Volute Krater with Battle Scene From The Trojan War

Niobid Painterca. 450 B.C.

Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati Art Museum
Cincinnati, United States

Experts have attributed this large krater, a receptacle for mixing wine and water, to the Niobid Painter, an Athenian red-figure artist of the mid-fifth century B.C. As a ceramic artist, the Niobid Painter was interested in depicting specific themes and historical episodes drawn from mythology and epic poetry. The obverse of the Cincinnati krater depicts one such episode, taken from the Homeric cycle on the Trojan War. Here a goddess with a diadem, holding a spear, intervenes in a combat between two warriors. One advances with lance poised, while the other falls backward with sword drawn in self-defense. The most likely contestants in this battle are the Greek hero Achilles and his Trojan adversary Hector. Their duel, described in Book 22 of the "Iliad," was a popular subject among Athenian vase painters. Alternatively the scene may depict Aphrodite protecting her Trojan son Aeneas from the onslaught of the Greek Diomedes. Several details in the warriors’ equipment are noteworthy, particularly the crouching lion that forms the shield blazon of the right-hand warrior and the apotropaic, or evil-averting, eye that decorates the leather apron hanging from his opponent’s shield.


  • Title: Volute Krater with Battle Scene From The Trojan War
  • Creator: The Niobid Painter (Greek, b.Circa 475 BC, d.Circa 450 BC)
  • Date Created: ca. 450 B.C.
  • Location: Attica, Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: 19 13/16 x 15 3/8 x 12 in. (50.3 x 39 x 30.5 cm)
  • Credit Line: John J. Emery Endowment
  • Accession Number: 1987.4
  • Type: Ceramic
  • Medium: earthenware decorated in the red-figure technique

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