Attic Red-Figure Volute Krater

Object Details


Attic Red-Figure Volute Krater


Attributed to Kleophrades Painter and a pupil (Greek (Attic), active 505 - 475 B.C.)


Greek (Attic)


Athens, Greece (Place created)


480 - 470 B.C.




56.7 × 37.4 cm (22 5/16 × 14 3/4 in.)

See more

See less

Scenes from the labors of the Greek hero Herakles encircle the neck of this Athenian red-figure volute-krater. On the front of the vase, Herakles' companion Iolaos prepares to drive off the cattle of Geryon, while Herakles and the goddess Athena prepare to attack the sleeping giant Alkyoneus. On the back of the vase, Herakles first subdues the Keryneian hind, then beheads the Lernean Hydra, and finally wrestles the Nemean lion. These excerpts are portrayed with humorous overtones; such a light-hearted approach corresponds well with the krater's role as a mixing vessel for wine and water at a symposium or aristocratic drinking party.

An intense red glaze covers the body of this volute-krater. Coral-red technique, an intentional red surface on a vase, was an unusual process used almost exclusively on cups and small vessels. Its use on a large vessel like this krater was extremely rare. The difficult technique used to achieve this red surface required precisely controlled firing conditions. Few potters appear to have been interested in this time-consuming and presumably expensive process.

- 1984

Galerie Hydra (Geneva, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

The Colors of Clay: Special Techniques in Athenian Vases (June 8 to September 4, 2006) (13)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), June 8 to September 4, 2006

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), p. 170, no. 24.

Noble, Joseph V. The Techniques of Attic Painted Pottery, rev. ed. London: 1988, pl. 7.

Pipili, Maria. "Iolaos." In Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae V (1990), p. 686-696, p. 692.

Schleiffenbaum, Hannelore Eva. Der griechische Volutenkrater : Form, Funktion und Sinngehalt eines antiken Prunkgefa?sses (Frankfurt am Main, New York: P. Lang, 1991), p. 368, cat. no. V289.

Coloquio Sobre Teseo y la Copa de Aison, ed. R. Olmos. Madrid:1992, p. 141, fig. 12.

Shapiro, H. Alan. Personifications in Greek Art: The Representation of Abstract Concepts 600-400 B.C. (Kilchberg: Akanthus, 1993), pp. 150-51, fig. 109; p. 254, no. 104bis.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), p. 73.

Kader, Ingeborg. "Und es losten die Glieder...Hypnos, Thanatos, Eros." In Süßer Schlummer. Erika Oehring, ed (Residenzgalerie Salzburg, 2006), p. 16, Abb. 2 (detail).

Cohen, Beth, ed. The Colors of Clay: Special Techniques in Athenian Vases, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2006), pp. 67-68, cat. no. 13, figs. 13.1-13.3.

Gaunt, Jasper. "The Attic Volute Krater." Phd. Diss. (NYU, 2006), 531, no. 52.

Sparkes, Brian A. "Why Special Techniques?" In Papers on Special Techniques on Athenian Vases. Edited by K. Lapatin (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2008), p. 25, footnote 5.

Walton, M.S., Doehne, E., Trentelman, K. and Chiari, G. "A Preliminary Investigation of Coral-red Glosses Found on Attic Greek Pottery." In Papers on Special Techniques on Athenian Vases. Edited by K. Lapatin (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2008), p. 97, table 1 (incorrectly cited as

Walton, Marc. et al. "Characterization of Coral Red Slips on Greek Attic Pottery." Archaeometry, 51.3 (2009), 383-396.

Cohen, Ada. Art in the Era of Alexander the Great: Paradigms of Manhood and Their Cultural Traditions (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 35, pl. 5, Illustration is just the detail of the figures.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 73.

Oakley, John H. The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2013), pp. 66-67, figs 2-4.

Padgett, Michael J. "The Serpent in the Garden: Herakles, Ladon, and the Hydra." In Approaching the Ancient Artifact. A. Avramidou and D. Demetriou, eds. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014), 49, footnote 19.

Mattusch, Carol C. Enduring Bronze: Ancient Art, Modern Views (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2014), pp. 76-77, fig. 56.

Tsignarid, Athena. "Two Coral-Red Bowls in the Shefton Collection." In On the Fascination of Objects. Greek and Etruscan Art in the Shefton Collection. J. Boardman, A. Parkin, S. Waite, eds. (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2016), 114, footnote 2.

Guy, J.R.," In the Shadow of the Berlin Painter. A Reconsideration of the Painter of Goluchow 37 and Related Pot-Painters." In The Berlin Painter and His World. exh. cat. J.M. Padgett, ed. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2017), p. 205, footnote 19.