LOUVRE - DNP MUSEUM LAB
LOUVRE - DNP MUSEUM LAB
  • Museum Lab Scenes
  • Tokyo-Paris: Two LDMLs
Presentation organinzed by :
  • LOUVRE
  • DNP
FAQ about the exhibits
Tenth presentation Louvre - DNP Museum Lab A Masterpiece of Ancient Greece: a World of Men, Gods and Heroes

From the Louvre, the scientific director of this 10th presentation answers visitors' questions about the artworks.

・Q1. Why are the handles fixed to the lower part of the krater ? Is there a particular reason (or use) that accounts for this position ?
・Q2. What does the relief on Herakles' head represent ? Is it a coiffure or a piece of jewellery ? Or was the painter trying to represent tousled hair ?
・Q3. Why are the letters of the inscription (i.e. signature) quite far apart from each other ? Was it easier to execute them by spacing them out ?
・Q4. Was the krater of Antaeus found in its present condition ? Or was it reconstructed from fragments pieced together ?
・Q5. Was red wine the type of wine consumed at that time ?
・Q6. What is the purpose of the decorative motifs ?
・Q7. Where was it placed ?
・Q8. Who used this object ?
・Q9. What were the original colours ?
・Q10. How was it painted ?
・Q11. Does the shape of the vase serve a purpose ?
・Q12. Who are these figures ?
・Q13. How much does it weigh ?
・Q14. What's it made of ?
・Q15. Where was it found ?
・Q16. What colour is the inside of the krater ? Is it decorated with motifs or a scene ?
・Q17. Did the wines of ancient Greece have a higher alcoholic content than the wines of today ?
・Q18. It is said that wine, water and herbs were mixed together. Do we know which herbs were used ?
・Q19. How much would it cost to purchase a work of this kind today ?
・Q20. What is the meaning of the numbers inscribed on the vase ? (the number 748 can be seen beneath one of the krater's side handles)
・Q21. The man on the left is climbing onto a pedestal: what is this ?
・Q22. Are the images on the front and back related ?
・Q23. What was its capacity ?
・Q24. Where was it made ?
・Q25. What's its provenance ?
・Q26. What was this object used for ?
・Q27. Who made this object ?
・Q28. In what context was it made ?
・Q29. Who owned/used this object ?
Q1.Why are the handles fixed to the lower part of the krater? Is there a particular reason (or use) that accounts for this position ?
There are several types of krater whose names are derived from the shape of their handles (column krater and volute krater) or their bowl (bell krater or calyx krater). The calyx krater has handles that are located on its base in order to accentuate the flared shape and to make it easier to carry.
Back to top
Q2.What does the relief on Herakles' head represent ? Is it a coiffure or a piece of jewellery ? Or was the painter trying to represent tousled hair ?
Herakles' head has an immaculate coiffure topped with curls executed with small drops of varnish in relief.
Back to top
Q3.Why are the letters of the inscription (i.e. signature) quite far apart from each other ? Was it easier to execute them by spacing them out ?
The spacing between each Greek letter is more or less consistent. It varies according to painter and potter, and according to the space allocated to the inscription in the composition.
Back to top
Q4.Was the krater of Antaeus found in its present condition ? Or was it reconstructed from fragments pieced together ?
When it was discovered in the 19th century, the krater was most probably not whole and was subsequently restored. Its current form is the result of restoration work undertaken in 1989.
Back to top
Q5.Was red wine the type of wine consumed at that time ?
The Greeks did drink red wine, but also white and rosé wine.
Back to top
Q6.What is the purpose of the decorative motifs ?
The decorative motifs (such as palmette friezes) emphasize the different parts of the vase and structure the decoration.
Back to top
Q7.Where was it placed ?
The krater could be placed on the ground, or on a table, in the middle of the symposium room.
Back to top
Q8.Who used this object ?
The Greeks used these vessels at the symposium. Many vases like the krater of Antaeus were found in Etruria, where they were used by the richest Etruscans who then placed them in tombs, near the deceased.
Back to top
Q9.What were the original colours ?
These are the original colours.
Back to top
Q10.How was it painted ?
For the decoration, the painter applied what is generally known as "black glaze". When fired, this clay-based material turned a black colour with metallic reflections.
