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Detroit 24.120

Attic Red-Figure column krater. The Leningrad Painter ca. 470-465 B.C.

Lent by The Detroit Institute of Arts; city appropriation, 1924 (24.120). Ex Collection Gotha Museum, no. HA57.1

The Vase: h. 40.0 cm; d. of month 26.0 cm; d. of rim 33.2 cm; w. handle to handle 39.3 cm; max. d. of body 31.5 cm at 23.5 cm from base; d. of foot 16.5 cm. Broken and repaired. Numerous large cracks running over entire surface repaired, restored, and repainted. Restorations: much of rim, area at base of handles, most of lower body immediately above foot; on the obverse, face and diagonal section of Helios from shoulder to waist and through buttock, crack across muzzles of horses; on the reverse, most of face of figure at right, and small sections of the other figures. The glaze is fired greenish in places and is very shiny. Inside, good glaze on the neck, matt black on the body. The reserved areas outside are covered with a red wash. The lip, with handle-plates, is relatively flat, the foot is of two degrees, the upper of angular profile, the lower torus-shape. The outside of the foot is black except for a reserved strip around the base; it is reserved underneath. The underside of rim and handle-plates is reserved.

Decoration: All the subsidiary decoration is black on a reserved background: linked lotusbuds on top of the lip, with palmettes bounded by lyre-shaped tendrils on the handle-plates; ivy around the outside of the rim; on the neck a band of linked lotusbuds obverse, reverse undecorated; pictures on obverse and reverse are framed by tongues above, ivy at sides, reserved band below; there are rays above the foot. Red lines are painted around the upper edges of rim and handle-plates, inside and out, and all around the vase below the picture and above the rays, and around the outside edge of the upper degree of the foot. There are indications that the lotus on the lip was painted before the palmettes on the handle-plates.

Side A: Helios, the sun, holding a prod, passes over the sea in his chariot, pulled by two winged horses. Parts of the reins are painted red. The sea is indicated by red-painted waves and a dolphin plunging between the horses' legs. Of the horses we see one body, one wing, two tails, eight legs, two heads; of the chariot, one wheel. Sloppy drawing has left unclear the demarcation between leg and chariot. A rayed disk on his head identifies the charioteer, who is otherwise quite human, and of the second quarter of the fifth century B.C.: short hair wreathed, short beard, short chiton, shawl about shoulder. The wreath is painted in red. Side B: A komos, in the center a draped young man, on each side of him a naked young man dancing; or perhaps it is a scene from the exercise ground (palaestra) since often the same set of characters portray a draped trainer and two naked athletes. All have red painted bands about their heads, fastened in front.

Thin glaze was used for pupils of eyes, human, horse, and dolphin, fringes of hair about faces, sideburns, neck muscles, inner body markings, details on horses' wings, border of himation on the central figure of reverse. On the obverse, there is relief outline, quite delicate, everywhere, even for sun's rays; on the reverse only on the central figure for a bit of right hand, hem at lower right, top and heel of left foot, length of nose and the line of chin-neck-shoulder, and on the figure at right the line of chin-neck-shoulder, and a bit of the left leg. Broad preliminary contour lines are quite distinct from the background which had fired greenish. On the obverse, sketch lines show the top of the very flat head through the sun disk. A line across Helios' back and lower arms indicates that a higher position was perhaps initially intended for the prod. Some indecision over placement of the horse's rump is apparent in the sketch. Sketches show the tail of far horse through the chariot and Helios' left leg behind the wheel. On the reverse the drapery below the knee of the central figure was narrower in the sketch and there are many sketch lines for the body of the figure at left.

The ancient Greeks added water to their wine, mixing it in large open containers which we call kraters (from the Greek kerannymi, to mix). The bell, calyx, volute, and column krater are all named for their shape. There is good evidence that the column krater, named for the form of its handles, originated in Corinth, and that in antiquity it was called "korinthos" (Beazley in AJA 31 [1927] 351; see Moon 1979, no. 16). The shape was not taken up immediately by red-figure painters. There is an early bilingual column krater with red-figure on one side, black-figure on the other, and red-figure fragments of another (ARV2, 11, nos. 5 and 6). At the turn of the century and in the decade after, a number of painters turned out some red-figure column kraters, several of which have links with column kraters of the black-figure Leagros Group (ARV2, 235, below). There are connections between these and the work of the first major painter of red-figure column kraters, Myson. Myson's students and their followers, who comprise the so-called Mannerist workshop, produced column kraters, pelikai and hydriai for over three-quarters of a century. There were other painters whose style was mannered, but in the context of fifth century Attic vase-painting, the term Mannerist is used to refer to members of that shop and to the Pan Painter, who early exercised a great influence over them, without joining their union.

