Kleophrades Painter HYDRIA White text: p.48-50 Black text: p.63-67
Kleophrades painter was one of the best of the Red-Figure decorators. He was the son of Amasis, and a student of Euthymides.
He was sometimes painted in Black-Figure, but was a follower of the Pioneer group of Red-Figure decorators. He shared their interests in innovations in vase decoration.
Purpose: carrying water
Painter: Kleophrades painter
Date: 500-480 B.C.
Dimensions Height: 45 cm
Inscriptions There are no signatures or inscriptions on this vase.
The sacking of Troy presents four moods.
Cruelty : sacrilege, murder,rape and despair
Courage: Trojan women fighting fully armed soldiers
Liberation : Aithra being rescued by her grandsons
Hope: Aeneas’ escape with his father and to found a new Troy
This is a not a tale of triumph for the Greeks rather one of despair for the Trojans.
This vase may be seen as a picture of the horrors of war – a savage act of victory and vengeance of which the Greeks were ashamed
New advances in spatial representation as the decoration is all painted around the neck and shoulder of the vase
Increase in overlapping of figures
The painter has three quarter technique to give an unusual perspective of the inside of the warrior’s shield while his left thigh and foot have been foreshortened in their frontal pose.
To the far right of this pair is a triangle shaped grouping deliberately removed from the heat of the battle so that appear to join in both halves of the continuous narrative together.
The two fully armed and bearded warriors are beautifully contrasted to the defenceless old woman cowering on the ground
The painter has once again employed foreshortening in his depiction of Cassandra’s leg
Aeneas is painted from a back view and waling beside him is his young son, Ascanius
The Sack of Troy and the Death of Priam The top of the vase is one frieze which runs continuously around the top of the vase, between the neck and the shoulder. It is divided into separate triangular scenes which tell separate stories. CRUELTY
Virgil’s “Aeneid” The death of Priam Neoptolemos, referred to by Virgil as Pyrrhus, kills Priam's son Polites in front of him on the altar of Zeus the Protector, where Priam and his family have taken refuge. Priam, though death now ringed him round, could not be passive, Could not refrain from uttering his indignation. He cried: "Hear me, you criminal! If there is any justice in heaven, Any eye for such things, may the gods pay you the due reward And unstintingly show their gratitude for this most monstrous crime You have committed - making me witness my son's death, Fouling a father's eyes like this with the sight of murder! You are poles apart from Achilles - your father, you lyingly claim. He treated me differently far, though I was his foe; he respected A suppliant's rights, gave up the bloodless remains of Hector For burial, and gave me safe conduct back to my city." So saying, the old man flung his weapon, but harmlessly - No strength behind it; a clang when the shield of Pyrrhus parried it, And then the spear was dangling impotently from its centre. Pyrrhus replied: "All right, you shall go and carry a message To my father Achilles. Remember to tell him what a milksop His son has become, and what shocking deed he has committed. Now die!" Even as he spoke, he dragged the old man, trembling, And sliding in the pool of his son's blood, right to the altar; Twined Priam's hair in his left hand, raised with his right the flashing Sword, and sank it up to the hilt between his ribs.
The death of King Priam The focus of this section is the bloodstained figure of King Priam who sits on the altar cradling the limp, gore-smeared body of his grandson, Astyanax the son of Hector Priam is depicted as an old man with a bald head and a stubby beard. He covers his head with his heads in a futile gesture to ward off the fatal blow about to be dealt to him by Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles
NEOPTOLEMUS Unusually he has been presented from the rear, with his head and left leg in profile. He is dressed in full battle armour. His huge sword, the so called Machaira, appears to disappear under the lip of the hydria. He has been painted in detail, especially on his armour A dead trojan lies at Neoptolemus’ feet. He grasps the inside of his shield which is presented in a perspective view, while his lower leg appears foreshortened as it disappears behind his thigh. The details of the dead bodies reinforce the sense of the horror of war.