Back to top
Q11.Does the shape of the vase serve a purpose ?
The shape of the krater is adapted to its use. Its wide mouth allowed easy access to its contents.
Back to top
Q12.Who are these figures ?
The hero Heracles, son of Zeus, fights the giant Antaeus who challenges all travellers to a wrestling match.
Back to top
Q13.How much does it weigh ?
About 12 kg.
Back to top
Q14.What's it made of ?
This vase is made of clay.
Back to top
Q15.Where was it found ?
This krater was found in Cerveteri in Italy. Greek vases were exported throughout the ancient world, especially to the Etruscan region of Italy; many Greek ceramic objects have been found in the tombs of Etruscan nobles.
Back to top
Q16.What colour is the inside of the krater ? Is it decorated with motifs or a scene ?
The interior of the calyx krater is not decorated. It is painted black, with only five circles left in reserve in the colour of the clay.
Back to top
Q17.Did the wines of ancient Greece have a higher alcoholic content than the wines of today ?
The ancients drank wine whose alcohol content was similar to that of today's wine.
Back to top
Q18.It is said that wine, water and herbs were mixed together. Do we know which herbs were used ?
Both red and white wine were drunk diluted with water and flavoured with herbs (honey, thym, cinnamon, laurel).
Back to top
Q19.How much would it cost to purchase a work of this kind today ?
As it is part of the Musée du Louvre collections, we are unable to put a price on a masterpiece of this kind.
Back to top
Q20.What is the meaning of the numbers inscribed on the vase ? (the number 748 can be seen beneath one of the krater's side handles)
This figure is the item's inventory number. The vase comes from the Campana collection, acquired by France in 1861, and bears the number CP 748.
Back to top
Q21.The man on the left is climbing onto a pedestal: what is this ?
The man is preparing to play his double flute on a bema, a small podium on which there was little room for movement.
Back to top
Q22.Are the images on the front and back related ?
There is no connection between the two scenes. However, it has been observed that the Athenian red-figure Pioneer Group often depicted a mythological scene on the front and an everyday scene on the back of their vases. The two sides are separated by palmettes above the handles.
Back to top
Q23.What was its capacity ?
This vase can hold 45 litres.
Back to top
Q24.Where was it made ?
It was made in Athens, an important ceramic production centre whose "ceramic district" grouped pottery and painting workshops.
Back to top
Q25.What's its provenance ?
This vase belonged to the marquis Giampietro Campana, a 19th-century Italian collector who owned several thousand ancient vases. In 1861, part of his collection was purchased by France (Napoleon III) and subsequently dispersed among many French museums including the Louvre. The Campana gallery, dedicated to Greek ceramics, is named after him. The krater of Antaeus is displayed there.
Back to top
Q26.What was this object used for ?
The krater was used for wine during a banquet. Greeks used it to prepare wine with water and herbs and spices.
Back to top
Q27.Who made this object ?
The vase is the work of two artists: the potter Euxitheos and the painter Euphronios, pioneer of the red-figure technique.
Back to top
Q28.In what context was it made ?
It was made in an Athenian potter's workshop in the late 6th century BC, for an unknown client.
Back to top
Q29.Who owned/used this object ?
This krater, found in a funerary context in Etruria, probably belonged to an Etruscan noble who used it at banquets.
・Q1. How many statues are there left in the world of Herakles in this pose ?
・Q2. Why is his hand so big ?
・Q3. Is the join in his left arm the result of a restoration? Was the statuette originally assembled from several pieces ?
・Q4. How old is Herakles in this representation ?
・Q5. The right foot was found later; when and in what state was it discovered? Was it found in the same place as the statuette ?
・Q6. Herakles is famous for fighting with his bare hands. Why does he have a club here ?
・Q7. Was this statuette a decorative object that was produced in large numbers ?
・Q8. Herakles is here represented "resting", but why is he resting standing up rather than sitting down ?
・Q9. How do we know that this Heracles Resting is a copy of an original dating to the 4th century BC ?
・Q10. Can you confirm whether these works are indeed permanent exhibits in the Musée du Louvre, or are kept in the stores ?
・Q11. Where is the Farnese Heracles to be found today ?
