Agora Object: Agora XXX, no. 1407
Chronology:   Ca. 510-500 B.C.
Deposit:   Q 12:3
Published Number:   AV 30.1407
References:   Object: P 24113
Mended with small missing pieces restored in plaster and painted. Lip offset on inside; foot offset on underside. Glaze slightly abraded on handles. H. 0.074; diam. of rim 0.18; W. with handles 0.238; diam. of tondo 0.088; diam. of foot 0.074. Pottery and Glass (November 1954), p. 349 (illustrated); H. A. Thompson, Hesperia 24, 1955, pp. 64--66, fig. 4 and pl. 30; M. Robertson, AJA 62, 1958, pls. 6, 7, figs. 1--5; Guide (1962), p. 161 and pl. 16; D. B. Thompson, An Ancient Shopping Center (Agora Picture Book 12), Princeton 1971, fig. 67 (I); Agora XIV, pl. 87; Beck, Album, pl. 60:307 (I); ARFV:Archaic, fig. 48; Guide (1976), p. 245, fig. 128; C. Cardon, AJA 83, 1979, pls. 22:1; 23:4, 5; 24:8; 25:12; G. Pinney, AJA 85, 1981, pl. 30:5 (I); D. C. Kurtz, JHS 103, 1983, pls. 3, 4; LIMC I, 1981, p. 178, no. 830, pl. 138 (A), s.v. Achilleus; S. Roberts, Hesperia 55, 1986, p. 18, fig. 10:25; p. 23, fig. 13:25; pl. 4:25; J. McK. Camp, The Athenian Agora: Excavations in the Heart of Classical Athens, London 1986, pl. 8, opp. p. 135 (I); LIMC III, 1986, p. 460, no. 428, pl. 349 (B), s.v. Dionysos; p. 782, no. 310, s.v. Eos; Human Figure, pp. 142--145, cat. no. 51; Robertson, AVP, p. 83, fig. 72 (A); M. Kilmer, Greek Erotica on Attic Red-Figure Vases, London 1993, cat. no. R 351.1.

I, youth crouching to right, holding a hare by its ears in his right hand; his left grips a knobby stick. Around his head is a honeysuckle wreath; over both shoulders is a cloak. In the background:

Reserved line for tondo border. A, Achilleus and Memnon, between Thetis and Eos. At the left of the composition, Thetis comes in, arms outstretched, encouraging her son. She wears a long chiton with a himation over it, and her hair is tied up with a fillet, which is incised across her hair, its ends in added red. Achilleus, nude but for a low-crested Corinthian helmet pushed back on his head, strides to right holding on his left arm a round shield seen in three-quarter view from the inside and aiming his spear at Memnon's abdomen. Achilleus is beardless, but the glaze lines defining his chin come to a point, and there is a bit of glaze between them as if the artist may have intended a short beard. He does not have the rounded chin of the youth in the tondo. Memnon (thighs missing), almost down on his left knee, has loosed his grip on his shield, a round one seen from the inside, and is about to fall backwards. Although he aims his spear at Achilleus' left thigh, it does not seem very effective. His mouth is open slightly as if he gasps or cries out. Memnon is bearded and like Achilleus, he wears a low-crested Corinthian helmet pushed back. Around the left ankle of each hero is an amulet. The armband of each shield terminates at each end in a palmette. Behind Memnon, Eos (most of her right arm and all of right foot except for toes missing) rushes in, right arm outstretched, her left hand pulling the end of her sakkos from her head. She wears a long chiton that is a bit torn, a himation over it and a cloak over both arms. Her mouth, too, is open slightly. Inscribed below the rim:

B, Dionysos with satyrs, a maenad, and a goat. The maenad runs in from the left, holding an empty oinochoe in her right hand, a thyrsos in her left, both arms outstretched. She wears a long chiton with a nebris over it and a cloak over both arms. A fillet binds her hair. Before her, Dionysos (left foot missing) sits to right on an okladias, looking back rather eagerly. In his lowered right hand he holds his kantharos; in his left, resting on his right thigh, he grasps the end of a branch of ivy, which fills the field in front of him. The god wears a long chiton with a himation over it. Around his head is a wreath. Next comes a satyr (hands, feet, part of each leg missing) standing frontally, right leg in profile, his head turned toward the shaggy goat (head missing) he tugs at. A second satyr runs in from the right, arms outstretched. Around the head of each satyr is a wreath. In the field:

