Collection of Shelby White and Leon Levy, and gift of The Jerome Levy Foundation. Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The murdered Atreus falls from his throne on the upper register of this 3-foot-high amphora, now in the Boston MFA, by the Darius Painter. The amphora picks up the story of Thyestes (though many years later) that is illustrated on the vase shown at the beginning of this article. In the story, the Mycenaean king Thyestes is deposed and sent into exile by his brother Atreus. Thyestes’s incestuous son Aigisthos is then raised by Atreus, who orders Aigisthos to kill Thyestes. When Aigisthos learns that Thyestes is indeed his father, the two conspire to kill the usurper Atreus. This dramatic moment (see detail) is captured by the Darius Painter—who shows Thyestes unable to remove his eyes from his murderous deed, while the blood-spattered Aigisthos looks warily to the side.