・Q12. The original is said to have been bearing apples. Why are they absent from this copy ?
・Q13. Why is he depicted naked ?
・Q14. What was this object used for ?
・Q15. What is the subject? What is the figure doing ?
・Q16. How was it made ?
・Q17. Who made this object ?
・Q18. What is the meaning of Heracles' pose ?
・Q19. What is he holding in his left hand ?
・Q20. What were the original colours ?
・Q21. Where was this object placed ?
・Q22. How much does it weigh ?
・Q23. Which parts, if any, have been restored ?
・Q24. Some information about its discovery ?
・Q25. Where was it found ?
Q1.How many statues are there left in the world of Herakles in this pose ?
To date, nearly twenty-five sculpted copies and a large number of coins attest to the popularity of the original during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Back to top
Q2.Why is his hand so big ?
The size of his hands is in proportion to that of his body. The hand positioned at his back held the golden apples from the Garden of Hesperides.
Back to top
Q3.Is the join in his left arm the result of a restoration? Was the statuette originally assembled from several pieces ?
The statuette is an assemblage of five parts: the body with the right leg, the left thigh and leg, the right arm, the left arm and lion-skin, and finally the club. It was discovered in three parts: the left leg, the left arm with the lion-skin, and the rest of the figure. The left arm with the lion-skin was attached to the shoulder by two small fixings whose position is visible. The right foot is a 19th-century restoration and the ancient right foot was found after the restoration (it is on display at the Musée du Louvre). The club was executed separately. The base dates from antiquity, but does not belong to the statuette.
Back to top
Q4.How old is Herakles in this representation ?
Herakles is represented in his maturity, at the end of his life, after having carried out his twelve Labours.
Back to top
Q5.The right foot was found later; when and in what state was it discovered? Was it found in the same place as the statuette ?
The statuette's original base is not on display in the exhibition at Tokyo. It was acquired in 1870 a few months after the statuette. The statuette was restored in Rome, before it entered the Louvre, by the antiquarian Martinetti, who reproduced the missing right foot in bronze and added the ancient base.
Back to top
Q6.Herakles is famous for fighting with his bare hands. Why does he have a club here ?
The club, like the lion-skin, is one of Herakles' attributes.
Back to top
Q7.Was this statuette a decorative object that was produced in large numbers ?
Because of its size, this statuette was probably a precious decorative object.
Back to top
Q8.Herakles is here represented "resting", but why is he resting standing up rather than sitting down ?
The sculptor Lysippos chose to depict Herakles upright in all his majesty in the tradition of classical sculpture (Doryphoros, Apoxymenos). The way he leans on the club placed under his armpit causes a slight imbalance in the body and in the distribution of the muscle masses. Lysippos also executed another type of sculpture representing Herakles seated: the Herakles epitrapezios.
Back to top
Q9.How do we know that this Heracles Resting is a copy of an original dating to the 4th century BC ?
This statuette is a copy of the Heracles Resting made by Lysippos in the 4th century BC. Scientific and academic studies have shown that it is derived from the original, now lost, but known to have existed through documentary sources and many copies such as the one presented here.
Back to top
Q10.Can you confirm whether these works are indeed permanent exhibits in the Musée du Louvre, or are kept in the stores ?
The bronze statuette of Heracles Resting, as well as the other works featured in this exhibition, can be found on display in the Musée du Louvre, when not on loan to temporary exhibitions.
Back to top
Q11.Where is the Farnese Heracles to be found today ?
The famous marble statue known as the Farnese Heracles is in the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy.
Back to top
Q12.The original is said to have been bearing apples. Why are they absent from this copy ?
The bronze statuette of Heracles Resting in the Musée du Louvre unfortunately no longer features the apples, which would have been held in the hero's right hand.
Back to top
Q13.Why is he depicted naked ?
The nudity of Heracles exalts his strength. The depiction of the male nude is a constant in Greek art.
Back to top
Q14.What was this object used for ?
The precise function of this object is unknown. It may have been a votive bronze statue that was placed in a sanctuary, or simply a decorative object.
Back to top
Q15.What is the subject? What is the figure doing ?
Heracles seems to be deep in thought after completing the twelve labours imposed by Eurystheus.
