The Alkmene Hydrias and vase Painting in Late-Sixth-Century Athens

by Ann Steiner

Hesperia, Volume 73, Issue 3
Page(s): 427-463
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4134887
Year: 2004


A black-figure hydria attributed to the Alkmene Painter resurfaced after a century out of sight. Reassessment of the hydria leads to a modified attribution and revised ideas about black-figure painters working in Athens during the late sixth century B.C. Style, novel compositions, and the syntactical practice of repeating figures across fields to create narrative connections and paradigmatic relationships reveal artistic innovation. Iconographic and inscriptional evidence confirms the use of hydrias in elite convivial events. The choice of black-figure to reflect Peisistratid fountain-house construction suggests a conservative elite sensibility at the time that the Kleisthenic reforms were beginning to take shape.