Column krater

Attributed to

Painter of the Louvre Centauromachy

470–460 BCE
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General Description

Designed at the height of classical style in Athens, this red-figure vase combines movement and monumentality in the main scene, reflecting the influence of contemporary sculpture. The story it tells is an early episode in the life of Helen of Troy, whose later abduction by the Trojan prince, Paris, would lead to the Trojan War. Helen was god-born, the daughter of the Spartan queen Leda and Zeus, who seduced the queen while in the form of a swan. When Helen was young, the hero Theseus, who laid the foundation for Athens’ greatness, tried to steal her from her parents to marry her. He was defeated by her brothers, Castor and Pollux, and she later married Menelaus, king of Sparta. The scene on the vase shows Theseus’s attempted abduction of the girl in a dramatic pose worthy of a battle scene.

The Painter of the Louvre Centauromachy is known from some eighty vases and was a vase painter at a great moment in Athenian ceramics. His name vase in the Louvre is also a dramatic scene, with complex motion well-defined by the painter.

Adapted from

Anne Bromberg, DMA Label copy, 2012.

Web Resources

See another vase by Painter of the Louvre Centauromachy.