Black-figure Band Cup with Heracles and the Nemean Lion

band cup

Greece, ca. 530 BCE, attributed to Hermogenes

(HFMA# 2004.069.007, gift of James and Aneta McIntyre)

This drinking cup has the characteristic shape of a so-called skyphos, with a deep bowl tapering at the foot, a low flaring foot, and an offset lip. The particular shape of this skyphos, with the two handles attached at the middle of the bowl, is characteristic for the Athenian potter Hermogenes.

The cup's lip is covered by black slip, as is the body, except for two reserved bands. The figural decoration is limited to the handle zone and consists of two virtually identical scenes (front and back), flanked by palmettes growing from the handles. The figural scenes consist of the Greek hero Herakles, nude, with a chlamys (cloak) draped over one arm to serve as a kind of shield, attacking the lion that approaches with mouth open and tongue unfurled. Herakles holds a club in one hand, pulled back behind his body, ready to bludgeon the animal. Standing figures in himatia flank the scene on either side. Three seem to be male and one might be female, but it is hard to be certain. Details are incised and there is some added red dish-purple paint, but the style is not refined.

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