Date: 410 BC Type: Hydria - Red figure Potter: Meidias Painter: "Meidias Painter" Height: 52.2 cms Subject: Upper frieze: The abduction of the daughters of Leukippos by Castor and Pollux from the sanctuary of Aphrodite. Lower -frieze: Heracles seeking golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides. This is the last of the 16 vases that must be looked at. To say that it is very complex is, frankly, a gross understatement, but it's important that we go out with a bang!!
It may sound simple, but it's not. The Lower frieze encircles the vase, and presents the most enormous range of named figures we have seen. For exam purposes I don't think that it is necessary to know all of them, just a sprinkling, plus the important ones, or course. You must of course know the background to the scene, and to what general groups of people that they belonged to. If you have a choice in your exam, I would probably avoid this one. Subject matter Upper frieze: Castor and Pollux abducting the daughters of Leukippos from a sanctuary of Aphrodite. Centre: Aphrodite High right centre: Statue of Aphrodite Extreme left: Zeus sitting on a rock holding a sceptre
Next to Zeus: Agaue (girl) running towards him Next to Agaue: Chryseis kneeling in front of Aphrodite with flowers in her lap Extreme right: Peithos running off, turning to see Mid-right lower: Castor carrying off Eriphyle Higher left: Pollux on a chariot with Hilaeria Higher right: Castor's charioteer Chrysippos holding Castor's chariot By position Bottom level: Aphrodite, Agaue, Chryseis, Peithos and Zeus Middle level: Castor and Eriphyle Lower level: Chrysippos, statue of Aphrodite, Pollux and Hilaeria
The tableau is interrupted by the side handles and a large, crude palmette by the shoulder neck handle (not shown). The painter has overcome these problems by using a modulating groundline and by saving the large space articles such as the horses for the upper areas of the vase. <ul><li>Composition quite complex - painting must accommodate double curve of the vase and the three handles. </li></ul><ul><li>Figures are arranged at different levels to suggest distance </li></ul><ul><li>Large groupings of two quadrigas (chariots drawn by four horses) are placed high on the vase to suggest being in the background. </li></ul>Composition Upper frieze:
Lower frieze: <ul><li>Composition is a single frieze right round the vase. </li></ul><ul><li>Composition much simpler </li></ul><ul><li>Figures placed on a broken groundline to suggest landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Meidias Painter shows great skill in arranging composition to shape of the vase and placing figures to suggest space and landscape. </li></ul>
This vase is characterised by elegant poses and elegant drapery. The abductors and charioteers wear highly decorative tunics. Dismay at the abduction is shown by gesture rather than expression. The figures are delicate and the movement convincing. The figures' revealing drapery is paralleled in contemporary sculpture. Style and details Upper frieze: Anatomy, mood and movement Upper Frieze: <ul><li>Enormous advances in terms of anatomy, eg the four galloping horses on the left are seen in profile, in 3/4 view. One gallops and turns its head convincingly. Anatomy and foreshortening of horses and their lively movement in contrast with donkey and mule on Amasis Painter’s wedding cart. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Activity and agitated movement suggested by many poses, eg Eriphyle’s feet do not touch the ground as Castor carries her off. </li></ul><ul><li>Greatest sense of movement came from fluttering drapery. </li></ul><ul><li>All figures graceful and gentle. </li></ul><ul><li>Mood of dismay rather than despair conveyed by raised hands and turned heads towards the action </li></ul>Lower frieze: Action much more gentle. Elegant poses suggest painter more interested in decorative patterns than narrative. <ul><li>Space: </li></ul><ul><li>Convincingly created through placing of figures at different levels </li></ul><ul><li>Created by foreshortening and by way the figures turn </li></ul>
<ul><li>Drapery: </li></ul><ul><li>Fine and elegant, bodies visible underneath </li></ul><ul><li>Drapery follows form, clinging to the body. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple lines flow round the body and flutter away, suggesting movement. </li></ul><ul><li>Meidias Painter is one of the last great figures in Athenian vase painting. His graceful figures with clinging draperies are similar to those seen in contemporary sculpture. Meidias Painter’s influence extends into the next century. </li></ul>