Herakles' lion skin, Cerberus' ruff, Hermes' chlamys, the heart and one leaf of each palmette, the two lines circling the vase below the scene, the line on the upper edge of the foot.
Attributed to the Honolulu Class [Beazley] ca. 530 - 500 B. C. The guardian monster Cerberus was generally reputed to have many dog heads, the tail of a dragon, and on his back the heads of snakes (Apollod. 2.5.12). Representations on vases almost always show Cerberus with only two heads, as is the case on the famous representation of the scene by the Andokides Painter (Louvre F 204; ABV, 4, no. 11).