White text: p.48-50
Black text: p.63-67
Kleophrades painter was one of the best
of the Red-Figure decorators. He was the
son of Amasis, and a student of
He was sometimes painted in Black-
Figure, but was a follower of the Pioneer
group of Red-Figure decorators. He
shared their interests in innovations in
• Shape: Hydria
• Date: 500-480
Height: 45 cm
There are no signatures or inscriptions on this
The sacking of Troy presents four moods.
• Cruelty : sacrilege, murder,rape and despair
• Courage: Trojan women fighting fully armed soldiers
• Liberation:Aithra being rescued by her grandsons
• Hope: Aeneas’ escape with his father and to found
a new Troy
This is a not a tale of triumph for the Greeks rather
one of despair for the Trojans.
This vase may be seen as a picture of the horrors of
war – a savage act of victory and vengeance of which
the Greeks were ashamed
• New advances in spatial representation
as the decoration is all painted around
the neck and shoulder of the vase
• Increase in overlapping of figures
• The painter has three quarter technique
to give an unusual perspective of the
inside of the warrior’s shield while his left
thigh and foot have been foreshortened
in their frontal pose.
• To the far right of this pair is a triangle
shaped grouping deliberately removed
from the heat of the battle so that appear
to join in both halves of the continuous
• The two fully armed and bearded
warriors are beautifully contrasted to the
defenceless old woman cowering on the
• The painter has once again employed
foreshortening in his depiction of
• Aeneas is painted from a back view and
waling beside him is his young son,
The top of the vase is one frieze which runs
continuously around the top of the vase, between the
neck and the shoulder. It is divided into separate
triangular scenes which tell separate stories.
The death of Priam
Neoptolemos, referred to by Virgil as Pyrrhus, kills Priam's son Polites in front of him on the altar of
Zeus the Protector, where Priam and his family have taken refuge.
Priam, though death now ringed him round, could not be passive,
Could not refrain from uttering his indignation. He cried:
"Hear me, you criminal! If there is any justice in heaven,
Any eye for such things, may the gods pay you the due reward
And unstintingly show their gratitude for this most monstrous crime
You have committed - making me witness my son's death,
Fouling a father's eyes like this with the sight of murder!
You are poles apart from Achilles - your father, you lyingly claim.
He treated me differently far, though I was his foe; he respected
A suppliant's rights, gave up the bloodless remains of Hector
For burial, and gave me safe conduct back to my city."
So saying, the old man flung his weapon, but harmlessly -
No strength behind it; a clang when the shield of Pyrrhus parried it,
And then the spear was dangling impotently from its centre.
Pyrrhus replied: "All right, you shall go and carry a message
To my father Achilles. Remember to tell him what a milksop
His son has become, and what shocking deed he has committed.
Even as he spoke, he dragged the old man, trembling,
And sliding in the pool of his son's blood, right to the altar;
Twined Priam's hair in his left hand, raised with his right the flashing
Sword, and sank it up to the hilt between his ribs.
The focus of this
section is the
bloodstained figure of
King Priam who sits
on the altar cradling
the limp, gore-
smeared body of his
grandson, Astyanax Priam is depicted as an old man with a bald head and a
the son of Hector stubby beard. He covers his head with his heads in a futile
gesture to ward off the fatal blow about to be dealt to him by
Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles
Unusually he has
been presented from
the rear, with his head
and left leg in profile.
He is dressed in full
battle armour. His
huge sword, the so
appears to disappear
under the lip of the
He has been painted
in detail, especially on
A dead trojan lies at Neoptolemus’ feet. He grasps the inside of his shield which is
presented in a perspective view, while his lower leg appears foreshortened as it
disappears behind his thigh. The details of the dead bodies reinforce the sense of
the horror of war.
A fully armed greek warrior crouches under his shield as he is attacked
by an angry Trojan woman armed with a large pestle or a chair leg. This
suggests she is desperate.
The painter has used the three-quarter technique to give a perspective
of the inside of the warrior’s shield, while his left thigh has been
The Rescue of Aithra LIBERATION
Further round the vase is a triangle shaped grouping so that
they appear to join both havles of the continuous narrative
In a touching scene, Akamas and Demophon, sons of
Theseus, help their grandmother Aithra who was taken to Troy
with Helen to act as her maidservant. The two bearded
warriors are beautifully contrasted with the defenceless old
woman cowering on the ground.
The final figure in the group is a young girl mourning on the far
See page 65 in Black text for a view of the whole frieze.
A Trojan woman crouches
beneath a battered palm tree
(bent to emphasise the
destruction of Troy), tearing her
hair out in a gesture of mourning.
A second trojan woman sits next
to her covering her head in terror,
behind a statue of Athena (called
the Palladium – the most sacred
object in Troy)
The focus of this section is a scene of extreme violence which
involves Cassandra, the daughter of Priam. She is being ripped
away from the statue. Her attacker the greek hero, Ajax, grabs her
by the hair while she implores him with her outstreched palm
Cassandra was the daughter of Priam and Hecuba. She
was said to be as lovely as Aphrodite. Apollo loved her and
promised to teach her the art of prophecy. He hoped she
would fall in love with him, but she rejected his advances.
Apollo was so upset he spat into her mouth so that she
would speak the truth but was fated never to be listened to.
She recognised Paris when he came to Troy and no-one
else knew he was Priam’s son; she foresaw the end of Troy
when Paris arrived back with Helen; and she told the
Trojans not to bring the wooden horse inside the city.
During the sack of Troy, Cassandra fled to Athena’s temple,
but was captured (and some stories say raped) by Locrian
An armed trojan lies at Ajax’s Once again the painter has employed
feet, his body still bleeding foreshortening in the depiction of the
from a wound on the thigh princess’ leg.
and on his chest
The detail focuses on who are assumed to be the Greek warrior Ajax of
Locris, or Little Ajax, and Cassandra the cursed prophetess
Ajax's sword is sticking horizontally toward Cassandra in almost a phallic stance. Cassandra is
in a very erotic position, with her legs spread wide open and her breasts naked and
emphasized by the knot of her cape. Her hand is stretched in either supplication or perhaps in
beckoning. It is interesting to note the positioning of Cassandra’s hand. Ajax has grabbed
Cassandra by the hair as she seeks refuge in the sanctuary of Athena.
Aeneas flees the stubbly
In the final grouping on the
extreme left, the Trojan hero
Aeneas is depicted staggering
under the weight of his aged father
Anchises, as he carries him away
from the ruins of Troy.
The old man has been depicted
with the same old beard and hair
as King Priam.
Aeneas has been painted from a
back view and walking beside him
is his young son Ascanius, who
has been depicted as a young Ascanius
adult rather than a small child.
HOPE Both Ascanius and
Anchises are looking
back, as if in fear
under the weight
• Scene painted on the double
curve of the shoulder and the
neck of the vase (Death of Priam
and the sack of Troy)
• This is a very difficult surface to
paint on, and this reflects his
interest and understanding
• Shape of the vase means
individual episodes are arranged
• The triangles are framed by the
positions of bodies or objects
such as trees and statues
• Each group is self-contained but
linked to others.
• The two ends of the frieze both
show shields. Also, both end
scenes are linked thematically –
HOPE and LIBERATION.
• The kleophrades painter continued to use incision in his paintings, most often
to detail hair but also to highlight other features.
• He was also very innovative when it came to portraying realistic facial
features; eyes were painted open at the inner corner with pupils painted
forward, rather than the common frontal eyes in a profile face.
• A full S-cruve was used for the nostrils and he also outlined the lips to make
them appear fuller.