Back to top
Q16.How was it made ?
The work was made using the lost wax technique. A wax model was made and covered with a clay mould which was then heated, causing the wax to melt; this left a hollow that was filled with molten bronze. Once the clay mould had cooled it was removed, and the details of the bronze statuette could be worked cold.
Back to top
Q17.Who made this object ?
We don't know the name of the craftsman who made this statuette, but it's a replica of a lost bronze statue of Heracles resting, made in the 4th century BC by the sculptor Lysippos.
Back to top
Q18.What is the meaning of Heracles' pose ?
The hero Heracles is leaning on his club in a pose that suggests he is resting after his twelve labours.
Back to top
Q19.What is he holding in his left hand ?
Heracles is represented with his club and lion skin, which evokes his first task ‒ the combat with the Nemean lion.
Back to top
Q20.What were the original colours ?
The bronze had golden reflections at first, but it has changed over the years and the surface now has a dark patina.
Back to top
Q21.Where was this object placed ?
We don't know.
Back to top
Q22.How much does it weigh ?
It weighs 12 kg.
Back to top
Q23.Which parts, if any, have been restored ?
The work was restored in Rome before it entered the Louvre. The missing right foot was replaced, and an ancient base was added. The original right foot was acquired by the museum at a later date, and is displayed in the Louvre near the statue. The club is not the original.
Back to top
Q24.Some information about its discovery ?
The details of its discovery are unknown. The Louvre bought it in 1870 from the great collector Michel Tyszkiewicz.
Back to top
Q25.Where was it found ?
This bronze was found in Foligno in Italy, in the 19th century.
・Q1. Are Triton and Theseus brothers? Is Theseus the son of Poseidon ?
・Q2. If Athena is perfectly upright in the centre, the handles are not straight. Why were they not placed to view the scene straight ?
・Q3. The scene depicts Amphitrite informing Theseus of his divine origins, but why is Athena present ?
・Q4. Why is Triton beneath Theseus ?
・Q5. Is the resemblance between the geographical pattern inside the plate and a well-known Chinese pattern purely accidental ?
・Q6. What is the figure at the bottom doing ?
・Q7. What's the significance of the stick the figure is holding ?
・Q8. What's the significance of the dolphins ?
・Q9. What were the original colours ?
・Q10. What's it made of ?
・Q11. Why is the meander motif featured here ?
・Q12. In what context was it made ?
・Q13. Who made this object ?
・Q14. What was the paint made of ?
・Q15. Iconographical question: what are the figures doing ?
・Q16. Where was it found ?
・Q17. Where was it made ?
・Q18. How was it made/coloured ?
・Q19. How much does the cup weigh ?
・Q20. Are they fighting ?
・Q21. What animal is depicted ?
・Q22. Are the images on the front and back related ?
・Q23. Who are these figures ?
・Q24. What are the figures doing ?
・Q25. Why these colours (orange and black) ?
・Q26. What did it stand on ?
・Q27. How were the motifs applied ?
・Q28. Is it shaped like this for a reason ? (It doesn't look stable)
・Q29. What was this object used for ?
Q1.Are Triton and Theseus brothers ? Is Theseus the son of Poseidon ?
Triton is the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite. There are two traditions concerning the origins of Theseus: according to the human tradition, he is the son of Aegeus and Aethra, and according to the divine tradition, a son of Poseidon and Aethra.
Back to top
Q2.If Athena is perfectly upright in the centre, the handles are not straight. Why were they not placed to view the scene straight ?
The cup must be arranged in the display case in such a way that the line of the ground in the scene is horizontal. In this instance, it was of little importance to the painters and potters to place the handles in the same horizontal axis as the scene represented in the medallion.
Back to top
Q3.The scene depicts Amphitrite informing Theseus of his divine origins, but why is Athena present ?
The goddess Athena often plays the role of protector of heroes such as Perseus, Herakles and Theseus.
Back to top
Q4.Why is Triton beneath Theseus ?
The scene takes place at the bottom of the sea, as indicated by the presence of three dolphins, and the sea god Triton, half man half fish, is lifting the young hero Theseus up on his palms as a sign of support.
Back to top
Q5.Is the resemblance between the geographical pattern inside the plate and a well-known Chinese pattern purely accidental ?