Reserved line below figures. Relief contour. The rim of Memnon's shield is incised (compass-drawn). Dilute glaze: muscles; down on cheek of youth, pupil of his eye; hare; palmettes on shield bands, loose strap on inside of Memnon's; tears in Eos' chiton (short, feathery strokes); folds of Dionysos' chiton; horns of goat. Incised line for contours of hair, for forelocks, short hairs on napes of Thetis, Achilleus, Memnon, and maenad. Red: wreaths; fillets; inscriptions.

The identification of the subject on Side A is virtually assured by similar compositions in which the participants are named by inscription, in particular the contemporary one by the Berlin Painter on his volute-krater London, B.M. E 468 (ARV2 206, 132; Paralip. 343, 132; Addenda 194). For the subject, see LIMC I, 1981, pp. 175--181, s.v. Achilleus (A. Kossatz-Deissmann).

The Berlin Painter (ARV2 213, 242; Paralip. 344, 242; Addenda 196). Lucy Talcott was the first to link this cup with the Berlin Painter and thought it might even be his earliest preserved work. In 1958, Martin Robertson published detailed arguments supporting this attribution (AJA 62, 1958, pp. 55--66), a view he tells me he now no longer believes. Beazley accepted the attribution but with some hesitation (see especially The Berlin Painter [Melbourne 1964], pp. 1, 12, 13); yet he included the cup among the painter's works in both ARV2 (1963) and Paralip. (1971). Here the question of the cup's painter rested until 1979, when Carol Cardon withdrew the cup from the oeuvre of the Berlin Painter, connected it with Phintias' workshop, and proposed to call the artist the Gorgos Painter (AJA 83, 1979, pp. 169--173). She thought a fragmentary cup in Florence, 5 B 1 (ARV2 1590, 1), which also names Krates as kalos, might be by the same hand and that 1556 is also related. In 1981 Gloria Pinney (AJA 85, 1981, pp. 145--158) accepted unquestioningly the attribution of the Gorgos cup to the Berlin Painter (p. 153). She then argued that this and the cups by the Carpenter Painter represent the earliest preserved work by the Berlin Painter; these she combined with those by the H.P. Painter, forming a group of ten vases, including the Gorgos cup. The most recent discussion of the attribution of 1407 is by Donna Kurtz (JHS 103, 1983, pp. 68--86), who, within a wider discussion of Beazley's method of attribution, concludes that the Gorgos cup is not by the Berlin Painter (pp. 79--86).

For a variety of reasons, it seems best to dissociate 1407 from the work of the Berlin Painter. To begin with, he is primarily a pot painter, most comfortable decorating large vessels. To designate this cup and those by the Carpenter and H.P. Painters as prime examples of his earliest work would necessitate explaining why he switched from cups to pots for the remainder of his career. For the most part, Athenian painters of the Middle and Late Archaic period specialize in painting either cups or pots. Furthermore, when a master pot painter of this period chooses to decorate a cup, it is often a cup that approximates a pot in size, e.g., Munich 2044 by Exekias (diam. 0.305) or Munich 2620 by Euphronios (diam. 0.43). The Gorgos cup is small by comparison with the early pots attributed to the Berlin Painter. Also, the quality of drawing on the Gorgos cup is more fluid and surer than that on the cups by the Carpenter and H.P. Painters, which is stiffer and drier, and it really ought to be kept apart, although the combining of the two painters seems acceptable. Lastly, a large fragmentary calyx-krater, acquired in stages by the J. Paul Getty Museum and attributed to the Berlin Painter by Frel, sheds a completely new light on the early work of the Berlin Painter, namely, that at times he was directly influenced by Euphronios (M. B. Moore, "The Berlin Painter and Troy," J. Paul Getty Museum Journal [forthcoming]).