Ancient Greece Art Essay
How it works
Ancient Greece is one of my favorite subjects to talk and learn about. I love the history, the stories, and the art, Greece itself is a masterpiece. However, even though Greece has many legendary art works, there is one that I considered my favorite above all of them.
There is a vase called “Ajax and Achilles Playing a Game” by the famous Exekias who was known as an ancient Greek vase-painter and potter. Exekias made many beautiful pieces of artwork like the famous “Dionysus Cup” but many, like me find Ajax and Achilles vase the best of his works.
Here is what I think is noteworthy of the vase. We have the two famous warriors Achilles who is on the left and Ajax on the right playing a game that many historians think is a table game similar to backgammon others might think its a dice game they’re playing but either way we see the two guys relaxing and just causally playing a game during the famous Trojan war, what a peaceful setting.
On the vase, Exekias puts Achilles and Ajax’s names above them just to clarify that it is in fact the two warriors, he also puts Achilles saying four and Ajax saying three meaning that whatever game they are playing its most likely that Achilles is winning. If we go into more detail you can see that both Achilles who is wearing his helmet and having his shield right next to him and Ajax whose helmet and shield is right beside him are hunch over and really focusing on the game.
However, we see Achilles is holding his spears loosely and pointing up meaning he’s relaxed and confident unlike Ajax who is griping his spears, which are parallel of each other. Another sign of Ajax being tense is if you look closely to Ajax feet, the foot that’s closest to the game is slightly higher up above the ground indicating that his whole body is tighten, unlike Achilles whose foot is solid on the ground. Also, Exekias put double lines for Ajax eyebrow which might give a clue that Ajax is more intense unlike Achilles whose only has one line meaning he’s calmer.
Some histories think why Exekias made Ajax look so nervous is because he is in the present of the number one true hero Achilles, were Ajax has always been number two. I however think that they are really into the game and believe Achilles is winning. There is no need for Ajax to be scared of Achilles, because in Homer’s Iliad the two of them are friends, so I like to think they’re just playing a very tense but friendly game in the middle of a war.