The story of an object once described as 'the finest Greek vase there is', of the culture that produced it, and of the remarkably enduring influence of the scenes depicted on it.
Once the pride of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Sarpedon krater is a wine-mixing bowl crafted by two Athenians, Euxitheos (who shaped it) and Euphronios (who decorated it), in the late 6thc BC. The moving image Euphronios created for the krater, depicting the stricken Trojan hero Sarpedon being lifted from the battlefield by 'Sleep' and 'Death', was to have an influence that endured well beyond Antiquity.
Nigel Spivey not only explores the particular culture that produced the vase, but also reveals how its central motif was elaborated throughout classical antiquity and then reworked as a Christian tableau. The Sarpedon Krater is both the extraordinary story of a small and occasionally scandalous object, once consigned to the obscurity of an Etruscan tomb, and a fascinating case study of the deep classical roots of the ideas and iconography of Western art.