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

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.

Provenance

Parvi Collection; Deepdene Collection.


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