Áirca 470 BC
A krater is a large vessel used for mixing wine and water. This example is monumental, both in form and in its painted decoration. Dionysus, god of wine, is preparing to take part in the Gigantomachia - a battle with the giants, sons of Gaia (the Earth) and Uranus (the sky), who have risen up against the Olympian gods. Dionysus is equipping himself for battle with the aid of his maenads, who hand him his helmet, sword and shield, and his other attributes, the sprig of ivy and the drinking bowl. The composition is symmetrical, the powerful bearded, armoured Dionysus placed in the centre. Movements are calm and majestic and the drawing is dominated by verticals. Our artist executes very carefully the ornament of palmettes and lotus flowers. The Altamura Master is named after a marvellous krater with a scene of the Gigantomachia found in Italy at Altamura. This artist depicted only mythological and religious scenes, all in his rather archaic majestic style. He was particular fond of the subject of the Gigantomachia.