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Syriskos Painter
Greek
Red Figure Column Krater
c. 470 BC
Ceramic

17 3/8 x 16 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches

 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of the Museum Collectors; Mr. and Mrs. James M. Vaughn, Jr./The Vaughn Foundation Fund; Isabel B. and Wallace S. Wilson; Nina and Michael Zilkha; Nancy and Mark Abendshein; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; Drs. Ellin and Robert G. Grossman; Caroline Wiess Law; and Frances and Peter Marzio

 
ABOUT

This large ceramic vessel, called a column krater, was used for mixing water and wine. It is exceptional for its size, its beautifully balanced composition, and the finely painted figures.

The primary characters are important deities from Greek mythology. On the front, Zeus and Hera—king and queen of the Olympian gods—are seated on either side of the winged goddess Iris, who pours an offering from a jug called an oinochoe into a dish called a phiale, held by Zeus. Iris extends her left hand toward Hera, who grasps it in her own hand. Hermes, messenger to the gods, walks to the left but looks back to the right. The other side of the column krater depicts a woman standing between two youths.