The Moment of Love

Akhilleus_Penthesileia_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen_2688Achilles kills Penthesilea (an Attic red-figure kylix, 470–460 BCE) wikipedia public domain image

This is an ancient Greek painting on a big platter. It illustrates a story the Greeks all knew about Achilles, the Greek hero, and Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.

She joined the Trojans in their war against the Greeks and met Achilles on the battlefield. They fight and Achilles kills her, though not before—the very moment the picture illustrates—he falls in love with her!

The nameless artist, one of the greatest, drew the look of love (and death) in Penthesilea’s eyes. She reaches up to touch Achilles’ breast while her legs buckle. Achilles seems to pause in thought the moment he drives his sword into her breast and looks into her eyes.


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Posted in art, art history, great artists, Greek art, Greek ceramic vessels | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments