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Red-Figure Squat Lekythos (Oil Vessel): Birth of Erichthonios

Red-Figure Squat Lekythos (Oil Vessel): Birth of Erichthonios

c. 420–410 BC

attributed to Meidias Painter

(Greek, Attic, active c. 420–400 BC)

Ceramic, with gilding

Diameter: 18.6 cm (7 5/16 in.); Diameter of mouth: 8.7 cm (3 7/16 in.); Overall: 30.3 cm (11 15/16 in.); Diameter of foot: 14.5 cm (5 11/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1982.142


Did you know?

A lead rivet sits at the junction of handle and neck, probably an ancient repair.


The central group on this vase shows the seated earth goddess Ge (also known as Gaia) handing her baby, Erichthonios, to Athena. Conceived from the seed of Hephaistos, Erichthonios would go on to become a king of Athens, and the story of his birth became popular in Athenian art of the fifth century BC. Other representations include Hephaistos as well as Kekrops, the mythical first king of Athens, sometimes together with Zeus and other deities. But this one includes only female onlookers—likely the three daughters of Kekrops watching from above, with Aphrodite and several abstract personifications such as Peitho (Persuasion) and Eudaimonia (Happiness) standing and seated nearby.

See also
GR - Greek
Greek and Roman Art
Type of artwork: 

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