Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Attic red-figure kylix with Theseus

The work of one of the leading figures in Attic red-figure painting, this cup illustrates some of the exploits of the hero Theseus. In the middle tondo Theseus is battling the Minotaur, the monster – half man and half bull – that defended the labyrinth of Minos on Crete.

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Depicted on the exterior are four of the hero’s other feats, skilfully arranged and alternated in order to create a balanced composition along the entire wall of the vase. The popularity of Theseus in red-figure pottery is directly tied to the political events of Athens, which promoted a uniquely Attic hero, the leading figure in a series of undertakings that were often used as a paradigm for the city’s role in the history of Greece.

Provenance: Probably from the Chiusi area. Palagi Collection
Datation: 480–475 BC, Kleophrades Painter
Material: clay
Dimensions: height cm 11,3; diam cm 27,4
Inventory #: G 818 (PU 270)

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Exhibition rooms | Rooms V and VI - Greek collection