Thetis Delivering Achilles’ Shield in Art Through the Ages

Achilles Receiving New Armor From Thetis, Wall Mural by Carl Adolf Henning, ca. 1838-1856. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

The epic voyage of Thetis delivering Achilles’ spectacular new armor spans nearly 2,600 years of art history, adorning works as diverse as ancient Greek vases, magnificent gold jewelry, bronze chariots and silver coins, Royal Vienna ceramic plates, epic oil paintings, and modern Greek banknotes.

Fresh from the forge of Hephaistos, the blazing weapons include Achilles’ shield, helmet, breastplate, and leg greaves, presented to Thetis as Homer describes in the legendary pages of the Iliad:

when he had wrought the shield, great and sturdy,
[610] then wrought he for him a corselet
brighter than the blaze of fire,
and he wrought for him a heavy helmet, fitted to his temples,
a fair helm, richly-dight, and set thereon a crest of gold;
and he wrought him greaves of pliant tin.

But when the glorious god of the two strong arms
had fashioned all the armour,
[615] he took and laid it before the mother of Achilles.
And like a falcon she sprang down from snowy Olympus,
bearing the flashing armour from Hephaestus.

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 18:609-617 translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D.]

By delivering this immortal armor to her son, Thetis will enable Achilles to charge into the front lines of the battle in search of his fate, in search of Patroklos’ killer, Hektor, the thief who stole Achilles’ beloved and stripped him of Achilles’ own armor.

Thetis knows the weapons will not save Achilles from death – his death will follow close on the heels of Hektor’s death, but with these glorious arms, Achilles will avenge the death of his beloved companion Patroklos, usher in the closing act of the Trojan War, and he will attain the immortal glory that only a hero’s death can achieve.

[1] Now Dawn the saffron-robed arose from the streams of Oceanus
to bring light to immortals and to mortal men,
and Thetis came to the ships bearing gifts from the god.
And she found her dear son as he lay, clasping Patroclus,
[5] and wailing aloud; and in throngs round about him
his comrades were weeping.

Then in the midst of them the bright goddess came to his side,
and she clasped his hand, and spake and addressed him:
“My child, this man must we let be, for all our sorrow, to lie as he is,
seeing he hath been slain once for all by the will of the gods.
[10] But receive thou from Hephaestus glorious armour, exceeding fair,
such as never yet a man bare upon his shoulders.”

So saying the goddess set down the arms in front of Achilles,
and they all rang aloud in their splendour.
Then trembling seized all the Myrmidons,
[15] neither dared any man to look thereon, but they shrank in fear.

Howbeit, when Achilles saw the arms,
then came wrath upon him yet the more, and his eyes blazed forth
in terrible wise from beneath their lids, as it had been flame;
and he was glad as he held in his arms the glorious gifts of the god.

But when in his soul he had taken delight in gazing on the glory of them,
[20] forthwith to his mother he spake winged words:
“My mother, the arms that the god hath given
are such as the works of immortals should fitly be,
such as no mortal man could fashion.
Now therefore will I array me for battle”

[Homer’s Iliad, Book 19:1-24 translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D.]

The Ageless Appeal of Thetis Delivering Achilles’ Shield 

Following up the recent post, Hephaestus Forging the Shield of Achilles in Art Through the Ages, the gallery of images in this post highlight the ageless appeal of Thetis’ delivery of Achilles’ shield and the rest of his glorious armor to her heroic son.

As artists from all over the world have been inspired by this epic delivery, it’s amazing to see the variety of images and the interesting variety of media chosen for such legendary adornment.

While terracotta vases from Greece and Southern Italy represent the vast majority of early representations of Thetis delivering Achilles’ armor, this famous scene was also chosen by goldsmiths at least as early as the 4th century BCE, as you will see below on the beautiful pendants found near the Cossack Village of Vyshesteblievskaya, Russia. (I can’t pronounce that, either)

But Where Did the Hippocampus Come From?

What’s really fascinating to me is all the depictions of Thetis riding a half horse-half sea monster, better known as a hippocampus, skimming the ocean waves with armor in hand, often accompanied by her sister Nereids. This seagoing mode of delivery is clearly not in accordance with Homer’s narrative – he says she flies ‘like a falcon’ down from Olympos – and, try as I might, I’ve had no luck at all finding a literary source for this clearly popular portrayal of Thetis riding a hippocampus.

