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    Sale 2056

    ANTIQUITIES

    9 December 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 77

    AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED LEKYTHOS

    ATTRIBUTED TO THE DAYBREAK PAINTER, CIRCA 520 B.C.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED LEKYTHOS
    ATTRIBUTED TO THE DAYBREAK PAINTER, CIRCA 520 B.C.
    With Herakles wrestling the Libyan giant Antaios, the beardless youthful hero clad in a short-sleeved chiton, pleats cascading from the belt, crouching forward with his left leg advanced, gripping the bearded giant with his right hand around his left forearm, the left arm bent back holding his left shoulder, trying to lift the giant from his safety on the strength-giving earth, the giant nude, his rear raised up, Herakles' chlamys, club, and quiver among the vines in the field, Athena to the left, her left arm raised, holding her spear in her right hand, wearing a high-crested helmet, peplos and snaky aegis, her shield resting against her legs, a gesturing female to the right, moving right and looking back, clad in a belted peplos and chlamys, perhaps Antaios' mother Gaia; bands in added red below, a dotted double band framed above and below by plain bands, palmettes on the shoulders, vertical lines on the base of the neck, details in added white and red
    10 3/8 in. (26.4 cm.) high


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    In the course of his Eleventh Labor on his way to the Garden of the Hesperides, Herakles comes to Libya and encounters the giant Antaios. Herakles is forced into a wrestling match whereby the giant plans to add the hero's skull to his growing collection of grappling trophies, with which he plans to build a temple to his father Poseidon. Herakles discovers that Antaios' strength comes from contact with the earth (his mother Gaia) and manages to lift him off the ground and asphyxiate him.
    According to Henle (p. 69, Greek Myths, A Vase Painter's Notebook), the scene of Herakles and Antaios wrestling "comes late into the pictorial tradition and, perhaps for this reason, has no type. It is simply a scene of wrestling, varied as different holds and throws are used. Herakles' attributes often hang on the wall of the vase or lean against it, but the scene is essentially a slice of the life of the palestra."

    For these varied positions in both black- and red-figured vases, see nos. 1-28 in Olmos and Balmaseda, "Antaios" in LIMC, vol. I.

    The Daybreak Painter, a member of the Leagros group, was identified by Haspels. For a lekythos by this painter with the same subject, now in Munich, see no. 196.3, pl. 17.2 in Haspels, Attic Black-Figured Lekythoi.

    Provenance

    with Galerie Segredakis, Paris, late 1950s.
    French Private Collection.