Twice rescued

Фотография до реставрации Фотография после реставрации

The Hesione Painter

Red-figure keleba depicting Apollo riding a swan

  • Etruria, Volterra, 2nd half of the 4th c. BC.
  • Inv. АВ 3192
  • Clay, varnish
  • H. 40,4 см.
  • Conservator: I. Makarova, 2004

In Etruria vase red-figure painting appeared only in the 5th century BC under the influence of the Greeks. Complex pottery technique at first was simply imitated - on the black walls of the vase red figures were painted (in the Greek vases, they were made by leaving parts of the clay unvarnished). The paintings as a whole were not as elegant and thematically varied as in Athens, but they are still interesting and introduce to us unknown Etruscan rituals and myths.The keleba from Orvieto, an important art centre of Northern Etruria, is a variation of a Greek krater with column-like handles, a vessel for mixing wine with water. The keleba has a stocky body and a wide, heavy neck painted with mesh rhombuses. The elegant Greek palmettes on the sides are reduced to large simple leaves, between which there are two compositions. The front side shows a young god flying on a swan, holding in his hand a long tenia - a ritual ribbon (a symbol of connection, restoration of life). This is most likely Aplu (Etruscan Apollo) flying to or from Hyperborean country for winter. On the reverse side is a large head of a deity crowned with a wreath (in profile) holding a tree in his hand. Both compositions are found in the Greek example, but made in an original way. The figure of the swan, which is absent on the vase, is preserved on a sample from the Ancient collection of the State Museums of Berlin.

The vessel came in many fragments, partially covered with soot, with some loss on the front side. The lower part of one handle was also lost.


The keleba was found in fragments, some fragments were badly burned, the image was not visible and it was difficult to determine whether the fragments belonged to the same vase. After cleaning and gluing the shards, the lost fragments on the body were filled and the lower part of the left handle was restored based on the right handle. The fillings were tinted to resemble the colour of the shards so as not to disturb the perception of the vessel's shape.