Perseus flying away with the head of Medusa, while Pegasos springs from her severed neck
Perseus, son of the god Zeus and the human princess, Danae, was given the task of beheading Medusa, one of the three Gorgons, whose faces were so horrible that seeing them turned men to stone. With the help of a magic cap and winged shoes given to him by Athena, Perseus became invisible and flew to the place where the three sisters were asleep. There he cut off Medusa's head. On this vase, Perseus flees with the head in a sack as the immortal winged horse Pegasos springs from the body of the dead Gorgon. Perseus and the horse are shown in the traditional black-figure manner, while the Gorgon is drawn in outline, probably influenced by the newly developed red-figure technique.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
Title:Terracotta lekythos (oil flask)
Artist:Attributed to the Diosphos Painter
Date:ca. 500 BCE
Medium:Terracotta; black-figure, white-ground
Dimensions:9 5/8in. (24.5cm)
Credit Line:Rogers Fund, 1906
[Until 1906, with E. Geladakis, Athens and Paris]; acquired in 1906, purchased from E. Geladakis.
Fairbanks, Arthur. 1907. Athenian Lekythoi with Outline Drawing in Glaze Varnish on a White Ground, Vol. 1. pl. 4, New York: Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1917. Handbook of the Classical Collection. p. 108, fig. 67, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection. p. 129, fig. 85, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930. Handbook of the Classical Collection. p. 129, fig. 85, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1946. Attic Red-Figured Vases: A Survey. p. 75, fig. 71, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 74, 216, pl. 56e, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Beazley, John D. 1956. Attic Black-figure Vase-painters. pp. 507, 702, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1958. Attic Red-Figured Vases: A Survey, Revised Edition, 2nd edn. p. 75, fig. 71, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Beazley, John D. 1963. Attic Red-figure Vase-painters, Vols. 1 and 2, 2nd ed. pp. 301, 303, 1643, no. 3 (p. 301), no. 2 bottom (p. 303), Add. 1, pp. 301–3, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Beazley, John D. 1971. Paralipomena: Additions to Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters and to Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters [2nd edition]. p. 248, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Wehgartner, Irma. 1983. Attisch Weissgrundige Keramik: Maltechniken, Werkstätten, Formen, Verwendung. pp. 13 n. 34, 181 n. 42, pl. 2, 1, Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). 1988. Vol. 4: Eros-Herakles. "Gorgo, Gorgones," p. 313, no. 309, pl. 184, Zürich: Artemis Verlag.
Woodford, Susan and Cambridge University Press. 2003. Images of Myths in Classical Antiquity. p. 42, fig. 25, Cambridge.
Oakley, John H. 2004. Picturing Death in Classical Athens: The Evidence of the White Lekythoi. p. 101, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cohen, Beth. 2006. The Colors of Clay: Special Techniques in Athenian Vases no. 56, pp. 209–10, Malibu: J. Paul Getty Trust.
Hemingway, Seán, Nicole Stribling, Dr. John H. Oakley, Carol Mattusch, and Seth D. Pevnick. 2017. The Horse in Ancient Greek Art, Mr. Peter J. Schertz, ed. p. 25, fig. 19, Virginia: National Sporting Library & Museum.
Karoglou, Kyriaki. 2018. "Dangerous Beauty : Medusa in Classical Art." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 75(3): pp. 9, 47, fig. 7.
Chiarini, Sara. 2018. The So-called Nonsense Inscriptions on Ancient Greek Vases : Between Paideia and Paidiá. pp. 414–15, Leiden/ Boston: Brill.
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.
The Museum's collection of Greek and Roman art comprises more than 30,000 works ranging in date from the Neolithic period to the time of the Roman emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity in A.D. 312.