Greek Vase: Orestes pursued by the Furies by Unknown Artist

This red-figure bell-krater depicts figures from Aeschylus' Orestia, in which Orestes seeks sanctuary at Delphi after killing his mother and her lover.


57 x 51 cm
Art Fund grant:
£450 ( Total: £450)
Acquired in:
Deepdene Sale

The painting depicts principle characters from the play, rather than a specific scene: Orestes kneels in the centre and is addressed by Athena (left), which alludes to his forthcoming trial in Athens. Apollo (right) turns to a Fury holding a large serpent while another Fury is depicted above, wielding live snakes. The busts at the upper left and right probably represent Clytemnestra (Orestes' mother) and Pylades (his friend). The tripod cauldron represents Delphi, where a golden tripod stood before the temple. The krater was made in a Greek colony of southern Italy, possibly Paestum, where scenes from the Orestia were especially popular in the fourth century BC.


Parvi Collection; Deepdene Collection.

Venue details

British Museum Great Russell Street, LONDON London WC1B 3DG 020 7323 8181

Entry details

50% off with National Art Pass

Daily, 10am – 5.30pm (Fri until 8.30pm)

Closed 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan