Hercules Stealing

Greek vase Hercules and Apollo
Hercules and Apollo are fighting over the Delphos tripod. Hercules is wearing the skin of a lion he has killed.

This water jug was made at the start of the great industrial revolution in Athens (sixth century BC).
It is one of the so-called Black Figure paintings. The artists painted black silhouettes on the red clay and then scratched in details with a stylus.

Later they had the idea to paint the whole ceramic vessel black except for the figures, which remained red. Those are referred to as the Red Figure ceramics. With that method, artists could paint in details with a brush and so were able to work with greater precision.
They meanwhile learned about perspective and looked more closely at nature and got better and better until an economic collapse ended the pot business. Panel painters and stone sculptors survived by selling to cities and to the very rich.

The painter of this vase is unknown. He is simply referred to as “the Madrid Painter” because a Madrid museum owns the only examples of his work.

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