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AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED AMPHORA (TYPE B)
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN 
AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED AMPHORA (TYPE B)

ATTRIBUTED TO THE SWING PAINTER, CIRCA 540-520 B.C.

Details
AN ATTIC BLACK-FIGURED AMPHORA (TYPE B)
ATTRIBUTED TO THE SWING PAINTER, CIRCA 540-520 B.C.
The obverse with Herakles dispatching Kyknos, the hero clad in a short chiton and his lion-skin, knotted around his neck, a quiver over his shoulder, defending himself against Kyknos' shield with his left hand and thrusting his sword with his right into Kyknos' chest, who has collapsed, blood issuing from his wound, Kyknos clad in a short white chiton, armed with a crested Corinthian helmet, his beard and long braids visible below, a spear in his left hand, Athena standing to the left, wearing a long peplos and a himation, armed with a shield and wearing a crested helmet, a spear in her upraised hand, Kyknos's father Ares to the right, the god armed with a crested Corinthian helmet, a corselet and greaves, a spear in his raised right hand, a shield in his left with a bearded head protome as the device, wearing a patterned short chiton and a chlamys over his shoulders, a band of lotus-palmette chain above; the reverse with a departure scene, a warrior in the centre standing alongside his horse, the reins and two spears in his hand, wearing a petasos, chlamys and boots, a warrior to the right behind his shield, a leaf as the device, wearing a crested Corinthian helmet, greaves and a chlamys, and a warrior to the left wearing a corselet, crested Corinthian helmet and greaves, a baldric over his right shoulder, holding a spear in his right hand, a lotus bud and palmette chain above; rays above the foot, details in added red and white

18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm.) high
Provenance
Private collection, Japan, acquired prior to 1980s.
Anonymous sale; Christies, New York, 12 December 2002, lot 16.
Private collection, New York, acquired at the above sale.
with Charles Ede Ltd, London, from whom acquired by the present owner in 2006.
Beazley archive no. 26090.
Sale room notice
This Lot is Withdrawn.

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Georgiana Aitken
Georgiana Aitken

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Lot Essay

PUBLISHED:
S. Muth, Gewalt im Bild, Das Phänomen der medialen Gewalt im Athen des 6. und 5. Jahrunderts v.Chr., Berlin, 2008, p. 52, fig. 24.
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Supplementum vol. 1, Düsseldorf, 2009, 'Kyknos I, Add. 2', pl. 157.

Kyknos, the son of Ares and Pelopeia, was a cruel brigand who attacked, killed and extorted ransom from travellers. In particular, he set upon those on their way to Delphi. This incited the wrath of Apollo and the god thus urged Herakles to put an end to the bandit’s antics once and for all. The scene on this vase depicts the moment Herakles, spurred on by his patron Athena, kills Kyknos while Ares tries to aid his wounded son. Soon after, Ares attacked Herakles in vengeance for Kyknos's death. According to Hesiod, Athena deflected Ares’ spear, allowing Herakles to wound Ares in the thigh.

Though not one of Herakles's Labours, the duel between the hero and Kyknos was a popular subject among Attic vase painters. This may have been due to the perceived dangers in travelling, a very real concern in the ancient world. The Swing Painter is noted for his broad repertoire of mythological subjects, as well as for his striking use of added colours to paint patterned clothing.


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