Ancient Greek art reflected society, battle, human accomplishments and homage to the gods. In Greek pottery, there were two styles–one that featured dark red figures against a black background and one with black figures against a dark red background. Designs were primarily inspired by mythological stories and legends. Geometrical designs and half human had animal creatures were also common. Heracles fighting the Amazons: Heracles (Hercules) was the strongest character in Greek mythology and Amazons a tribe of women warriors. This piece depicts a battle, griffins and geometric design, as well as animal friezes which appear to be lions.
Hephaestus polishing a shield: Hephaestus was the god of blacksmiths, sculptors and fire. The shield represents his accomplishments as a blacksmith and there appears to be depictions of his tools. The other figure may be Achilles, for whom Hephaestus made the shield. There is a geometric design at the bottom and two handles.
Acteaon Bell: In Greek mythology, Acteaon was killed by his own dogs after being turned into a stag by Artemis. This piece clearly depicts Acteaon being killed by Artemis, falling and being attacked by his dogs. This piece was used to carry water.
Odysseus Kylix: This is a drinking cup depicting the goddess Circe appears in center of eight figures mixing her potion for Odysseus’ men. The men have human bodies but animal heads. The handles are decorated with leaf designs. In the myth, the witch Kirke has turned Odysseus’ men into beasts.
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