Red-Figure Calyx-Krater (Mixing Vessel): Medea in Chariot (A); Telephos with Baby Orestes (B)

Red-Figure Calyx-Krater (Mixing Vessel): Medea in Chariot (A); Telephos with Baby Orestes (B)

c. 400 BC

near the Policoro Painter

(South Italian, Lucanian, active c. 400 BC)

Ceramic

Diameter of mouth: 49.9 cm (19 5/8 in.); Overall: 50.5 cm (19 7/8 in.); Diameter of foot: 22 cm (8 11/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1991.1

Location

Did you know?

This vase includes scenes connected to two Athenian tragedies dealing with children—Medea and Telephos.

Description

The remarkable scene on the front of this vase relates to the famous tragedy Medea, written by Euripides and first produced in Athens in 431 BC. Framed in the center by a halo (recalling her sun god grandfather Helios), the sorceress Medea flies off in a dragon-drawn chariot. Seeking revenge against her husband Jason, leader of the Argonauts, Medea has just slain their two children. Two Furies flank her, while Jason and a distraught nurse and teacher approach the bodies on the altar below.

A different tragedy unfolds on the other side of the vase, from Euripides’s Telephos (438 BC). The wounded warrior Telephos holds the baby Orestes hostage at an altar, with Agamemnon and Clytemnestra rushing to save their son.

Video

The Tragedy of Medea
Euripides and Greek Theater
A Drinking Party
See also
Collection: 
GR - South Italy
Department: 
Greek and Roman Art
Type of artwork: 
Ceramic
Medium: 
Ceramic

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