The Theseus Painter decorated vases in Athens in the period from about 510 to 490 B.C. Long after most vase-painters had switched to red-figure, he worked in the black-figure technique. A versatile and innovative artist, he decorated a wide variety of vase shapes but specialized in skyphoi and lekythoi. On many of his works he covered the vase with a white-ground slip before adding the black-figure decoration. His lively, active figures tended to have stocky bodies and round heads, and he placed them in a wide range of scenes depicting mythological subjects, revelry, and athletes.
As with most ancient artists, the real name of the Theseus Painter is unknown, and he is identified only by the stylistic traits of his work. Scholars named him after his fondness for depictions of the hero Theseus.