Apollodoros worked as a vase-painter in Athens in the period around 500 B.C. He signed his name to two cups, and many more have been attributed to him on the basis of style. He worked in the red-figure technique; like many vase-painters, he tended to specialize in the decoration of cups.
The process of identifying the work of Apollodoros shows the difficulties in recognizing the work of ancient artists. In the early 1900s, scholars distinguished four stylistically distinct but closely related groups of vases, assigning them the names Apollodoros, the Epidromos Painter, the Kleomelos Painter, and the Elpinikos Painter. Scholars were unsure, however, whether these four groups actually represented the work of four separate individuals or four different stages in the career of one man. The cup depicting the Theban Sphinx in the Getty Museum now provides evidence that one individual made all these vases. This cup combines a kalos inscription praising the beautiful youth Kleomelos--which had been the defining feature of the "Kleomelos Painter"--with stylistic features found on the signed cups of Apollodoros, such as mannered proportions and pose, extremely slender elongated fingers, and small, deep-set eyes.