Red-Figure Volute Krater
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Gift of Gordon McLendon

Kleophrades Painter
Greek, Athens, about 490 B.C.
22 3/8 x 16 3/16 in.

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Scenes from several Greek myths run around the neck of this enormous red-figure volute-krater, which was broken and reassembled from many fragments. On the front of the vase, the top row of decoration depicts a mythological battle against the Amazons. Much of this scene is missing, but Herakles, identifiable by his lionskin, grasps the hair of a fallen Amazon and prepares to deliver the fatal blow with his sword. The lower row shows excerpts of three Labors of Herakles: the Lernean Hydra, Geryon, and the Apples of the Hesperides. The better preserved back of the vase shows the Amazons preparing for battle and a scene with Peleus and Thetis, the parents of Achilles.

The complexity of the decoration and the scale of this vase are unusual. In fact, this is the only surviving volute-krater with two rows of decoration on the neck. At this time, Athenian potters worked in close proximity and painters were very aware of each other's work. A showpiece like this vase may have been a response to the Kleophrades Painter's main competitor at this time, the Berlin Painter, who had been producing large volute-kraters with one frieze on the neck.