Laconic ceramics are distinguished among the production of Greek figured ceramics that arrived in Etruria through trade; here they are represented by a celebrated kylix (goblet) made in Sparta shortly before the middle of the sixth century B.C., and attributed to the Arkesilas Painter.
On this item we are able to admire one of the first known illustrations of the myth of Atlas, possibly directly inspired by the Theogony of Hesiod. Bearded Atlas bends at the knees under the weight of the heavenly vault dotted with stars that he has to carry, having been condemned by Zeus to keep heaven and earth separated. His punishment is associated with that of another Titan, his brother Prometheus, guilty of having given fire to man, and therefore bound to a pole and subjected to perpetual torture: an eagle pecks at his liver, which then regrows every night, only to be eaten again the following day. The linear plane on which the two Titans are depicted, possibly symbolising the Earth, rests on an imposing Doric column from which two lotus buds branch. The snake on the left may constitute a reference to the subterranean sphere of the underworld.