Odysseus shooting a bow at the crowd of the suitors.

Red-figure skyphos. Attic.
By the Penelope Painter.
Clay. Ca. 440 BCE.
Height 20 cm.

Berlin, State Museums
(Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)

Found at the excavations in Tarquinia.
From the most ancient times the epos of Homer found its reflection in the thematic of Greek vase-paining. The painters drew from Homer a rich material which became the foundation of plot compositions on Greek vessels. The plots, transferred from generation to generation, were easily amplified and changed by the will of painter. The ancient epos, the inexhaustible source of all the Greek culture, also inspired the monumental painting which in turn exerted influence upon the vase-painting. As the inscription testifies, Odysseus accompanied by two girls is depicted on the skyphos. Having returned home after long wanderings, dressed in tatters Odysseus had got ready for shooting arrow at the crowd of suitors seeking his wife Penelope’s hand in marriage.
The skyphos was found at the excavations in Tarquinia, but stylistically is similar to the red-figure vessels of Attic school, and its painting is attributed to the brush of so-called “Penelope Painter”. The surfaces of obverse and reverse sides of the skyphos are strictly detached by the palmette ornament situated under the handles. The meander frieze also serves as the ground line. The extraordinary free arrangement of figures is founded on the opposition of the women standing still and the strained motion of Odysseus rushed forward in the direction of the flying arrow. Smoothly lying pleats of the chitons contrast with the sharp pleats of Odysseus’ dress.
© Photo, text: G. R. Maier. GOSUDARSTVENNYE MUZEI BERLINA. GDR. Albom.
Per. s nem. E. I. Larionovoi i E. I. Marchenko. M.: “Izobrazitel’noe iskusstvo”, 1983, kat. No. 63.
Photographer G. Murza.
Keywords: clay red-figure red-figured skyphos Attic by the Penelope Painter Odysseus shooting a bow at the crowd of the suitors Ulixes Ulysses key pattern meander bow arrow bowman quiver tunic chiton girl woman