Drinking cup (skyphos) with the departure and recovery of Helen
Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens
Caskey-Beazley, Attic Vase Paintings (MFA), no. 140; Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 061.
Height: 21.5 cm (8 7/16 in.); diameter: 39 cm (15 3/8 in.); diameter of mouth: 27.8 cm (10 15/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Ceramic, Red Figure
Krupp Gallery (Gallery 215A)
Side A: Paris (named Alexandros here) is leading Helen away from Sparta and the Palace of Menelaos. Aeneas, with a lion shield, accompanies Paris. Aphrodite and Eros flank Helen. Peitho, the personification of persuasion, follows behind Aphrodite. The boy under the handle is thought to be Helen’s son by Menelaos.
Side B: During the sack of Troy. Helen fleeing to the Sanctuary of Apollo. Menelaos, at the right, sees Helen and draws his sword to kill her. Aphrodite is behind Helen, present as an intervening force. Menelaos is in the act of dropping his sword, overcome by Helen’s beauty. The priest of the sanctuary, Chryses, and his daughter, Chryseis are also present (at far left). Priam is seated under handle at the right, watching the story unfold.
Painted inscriptions: “Aineas”; “Alexandros”; “Aphrodite” (twice); “Priam”; “Helen” (twice); “Kriseis”; “Kriseus”; “Menelaos”
Scratched on handle: “Hieron made (it)” (HIERON EPOIESEN)
Painted under the opposite handle: “Makron drew (it)” (MAKRON EGRAPHSEN)
The size of this vessel suggests it was made for display, rather than use, and like huge kylikes (parade cups) of the same period which could not have been used for drinking.
Inscriptions: "Aineas"; "Alexandros"; "Aphrodite" (twice); "Priam"; "Helen" (twice); "Kriseis"; "Kriseus"; "Menelaos", "Hieron "made [it] (HIERON EPOIESEN), "Makron painted [it]" (MAKRON EGRAPHSEN)
Scratched on handle: "Hieron made (it)" (HIERON EPOIESEN)
Painted under the opposite handle: "Makron drew (it)" (MAKRON EGRAPHSEN)
1879: Marchese Marcello Spinelli Collection (according to F. von Duhn, Bullettino, 1879, and Caskey-Beazley III, no. 140, the vase was found leaning beside a tomb on March 22, 1879 during Marchese Marcello Spinelli's excavations in the cemetery of Suessula); by 1912: with Edward Perry Warren; purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren, January 2, 1913, for $18,948.70 (this figure is the total price for MFA 13.186-13.245)
Francis Bartlett Donation of 1912