|ATTIC BLACK-FIGURE AMPHORA BY THE DIOSPHOS PAINTER
This vase type is known as a doubleen amphora.
Depicted on the A-side we have Leto, one of the Titanides (female Titans) standing across from her twin children Artemis and Apollo kitharoides,
with a deer between them. Leto was the first wife of Zeus and Hera, his second, was known for her temper as well as her wrath.
When Leto was pregnant with the twins she was pursued relentlessly by Hera, preventing her from finding a place to rest and give birth.
She finally found refuge on the island of Delos where she first gave birth to Artemis and then with her daughter's assistance as midwife, she bore her son Apollo. On this vase Apollo holds his kithara, one of his attributes and the deer in the scene is one of Artemis' attributes. Leto holds a wreath (?).
On the B-side we find Athena in the center grasping the hand of her half-brother Herakles, a hoplite stands beside her and a young bull behind the goddess. Athena displays her many attributes; a crested helm, her famed aegis whilst holding a spear and shield. This scene probably depicts the end result of Herakles after his seventh Labor where he captures the Eurysthean bull. Upon doing so, Herakles returned it to King Eurystheus, whereupon the king offered it as a sacrifice to Hera, but the goddess refused it. The bull was later sent to Athens where it was sacrificed in Athena's honor.
A superb gallery of ancient deities!
Ca. 500-490 BC
H. 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm)
Ex M. Pierre P. collection, Paris, acquired in 1969, purchased in the Paris art market in May of 2008,
Ex U.S. Midwest Collection, purchased from Royal-Athena Galleries June 2009.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has two fine amphorae by the Diosphos Painter as well as a number of lekythoi by the artist.
Published: J. Eisenberg, Art of the Ancient World, Vol. XXI, 2010, no. 135.