The heroism of a Trojan woman A fully armed greek warrior crouches under his shield as he is attacked by an angry Trojan woman armed with a large pestle or a chair leg. This suggests she is desperate. The painter has used the three-quarter technique to give a perspective of the inside of the warrior’s shield, while his left thigh has been foreshortened. COURAGE
The Rescue of Aithra Further round the vase is a triangle shaped grouping so that they appear to join both havles of the continuous narrative together. In a touching scene, Akamas and Demophon, sons of Theseus, help their grandmother Aithra who was taken to Troy with Helen to act as her maidservant. The two bearded warriors are beautifully contrasted with the defenceless old woman cowering on the ground. The final figure in the group is a young girl mourning on the far right. See page 65 in Black text for a view of the whole frieze. LIBERATION
A Trojan woman crouches beneath a battered palm tree (bent to emphasise the destruction of Troy), tearing her hair out in a gesture of mourning. A second trojan woman sits next to her covering her head in terror, behind a statue of Athena (called the Palladium – the most sacred object in Troy) Crouching Trojan women DESPAIR
The Rape of Cassandra The focus of this section is a scene of extreme violence which involves Cassandra, the daughter of Priam. She is being ripped away from the statue. Her attacker the greek hero, Ajax, grabs her by the hair while she implores him with her outstreched palm CRUELTY
The Myth Cassandra was the daughter of Priam and Hecuba. She was said to be as lovely as Aphrodite. Apollo loved her and promised to teach her the art of prophecy. He hoped she would fall in love with him, but she rejected his advances. Apollo was so upset he spat into her mouth so that she would speak the truth but was fated never to be listened to. She recognised Paris when he came to Troy and no-one else knew he was Priam’s son; she foresaw the end of Troy when Paris arrived back with Helen; and she told the Trojans not to bring the wooden horse inside the city. During the sack of Troy, Cassandra fled to Athena’s temple, but was captured (and some stories say raped) by Locrian Ajax.
An armed trojan lies at Ajax’s feet, his body still bleeding from a wound on the thigh and on his chest Once again the painter has employed foreshortening in the depiction of the princess’ leg.
The detail focuses on who are assumed to be the Greek warrior Ajax of Locris, or Little Ajax, and Cassandra the cursed prophetess Ajax's sword is sticking horizontally toward Cassandra in almost a phallic stance. Cassandra is in a very erotic position, with her legs spread wide open and her breasts naked and emphasized by the knot of her cape. Her hand is stretched in either supplication or perhaps in beckoning. It is interesting to note the positioning of Cassandra’s hand. Ajax has grabbed Cassandra by the hair as she seeks refuge in the sanctuary of Athena.
Aeneas flees the ruined Troy In the final grouping on the extreme left, the Trojan hero Aeneas is depicted staggering under the weight of his aged father Anchises, as he carries him away from the ruins of Troy. The old man has been depicted with the same old beard and hair as King Priam. Aeneas has been painted from a back view and walking beside him is his young son Ascanius, who has been depicted as a young adult rather than a small child. The aged, stubbly Anchises Aeneas struggling under the weight Ascanius Both Ascanius and Anchises are looking back, as if in fear HOPE
Scene painted on the double curve of the shoulder and the neck of the vase (Death of Priam and the sack of Troy)
This is a very difficult surface to paint on, and this reflects his interest and understanding
Shape of the vase means individual episodes are arranged in triangles
The triangles are framed by the positions of bodies or objects such as trees and statues
Each group is self-contained but linked to others.
The two ends of the frieze both show shields. Also, both end scenes are linked thematically – HOPE and LIBERATION.
The kleophrades painter continued to use incision in his paintings, most often to detail hair but also to highlight other features.
He was also very innovative when it came to portraying realistic facial features; eyes were painted open at the inner corner with pupils painted forward, rather than the common frontal eyes in a profile face.
A full S-cruve was used for the nostrils and he also outlined the lips to make them appear fuller .