The Syleus Painter was a vase-painter who decorated pottery using the red-figure technique in Athens during the early 400s B.C. As with most vase-painters, his real name is unknown and he is identified only by the stylistic traits of his work. He is called the Syleus Painter because one of his vases, now in Copenhagen, shows the Greek hero Herakles fighting the villain Syleus. The Syleus Painter most often decorated large vases with mythological scenes.
The Syleus Painter demonstrates some of the problems of identifying Greek artists by their stylistic traits alone. At the beginning of this century, the great scholar of Greek vases Sir John Beazley put together a number of stylistically related vases that he called the Syleus Sequence. Within this large group, he further distinguished four smaller stylistic groups. He attributed these four smaller groups to four different artists called the Painter of the Munich Amphora, the Gallatin Painter, the Diogenes Painter, and the Syleus Painter. Scholars now question whether these four stylistic groups each should represent the work of an individual artist or if the groups are better understood as four stages in one artist's career.