The Leningrad Painter was an early and prolific member of the Mannerist workshop. Named for an amphora in the Hermitage, he first appears as the Petrograd Painter (Beazley 1925, 245), but changes with the times (ARV1, 373). He worked together at the beginning with the Pig Painter, to whom, indeed, Beazley first gave one of his earliest pieces, fragments of a column krater with girls on a seesaw (Boston 10.191, ARV2, 569, no. 49). The Detroit column krater was done when their association was still close and the influence of their mentor, Myson, was still apparent (it is a little later than the Detroit hydria by the Pig Painter, Detroit 63.13). The face and drapery of Helios are not far from those of the girl at left on one of the Boston fragments (supra), and the same details are comparable in the Theseus on an earlyish column krater by the Pig Painter in Ferrara (ARV2, 563, no. 6). The figures on the reverse side of the Detroit krater demonstrate the relationship particularly well in their stances, gestures, proportions, and in the drapery. Compare the figures of a trainer and athlete on a column krater by Myson in Naples (ARV2, 241, no. 55bis) and those of the athletes and trainer on the reverse of a krater in Brussels by the Pig Painter (ARV2, 563, no. 5). Contrast the figures on the Leningrad Painter's Chicago hydria, Chicago 1911.456, done probably some fifteen years later.

The pot has the normal lip, handles, foot, and subsidiary decoration for a column krater, but the forms of the rim and foot, and the rendering of the lotus decoration are trademarks of the Mannerist workshop (see Chicago 1889.16, a somewhat later krater by a painter of the same shop). These features are so consistent that it is probable that one potter or set of potters was producing vases which various painters then decorated. It is also possible that one painter might have been doing the subsidiary decoration for others or for himself and others. Similarly, in a workshop like this, it is possible that one painter might have drawn broad contour lines for the figured decoration while another filled in the detail. Although a great many mediocre vases came out of that shop, the Mannerists can often be depended on for interesting subject matter, such as this (cf. also Chicago 1889.16).

Helios, the Sun, was said to drive his chariot across the sky every day and sail home on the ocean at night in a golden bowl. Euripides, in describing the shield of Achilles, refers to "the blazing disk and winged mares" of the Sun (Eur. El. 464-466, as quoted by M. J. Milne in AJA 61[1957] 314). Helios is always shown in his chariot in the vase-painting, but it is not a common subject in red-figure. The Sun rising, the chariot in frontal view, was however a favorite for painters of black-figure lekythoi at the end of the sixth century and beginning of the fifth (Haspels 1936). The waves and dolphins here can mean simply his passage over the seas, or imply his passage back at night on the ocean. They also recall his peculiar possession of the sea-bound island of Rhodes-the third century Colossus of Rhodes, made to represent Helios, was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Helios is said to have kept herds of cattle, and Homer tells of how Odysseus' men sacrificed the cattle of the Sun, and met unhappy fates. Apollo, who also kept herds and had trouble with cattle-thieving, was already being identified with the Sun in the fifth century, but Helios was a child of the Titans, not an Olympian god, and there is no confusion between the two in representation on vases.

For krater, and the mixing of wine and water, see Richter & Milne 1935, 6f.; for Helios, Haspels 1936, 120ff. and K. Schauenburg, Helios (Berlin 1955).


W. R. V. (alentiner), Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 6 (1924) cover ill. and p. 12; G. M. A. Richter, "Greek Art in Detroit," Art in America 15 (1926-1927) 30ff. and fig. 10; J. D. Beazley, Greek Vases in Poland (Oxford 1928) 40, n. 2; ARV1, 375, no. 37; ARV2, 569, no. 43; K. Schauenburg, Helios (Berlin 1955) n. 320 and fig. 17.

Louise Berge

1 "Compare this with p. 26, no. 16 'Ex Landesmuseum, Gotha.' The truth of the matter is that the collection was the private property of the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; in the 19th century the collection was kept in the Kunstkabinett of the Schloss Friedenstein in Gotha; today the museum is called the 'Schlossmuseum.'" (Letter of Dietrich von Bothmer to Warren G. Moon, 15 Feb. 1980)

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    • Euripides, Electra, 464
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