Laconic kylix with Prometheus and Atlas
Collections OnlineGregorian Etruscan MuseumRooms XVII and XVIII

Laconic kylix with Prometheus and Atlas

560-550 BC.
painted ceramic
height cm 14 - diam. cm 20.2
cat. 16592

Laconic ceramics stand out among the various types of production of Greek ceramics. It is documented here by a famous kylix (goblet) made in Sparta shortly before the middle of the 6th century BC and attributed to the Painter of Archesilas II. We can admire on it one of the first known illustrations of the myth of Atlas. A bearded Atlas bends his knees under the weight of the mass that he must support on his shoulders, having been condemned by Zeus to keep heaven and earth separated. Associated in his punishment is another Titan, his brother Prometheus, guilty of having given fire to men. He is tied to a pole and subjected to the perpetual torture of the eagle who eats his liver which grows again every night to be eaten once again. The placing of these two episodes together has led to the supposition that our painter must have been inspired directly by the Theogony of Hesiod, where the two Titans are described one after the other.