Water jar (kalpis-hydria) depicting Danae receiving Zeus
about 430 B.C.
Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens
Medium or Technique
Ceramic, Red Figure technique
Not On View
Danaë, seated on a pillowed couch, receives Zeus as the Shower of Gold while a female attendant and Hermes shrink back in amazement. A mirror hangs in the background.
The scene on this vase records some of the first events in the myth of Danaë. Her father, Akrisios, was warned by an oracle that he would be killed by Danaë’s son. Lest Danaë bear children, Akrisios locked her in a bronze chamber. In this scene, Danaë is visited by Zeus in the form of a golden rain while Hermes and a maidservant watch with amazement. The added paint that described the shower of gold has faded over the centuries although it can be seen clearly that Danaë opens her dress to catch the falling rain. Through this metamorphosis, Zeus was able to father the hero Perseus by Danaë. Many years later, the oracle’s prophecy was fulfilled when Perseus accidentally killed his grandfather Akrisios with a discus.
By 1968: with Robert E. Hecht, Jr.; purchased by MFA from Robert E. Hecht, Jr., February 7, 1968
Otis Norcross Fund