Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea and earthquakes, is depicted as a bearded man holding a trident (a three-pronged spear) and chasing a frightened young woman. On the other side of the vase, another young woman is shown running away from him.
- This vessel, known as a column krater, was originally used to mix water and wine. It would have been placed in the center of a symposium, or Greek drinking party.
- The red-colored figures set against a solid black background were created using the red-figure technique.
Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes, is often represented in art as a bearded man holding a trident (a three-pronged spear). He is depicted on this vase chasing a young woman with his trident. The woman is running away from him, holding up both of her hands in a gesture of fear or worry. On the other side of the vase, a young woman is shown running away while looking over her shoulder, as if she is also frightened by Poseidon. Scenes like this were common in ancient Greek myths and vase paintings. Ancient Greeks used mythology to explain their society and living conditions. The myths highlighted the experiences (both positive and negative) of real Greek women. These experiences include their domestic lives as well as their social and physical relationships with men.
This vase is a column krater, a type of vessel that was commonly used to mix water and wine for a symposium (a Greek drinking party). The art technique that was used to create the red human figures against a black background is called the red-figure technique. The red color is the natural color of the clay. The black color was created by applying slip, a type of liquid clay, to the background.
tags: ancient Greece, narrative, pattern, function, order, power
Resources for Teachers:
- Read an article about ways to address difficult topics (regarding Greek art) in the classroom.
- Read an article about the function of column kraters and the Greek drinking culture.
- Explore a website that includes information about Poseidon, his love pursuits, and his iconography in art.
Resources for Students: