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An Audience in Athens during the Representation of Agamemnon by Aeschylus

William Blake Richmond1884 - 1884

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

This scene is typical of the Victorian interest in the accurate re-creation of scenes from Classical antiquity. ‘Agamemnon’ was the first part of the ‘Oresteia’ trilogy. This play tells the story of Agamemnon’s return home from Troy, where he is greeted by his wife Clytemnestra who seeks revenge for the sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia. Agamemnon is lured into the house and murdered by his wife. The viewer gauges the emotional response of the audience at the dramatic moment when Clytemnestra tells of the slaying of her husband. In ancient Greek tragedy such scenes of violence were not depicted on the stage itself, therefore, Clytemnestra’s description of the killing of Agamemnon is captivating and vitally important for the audience, as their expressions show. On a throne in the centre of the audience sits a priest of Dionysus, the god of theatre and performance. The priest is flanked by two male attendants wearing animal skins, characteristic of worshippers of Dionysus, associated with primal aspects of Dionysiac worship. The Acropolis and the Temple of Theseus can be seen in the background.

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Details

  • Title: An Audience in Athens during the Representation of Agamemnon by Aeschylus
  • Date: 1884 - 1884
  • Physical Dimensions: w3010 x h2150 mm
  • Artist: William Blake Richmond
  • Provenance: Birmingham Museums Trust
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Birmingham Museums Trust
  • Medium: Oil on canvas.

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