Artist painting a statue of Herakles
Red-figured column-krater. Apulia.
Ca. 360—350 BCE.
Attributed to the Group of Boston 00.348.
H. 51.5 cm.
Inv. No. 50.11.4.New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Artist painting a statue of Herakles.

Red-figured column-krater. Apulia.
Ca. 360—350 BCE.
Attributed to the Group of Boston 00.348.
H. 51.5 cm.
Inv. No. 50.11.4.

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Until 1950, with Robert E. Hecht, Jr.; acquired in 1950, purchased from Robert E. Hecht, Jr., Rome.
Representations of artists at work are exceedingly rare. This vase illustrates a craft for which virtually no evidence survives, that of applying pigment to stone sculpture using the technique of encaustic. The column and phiale (libation bowl) at the far left indicate an interior space, probably a sanctuary. In the foreground stands a statue of Herakles with his club, bow, and lion-skin. The painter, characterized by his cap and his garment worn to leave his upper body bare, applies a mixture of pigment and wax with a spatula to Herakles’ lion-skin. To the left, an African boy tends the brazier on which rods are heating that will spread the tinted wax. Above, Zeus, ruler of the gods, and Nike, personification of victory, preside as Herakles himself ambles in from the right to survey his image.

The reverse, in an outdoor setting, shows Herakles’ staunch protectress, Athena, seated in conversation with one of the Dioskouroi. To the left, Hermes, the messenger god, turns away from Pan, his son, while Eros plays with a bird below. Surely complementary, the pictures may refer to the apotheosis of Herakles. Rather than driving to Mount Olympos in a chariot, Herakles sees himself monumentalized in stone, while Athena, her task accomplished, takes her ease between divine travelers.

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(cc) 2020. Photo, text: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (CC0 1.0).
Keywords: κεραμικά ceramics clay terracotta ceramica keramik céramique ελληνική μυθολογία mythologia graeca greek mythology mitologia greca griechische mythologie grecque ἡρακλῆς ηρακλής herakles heracles èracle eracle héraclès ζεύς δίας zeus nίκη nice nike winged goddess dea alata niche geflügelte göttin déesse ailée niké νοτιοταλικό southitalian southern italy mezzogiorno meridione süditalienisch süditalien suditalien technique tecnica vasenmalerei ερυθρόμορφος red figure red-figure red-figured a rosse rotfigurige rotfiguriger à figures rouges κρατήρ κρατήρας krater сrater cratere cratère apulia apulian apula apulische apulienne column-krater crater colonnette kelébe kolonettenkrater kolonnettenkrater stangenhenkelkrater colonnettes corona wreath kranz couronne puer boy bambino ragazzino junge knabe garçon αγόρι παιδί barba barbatum beard bearded man uomo barbuto bart bärtiger mann barbe homme barbu γενειάδα γενειοφόρος άνθρωπος sceptrum sceptre scettro zepter σκήπτρο artist painter pittore maler peintre ζωγράφος club clava keule massue lion skin pelle di leone löwenhaut haut peau du δέρμα λιονταριού columna column colonna kolonne säule colonne κολόνα στύλος alatus φτερωτό φτερωτή meander meandros meandro mäander méandre μαίανδρος headdress copricapo kopfbedeckung coiffe κόμμωση hedera ivy leaves foglie edera efeu efeublätter feuilles de lierre κισσός φύλλα κισσού colored coloured painted sculpture coloration scultura dipinta colorazione färben färbung farbige skulptur colorée χρωματιστό γλυπτό pedestal base piedistallo podio postament sockel piédestal βάθρο ordo ionicus ionic order capital ordine ionico capitello ionische ordnung kapitell kapitäl säulenknauf ordre ionique chapiteau ιωνικός ρυθμός κιονόκρανο apotheosis divinization deification apoteosi deificazione apotheose vergöttlichung apothéose ἀποθέωσις half-naked seminude seminudo halbnackter moitié nu seated sitting siede seduta seduto sitzt sitzende sitzender assis assise nude nudo nackt nackter working making during at work fare lavoro machen arbeit faire travail brazier braciere kohlebecken brasero réchaud spatula palette-knife spatola paletta spatel spatule african africano negro afrikaner neger africain nègre the group of boston 00 348 painting statue inv no 50.11.4