The Meander motif, also known as the "Greek key" or "Greek fret", is a decorative frieze found on many objects and monuments in ancient Greece. There is no Chinese influence.
Back to top
Q6.What is the figure at the bottom doing ?
In the bottom left, Triton, son of Amphitrite and Poseidon, is supporting Theseus.
Back to top
Q7.What's the significance of the stick the figure is holding ?
The goddess Athena is holding a spear, one of her warlike attributes.
Back to top
Q8.What's the significance of the dolphins ?
The dolphins indicate that the scene is taking place at the bottom of the sea.
Back to top
Q9.What were the original colours ?
These are the original colours.
Back to top
Q10.What's it made of ?
This cup is made of clay.
Back to top
Q11.Why is the meander motif featured here ?
The meander is a very common decorative motif in Greece. It is used here to define the medallion containing the main scene.
Back to top
Q12.In what context was it made ?
This prestigious cup was perhaps made for an Etruscan client.
Back to top
Q13.Who made this object ?
This cup was made by Euphronios, a great vase painter who became a potter around 500 BC. His signature is visible in the medallion, next to the figure of Theseus. The decoration is attributed to the painter Onesimos, an heir to the style of Euphronios.
Back to top
Q14.What was the paint made of ?
For the decoration, the painter applied what is generally known as "black lacquer". When fired, this clay-based material turned a black colour with metallic reflections.
Back to top
Q15.Iconographical question: what are the figures doing ?
The cup is decorated all over with episodes from the life of the Athenian hero Theseus. At the bottom of the sea, the sea goddess Amphitrite gives the hero a crown symbolising his divine origin. Athena is present at the scene.
Back to top
Q16.Where was it found ?
This work, like many Greek vases, was found in Cerveteri in Italy. The ancient Greeks exported their products, especially to Etruria.
Back to top
Q17.Where was it made ?
It was made in Athens, an important ceramic production centre whose "Ceramic district" grouped pottery and painting workshops.
Back to top
Q18.How was it made/coloured ?
This cup was the work of two artists. It was made on a wheel by the potter Euphronios, then decorated with the red-figure technique by the painter Onesimos. The two dominant colours are the black of the paint and the orange of the clay. Technically, the figures are reserved in the natural clay colour, and the inside details and background are painted in black.
Back to top
Q19.How much does the cup weigh ?
It weighs approximately 500 grams.
Back to top
Q20.Are they fighting?
Yes. The protagonists are fighting.
Back to top
Q21.What animal is depicted ?
Theseus is fighting the bull that was devastating the area around Marathon.
Back to top
Q22.Are the images on the front and back related ?
The various scenes on this cup all depict the hero Theseus and glorify his exploits.
Back to top
Q23.Who are these figures ?
Theseus is fighting the brigands Skiron, Procrustes and Kerkyon.
Back to top
Q24.What are the figures doing ?
Four of the exploits of Theseus are shown on the bowl. The hero Theseus fights three brigands he meets on his way to Athens: Skiron, Procrustes and Kerkyon. He also overcomes the bull of Marathon.
Back to top
Q25.Why these colours (orange and black) ?
The colours are those of the materials used. Athenian clay is rich in iron oxide, which gave the cup this orange colour; the black was produced by a chemical process that occurred during firing.
Back to top
Q26.What did it stand on ?
The cup stood on a base that is now lost.
Back to top
Q27.How were the motifs applied ?
The painters used brushes.
Back to top
Q28.Is it shaped like this for a reason ? (It doesn't look stable)
These cups were used for drinking at the symposium. Despite their fragility, a great many have been found. This one is a ceremonial cup, and is exceptionally well made and impressively large. The base is unfortunately missing.
Back to top
Q29.What was this object used for ?
Banqueters drank wine from these cups. The exceptional size and quality of this one suggest it was used at religious ceremonies.
・Q1. Dionysus is the god of wine: was wine-making different in ancient Greece from today ?
・Q2. What are the figures inscribed on the back of the mask ?
・Q3. Clay is generally regarded as a fragile material. Is it strong enough to last for 2,000 years ?
・Q4. In order to hang the mask up as decoration, what was threaded through the holes to hold it in place ?