Although the Iliad refers to the immortal horses of Poseidon as crossing the ocean without getting his chariot wet, it seems clear that the animals Homer describes are not significantly different in appearance from ‘regular’ horses:

Thither came [Poseidon], and let harness beneath his car
his two bronze hooved horses, swift of flight,
with flowing manes of gold;
[25] and with gold he clad himself about his body,
and grasped the well-wrought whip of gold,
and stepped upon his car, and set out to drive over the waves.
Then gambolled the sea-beasts beneath him on every side
from out the deeps, for well they knew their lord,
and in gladness the sea parted before him;
[30] right swiftly sped they on,
and the axle of bronze was not wetted beneath;
and unto the ships of the Achaeans
did the prancing steeds bear their lord.

[Homer’s Iliad: Book 13:17-31, Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D.]

Homer clearly doesn’t describe a team of horses with fish tails, but, at least as early as the 6th Century BCE, vase paintings begin portraying Poseidon’s horses as sea monster/horse hybrids. From this point forward, I guess it’s not difficult to imagine Thetis and her sea-nymph sisters riding these legendary sea creatures, too.

Poseidon Riding a Hippocampus, Athenian Black-figure cup attributed to Krokotos Group or Leagros Group, ca. 550-500 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial use only © British Museum via Theoi.com

Poseidon Riding a Hippocampus, Athenian Black-figure cup attributed to Krokotos Group or Leagros Group, ca. 550-500 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial use only © British Museum via Theoi.com

Throughout history, the portrayals of Thetis delivering Achilles’ immortal armor are divided into two basic categories: Thetis presenting the armor to Achilles, and Thetis carrying armor while riding a hippocampus or some version of a sea-beast (even a merman, or Triton), en route to Achilles. In both cases, she may or may not be accompanied by her sister sea-nymphs.

By the way, if you know of any literary source(s) mentioning Thetis delivering the armor of Achilles on a hippocampus, please leave me a message in the comment section, below. I’d really like to know where this fantastic inspiration came from!

I’ve tried to find as many portrayals of Thetis delivering Achilles’ armor as possible, and I’ve provided the sources with links in the image captions. It’s been a fun treasure hunt – I’ve even found study drawings for the two paintings by Benjamin West.

The images are arranged chronologically from the oldest to the most recent, with the dates noted in the titles. Can you imagine any other subject spanning 2,600 years of art history?

All of the following depictions are awesome, but I’m especially excited to find several very recent artworks depicting Thetis carrying the shield of Achilles – I’ll think you’ll be impressed, too!

–Please note that some of the images are copyrighted and their use in this blog post is meant only to highlight their existence. I appreciate the honor of featuring these artworks, but if any copyright owner is troubled by this, please notify me and I will gladly take down the image immediately.

 

Thetis Delivering Achilles’ Shield in Art Through the Ages:

I. Thetis Delivering New Armor to Achilles,  Detail from an Attic Black-figure Hydria, ca. 575-550 BCE:

Detail of an Attic Black-figure Hydria, ca. 575-550 BCE, depicting Thetis delivering the new armor to Achilles. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Delivering New Armor to Achilles. Detail of an Attic Black-figure Hydria in the style of the Tyrrhenian Group, ca. 575-550 BCE. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

II. Thetis Presenting Achilles’ New Armor,  Attic Black-figure Column Krater attributed to the Painter of London B76, ca. 560 BCE:

Thetis Presenting Achilles' New Armor. Attic black-figure column krater, Attributed to the Painter of London B76, ca. 560 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only c Vail/ Egisto Sani via Flickr

Thetis Presenting Achilles’ New Armor. Attic black-figure column krater, Attributed to the Painter of London B76, ca. 560 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © Vail/Egisto Sani via Flickr

III. Thetis Presenting Achilles’ New Armor,  Drawing of an Attic Black-figure Column Krater attributed to the Painter of London B76 (see II, above), ca. 560 BCE :

Thetis Presenting Achilles New Armor, Attic black-figure Column Krater attributed to Painter of London B76. Source: Drawing by Valerie Woelfel via CHS

Thetis Presenting Achilles New Armor, Attic black-figure Column Krater attributed to the of London B76, ca. 560 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial use only © Drawing by Valerie Woelfel via CHS.

