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Kleophrades Painter Hydria

Page history last edited by Ms Allaker 11 years, 7 months ago





Kleophrades Painter Hydria








KLEOPHADES PAINTER HYDRIA.pptx  by Margret and Angelina 



This is the eleventh of  the vases that must be studied in this part of the course.  Having done a lot of background work already, we will concentrate on the vase itself.  Although the painting is small, there is a lot of detail which must be learnt, mostly to do with the story that the painting describes, and the mood that it captures.  Hydriae were used

____________________________ by the Greeks.



Date:              500-480 BC

Type:             Hydria-Red figure

Potter:           Kleophrades

Painter:         "Kleophrades Painter"

Height:          42 cms

Subject-        Culmination of the Trojan Wars-the destruction of the city of Troy

                        by the Greeks-on the shoulder of the vase only.


There are rather a lot of names that will be unfamiliar to you on this vase which need to be known.  Here is a list of them and who they were.



Priam-King of Troy

Cassandra-Priam's Daughter

Aeneas Trojan hero who fled Troy and founded Rome.

Anchises-Father of Aeneas

Askanios-Son of Aeneas

Hector- Son of Priam

Astyanax-Son of Hector, grandson of




Ajax-son of Oileus, not the friend of Achilles

Helen- Wife of Menelaos taken prisoner by Paris-start of the wars.

Aithra-Taken to Troy to be a maid for Helen.

Neoptolemos-son of Achilles and murderer of Astyanax.


In the story presented to us by the "Kleophrades Painter", the Greeks are certainly not seen as heroes, in fact the only acts of courage are portrayed by the Trojans.  The Greeks are seen as being almost barbarian in their desires to seek revenge: a masterpiece of emotion.



Subject matter

Looking at the three illustrations of this encircling vase:


Top:    The rape of Cassandra by Ajax.  He steps over a Trojan soldier whom

  he has slain in full battle gear.  On the left, Aeneas is dragging his father (Anchises) and son (Askanios) away: Aeneas is holding a shield.  All of them turn back for a final look at the horrors of the destruction.  On the right there is a rowan tree, bent back with the storms of the destruction.  Under it there is a weeping Trojan woman, and another opposite her.  To their right is a statue of Athena Palladium, from which Cassandra is seeking strength.


Centre:   Carries on to the right of the previous scene.  On the other side of the palm is King Priam who has taken refuge on an altar, on his lap is his mutilated grandson (Astyanax) (son of Hector) already killed by Neoptolemos: the latter is about to kill Priam.  Note the blood on the garment and head of Priam.  To the far right, a Greek soldier defends himself from attack by a woman.


Bottom:   Continues to the right of the previous scene.  A Trojan woman is attacking a Greek soldier with a pestle.  Behind her, seated, is Aithra.  She is being rescued by her grandsons.  The pyramid is completed by a Trojan girl with her head in her hands in despair.  N.B. Aithra and the Trojan girl have lines for their hair to indicate grey and blond hair respectively.


Political background

The sack of Troy as presented here, engenders four moods:

            Cruelty:    Sacrilege, murder, rape and despair

            Courage: Trojan women fighting fully armed Greek soldiers

            Liberation:          Aithra being rescued by her grandsons

               Hope:                  Aeneas' escape with his father and son to found a new Troy


The only acts of bravery presented here are from the Trojans, the Greeks perform all the act of cruelty.  This is not a tale of triumph for the Greeks, but rather of one of despair for the Trojans.  Look a the fate of the three children:


Astyanax:                        murdered and mutilated

Trojan girl:           despair at being sold into slavery

Askanios:                        sent into exile


Although the Greek were successful in the war, they carried the horrors of bloodshed in their collective mentally for many centuries.  The Kleophrades Painter could see a parallel between the cruel treatment by the Greeks of the Trojans, and a contemporary situation.


In 480 B.C. the Athenians looked back to Athens from Salamis to see their city being burnt by the Persians.  The Athenians, however, were successful, and this vase represents the Kleophrades Painter's attempt to warn the Greeks about repeating any similar retribution on the Persians.  This ,,vase may be seen as a paradigm of the horrors of war: a savage act of victory and vengeance of which the Greeks were ashamed.  The painter has captured the emotion and the narrative of this.


Style and composition

The painting is strongly influenced by the sharp inwards slope of the pot at the shoulder.  The painter has created a series of pyramidal groupings of characters to counteract this: can you locate each of the pyramids.


The zig-zag of the folds in women's dresses is much more like the Pioneer School than that of Makron.  The fallen Trojan's shield is an attempt to add depth by the use of a 3/4 view: it is not totally successful.



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