・Q5. Do Greeks continue to add water when drinking wine ?
・Q6. This mask was painted with colours: what pigments were used at the time ?
・Q7. How much does this mask of Dionysos weigh ?
・Q8. Have the other masks in the series survived? Have similar masks depicting other deities been found during excavations ?
・Q9. What was this object used for ?
・Q10. Was it really used as a mask ?
・Q11. What is he wearing on his head ?
・Q12. How was this mask worn ?
・Q13. Is there anything special about the hair and beard ?
・Q14. Are there any other masks like this one ?
・Q15. Why is only the face represented ?
・Q16. What were the original colours ?
・Q17. What's it made of ?
・Q18. Where was it found ?
・Q19. Who made this object ?
Q1.Dionysus is the god of wine: was wine-making different in ancient Greece from today ?
The ancient Greeks used the same methods for making wine as those used today.
Back to top
Q2.What are the figures inscribed on the back of the mask ?
These figures are the object's inventory number.
Back to top
Q3.Clay is generally regarded as a fragile material. Is it strong enough to last for 2,000 years ?
Fired clay is a strong material, but it can break. Some objects were found in several fragments, but are reassembled during restoration to recreate their original form.
Back to top
Q4.In order to hang the mask up as decoration, what was threaded through the holes to hold it in place ?
The holes made it possible to thread a piece of leather or metal.
Back to top
Q5.Do Greeks continue to add water when drinking wine ?
Today Greeks drink wine without adding water.
Back to top
Q6.This mask was painted with colours: what pigments were used at the time ?
During Antiquity various pigments were used; these were of organic (madder for pink, green earth or malachite for green, ochre for yellow, hematite for red, Egyptian blue) or animal (murex for purple) origin.
Back to top
Q7.How much does this mask of Dionysos weigh ?
The mask weighs around 500 grams.
Back to top
Q8.Have the other masks in the series survived? Have similar masks depicting other deities been found during excavations ?
Many other masks or busts of the god Dionysos have been found. They are similar in type to those used to illustrate the multimedia display about the mask exhibited (CA 625 and MNC 752).
Back to top
Q9.What was this object used for ?
This mask was related to the worship of Dionysos, but its function is uncertain. It may have been associated with religious festivals, or perhaps it was an ex-voto ‒ an offering placed in one of the god's temples.
Back to top
Q10.Was it really used as a mask ?
This type of terracotta mask was not intended to be worn. In ancient Greece, only actors wore masks, during performances; these objects were made of perishable materials (leather, fabric, wood…) and have not survived.
Back to top
Q11.What is he wearing on his head ?
Here, Dionysos is wearing a diadem decorated with palmettes.
Back to top
Q12.How was this mask worn ?
This mask wasn't actually worn, but it could be suspended using the four holes in the diadem and beard. It may have been placed on a pillar, in accordance with a custom depicted on ceramics.
Back to top
Q13.Is there anything special about the hair and beard ?
This style of hair and beard with curls and waves is not unusual, but the clusters of grapes in his hair remind us that Dionysos was the god of the vine and wine.
Back to top
Q14.Are there any other masks like this one ?
There are several other masks similar to this one, some of which still have their polychromy. They seem to have been mainly manufactured in Attica (the region around Athens) and Boeotia (central Greece).
Back to top
Q15.Why is only the face represented ?
Dionysos, like all the Greek gods, was depicted as a human, but could also be represented by a mask showing only his face ‒ which seems logical for Dionysos, who was also the patron god of the theatre where the actors all wore masks.
Back to top
Q16.What were the original colours ?
This clay mask was originally embellished with colours that unfortunately have not survived. However, tiny traces of ochre are still visible under certain analytical conditions.
Back to top
Q17.What's it made of ?
This mask is made of clay.
Back to top
Q18.Where was it found ?
It was found in Boeotia in central Greece, where it was probably made.
Back to top
Q19.Who made this object ?
Large quantities of these terracotta figurines, intended to honour the gods or accompany the dead, were produced by artisans called coroplasts. We do not know the name of the 5th century Boeotian coroplast who made the mask in the Louvre.
Back to top
The use or reproduction of these images without permission is strictly forbidden.
©2013 Louvre - DNP Museum Lab