The Seven against Thebes: the death of Kapaneus
Red-figure neck-amphora. Campania.
Attributed to the Caivano Painter (Greek, active 340—330 BCE).
Terracotta. Ca. 340 BCE.
Height 63.5 cm.
Inv. No. 92.AE.86.Los Angeles, John Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa in Malibu

The Seven against Thebes: the death of Kapaneus.

Red-figure neck-amphora. Campania.
Attributed to the Caivano Painter (Greek, active 340—330 BCE).
Terracotta. Ca. 340 BCE.
Height 63.5 cm.
Inv. No. 92.AE.86.

Los Angeles, John Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa in Malibu.

Origin:
By 1990 until 1992 — Mrs. Franca Benenti (Sorrengo, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1992.
Description:
The front of this red-figure amphora shows an episode from the story of The Seven Against Thebes, when a group of heroes banded together and attacked the Greek city to reinstate the rightful king. Holding a burning torch, the hero Kapaneus climbs a ladder, while two defenders and the usurping ruler look down from the wall. Kapaneus was killed for claiming that he did not need the gods’ help, and at the top left of this scene, Zeus’s thunderbolt falls towards the boastful warrior. On the right, Nike, goddess of Victory, flies above a chariot team. The main scene on the other side of the vase shows maenads and satyrs, the companions of Dionysos, the god of wine.

This amphora, with its twisted handles, elongated body and tall neck, is a typical shape produced by potters in Campania, around the Bay of Naples. Dramatic themes often provided the subject of mythological scenes on South Italian vases, and the story of the Seven against Thebes was related in a play by Aeschylus. Yet there is nothing on this vase that allows us to argue that the depiction of Kapaneus’s demise was inspired by a performance on stage, unless the wooden-looking bricks of the city wall derive from theatrical scenery.

Credits:
(cc) 2020. Photo, text: The J. Paul Getty Museum (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.
Keywords: κεραμικά ceramics clay terracotta ceramica keramik céramique ελληνική μυθολογία mythologia graeca greek mythology mitologia greca griechische mythologie grecque nίκη nice nike winged goddess dea alata niche geflügelte göttin déesse ailée niké νοτιοταλικό southitalian southern italy mezzogiorno meridione süditalienisch süditalien suditalien ἑπτὰ ἐπὶ θήβας επτά επί septem contra thebas the seven against thebes i sette contro tebe gegen sept contre thèbes καπανεύς καπανέας capaneus kapaneus capaneo capanée technique tecnica vasenmalerei ερυθρόμορφος red figure red-figure red-figured a rosse rotfigurige rotfiguriger à figures rouges αμφορέας amphora anfora amphore neck collo distinto halsamphora col campania campanian campana kampanische campanienne κρέοντας κρέων rex creon kreon king ruler of creonte re di könig von theben créon roi de ensis sword spada schwert épée ξίφος σπαθί balteus baldric balteo wehrgehänge corona laurea laurel wreath alloro laureata lorbeerkranz couronne lauriers δάφνινο στεφάνι crista crest crested helmet elmo crestato kammhelm casque crête κράνος λοφίο κρωβύλος κρώβυλος shield scudo schild bouclier ασπίδα solea sandal sandals sandalo sandali sandale πέδιλα σάμβαλα σάνδᾰλον σανδάλια σανδάλι currus chariot cocchio carro da guerra streitwagen wagen char άρμα equus equi horse horses cavallo cavalli pferd pferde cheval chevaux ίππος άλογα quadriga quadrigae quadrige barba barbatum beard bearded man uomo barbuto bart bärtiger mann barbe homme barbu γενειάδα γενειοφόρος άνθρωπος hasta spear lancia speer lance δόρυ taenia tainia band ribbon fillet tenia tänie binden tænia ténia ταινία sceptrum sceptre scettro zepter σκήπτρο palmette palmetta fulmen with thunderbolt lightning bolt fulmine blitzbündel blitz donnerkeil foudre αστραπή columna column colonna kolonne säule colonne κολόνα στύλος panthera panther pantera panthère πάνθηρα tack harness finimenti geschirr harnachement bridle rein reins testiera redini zaum zaumzeug zügel rêne rênes guides bride spearhead punta speerspitze fer αιχμή δόρατος porpax antilabe antilabè ἀντιλαβή meander meandros meandro mäander méandre μαίανδρος petasos petasus petaso pétase πέτασος floral ornament vegetal motif ornamento floreale blumenverzierung ornement στολίδι plume penna penni pennacchio feder blazing burning torch torcia accesa brennende fackel brûlant flambeau city defensive wall fortification mura muro protettivo cittadino fortificazione mauer schutzmauer der stadt stadtwehrmauer befestigung ville mur défensif προστατευτικό τοίχο της πόλης οχύρωση vitta vittae ordo ionicus ionic order capital ordine ionico capitello ionische ordnung kapitell kapitäl säulenknauf ordre ionique chapiteau ιωνικός ρυθμός κιονόκρανο wave-pattern wave-like wavy labrys bipennis double-headed axe ascia doppio taglio bipenne doppelaxt amazonenaxt hache double tranchant λάβρυς nude nudo nackt nackter nu lace stringa schnur lacet breast-collar collar warrior guerriero greco griechisch griechischer krieger guerrier grec gate gates porta tor porte caivano painters pittore caivano-maler peintre ladder scala leiter steigleiter échelle assault storm assalto sturm flying volare fliegende voler inv no 92.ae.86