IV. The Arming of Achilles,  Archaic Greek Black-figure Neck Amphora by the Camtar Painter, ca. 550 BCE:

The Arming of Achilles, Archaic Greek Black-figure Neck Amphora by the Camtar Painter, ca. 550 BCE. Source: For Non-Commercial Use Only, Boston Museum of Fine Art

The Arming of Achilles, Archaic Greek Black-figure Neck Amphora by the Camtar Painter, ca. 550 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © Boston Museum of Fine Arts

V. Thetis Presenting New Armor to Achilles, Detail View of the Etruscan Bronze “Monteleone” Chariot, ca. 530 BCE:

Detail View of The Monteleone Chariot, an Etruscan chariot dated to ca. 560 BCE, depicting Thetis presenting the new armor to Achilles. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Thetis presenting new armor to Achilles. Detail view of the Etruscan bronze “Monteleone” chariot, ca. 530 BCE. Source: CC0 Wikimedia Commons

VI. Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles,  Attic Black-figure Amphora by the Amasis Painter, ca. 520-515 BCE:

Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles. Attic Black-figure Amphora by the Amasis Painter, ca. 520-515 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial use only. MFA Henry Lillie Pierce Fund © 2017 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles. Attic Black-figure Amphora by the Amasis Painter, ca. 520-515 BCE.  Source: Non-Commercial use only. MFA Henry Lillie Pierce Fund © 2017 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

VII. Thetis Consoling Achilles as Her Sisters Present New Armor From Hephaistos,  Greek Red-figure Pelike, ca. 470 BCE:

Ancient Greek Red-Figure Pelike ca. 470 BCE depicting Thetis consoling Achilles over the death of Patroklos. To the side can be seen Thetis’ sister Nereids waiting to present Achilles with his new armor. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Consoling Achilles as Her Sisters Present New Armor from Hephaistos. Ancient Greek Red-Figure Pelike ca. 470 BCE. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

VIII. Achilles Receiving His New Armor From Thetis,  Red-figure Calyx Krater by the Altamura Painter, ca. 470-460 BCE:

Achilles receiving his new armor from Thetis. Detail from a Red-figure Calyx Krater by the Altamura Painter, ca. 470-460 BCE. Source: CCSA 3.0 Walters Art Museum/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

Achilles receiving his new armor from Thetis. Detail from a Red-figure Calyx Krater by the Altamura Painter, ca. 470-460 BCE. Source: CCSA 3.0 Walters Art Museum/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

IX. Achilles Receiving His New Armor From Thetis,  Red-figure Stamnos by the Deepdene Painter, ca. 470-460 BCE:

Thetis delivering armor to Achilles newly forged by Hephaistos. Red-Figure Stamnos by the Deepdene Painter, ca. 470-460 BCE. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis delivering armor to Achilles newly forged by Hephaistos. Red-Figure Stamnos by the Deepdene Painter, ca. 470-460 BCE. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

X. Thetis Brings Grieving Achilles His New Weapons, Attic Red-figure Volute Krater, ca. 460 BCE:

Thetis brings grieving Achilles his new weapons. Side A of an Attic red-figure volute-krater, ca. 460 BC. From Corneto (ancient Tarquinii), Latium, in the style of the Geneva Painter. Source: CCA 3.0 by Jastrow/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis brings grieving Achilles his new weapons. Side A of an Attic red-figure volute-krater, ca. 460 BC. From Corneto (ancient Tarquinii), Latium, in the style of the Geneva Painter. Source: CCA 3.0 by Jastrow/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

XI. Thetis and Nereids Delivering New Armor to Achilles, Attic Red-Figure Bell Krater in the Style of the Niobid Painter, ca. 450 BCE:

Thetis and Nereids deliver new armor to Achilles. Attic Red-figure Bell-shaped Krater in the style of the Niobid Painter, ca. 450 BC. Source: CCA 3.0 Sailko/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis and Nereids delivering new armor to Achilles. Attic Red-figure Bell Krater in the style of the Niobid Painter, ca. 450 BC. Source: CCA 3.0 Sailko/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

XII. Thetis Giving Achilles His New Armor Forged by Hephaistos, Attic Red-figure Amphora by Hermonax, ca. 450 BCE:

Attic Red-figure Amphora by Hermonax depicting Thetis giving Achilles his new armor forged by Hephaistos, ca. 450 BCE, Martin von Wagner Museum, Würzburg. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Thetis giving Achilles his new armor forged by Hephaistos, Attic Red-figure Amphora by Hermonax, ca. 450 BCE, Martin von Wagner Museum, Würzburg. Source: CCSA3.0 Cyron/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

XIII. Achilles Sitting on Shore as Thetis and Nereids Arrive With His New Armor, Detail from Side A, Greek Apulian Red-figure Pelike in the Style of the Gravina Painter, ca. 425-400 BCE:

Side A of Greek Apulian Red-figure Pelike in the style of the Gravina Painter, ca 425-400 BCE depicting Thetis and Nereids ridi.ng sea creatures delivering Achilles new armor. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only via Perseus Digital Library

Achilles sitting on shore as Thetis and Nereids arrive with his new armor from Hephaistos. Side A of Greek Apulian Red-figure Pelike in the style of the Gravina Painter, ca 425-400 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial use only © Perseus Digital Library

XIV. Thetis and Nereids Riding Sea Creatures, Delivering Achilles’ New Armor, Full view of Side B, Greek Apulian Red-Figure Pelike, ca. 425-400 BCE:

Thetis and Nereids Riding Sea Creatures, Delivering Achilles' New Armor, Full view of Side B, Greek Apulian Red-Figure Pelike, ca. 425-400 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use only from Perseus Digital Library

Thetis and Nereids Riding Sea Creatures, Delivering Achilles’ New Armor, Full view of Side B, Greek Apulian Red-Figure Pelike, ca. 425-400 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial use only © Perseus Digital Library

XV. Thetis Seated on a Hippocampus, Carrying Achilles’ Shield, Bronze Coin from Larissa Kremaste, Thessaly, Greece, ca. Mid 4th Century BCE:

Mid 4th Century BCE Bronze coin from Larissa Kremaste, Thessaly, Greece. Æ 17, Obverse: Head of Achilles; Reverse: Thetis seated on a hippocamp holding the shield of Achilles, denoted by the monogram "AX". Source: http://www.coinproject.com/coin_detail.php?coin=268781

Thetis seated on a hippocampus, carrying Achilles’ shield, denoted by the monogram “AX”,  depicted on the reverse side of a mid 4th Century BCE Bronze coin from Larissa Kremaste, Thessaly, Greece. Æ 17. On the obverse is depicted the head of Achilles. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © Coinproject.com

XVI. Thetis Seated on a Hippocampus, Delivering the Spear and Shield of Achilles, Ancient Greek Mosaic from Eretria, ca. 400-350 BCE:

Thetis Seated on Hippocampus, Delivering the spear and shield of Achilles. Ancient Greek Mosaic from Eretria, ca. 400-350 BCE. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Seated on Hippocampus, Delivering the spear and shield of Achilles. Ancient Greek Mosaic from Eretria, ca. 400-350 BCE. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XVII. Nereids Riding Hippocampoi, Delivering Achilles’ New Armor, Gold Pendants found in Vyshesteblievskaya, Russia. ca. 4th Century BCE:

Nereids Riding Hippocampoi, Delivering Achilles' Armor, Gold Pendants for Temples found near the Cossack Village of Vyshesteblievskaya, Russia. ca. 4th Century BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © Hermitage Museum

Nereids Riding Hippocampoi, Delivering Achilles’ New Armor, Gold Pendants for Temples found near the Cossack Village of Vyshesteblievskaya, Russia. ca. 4th Century BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © Hermitage Museum

XVIII. Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Delivering Achilles’ New Armor, Athenian Red-figure Kylix Tondo by the Q Painter, ca. 400-300 BCE:

Thetis riding a hippocampus delivering Achilles' new armor. Athenian Red-Figure Kylix Tondo attributed to the Q Painter ca 400-300 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use only via Classical Art Research Ctr.

Thetis riding a hippocampus, delivering Achilles’ new armor. Athenian Red-Figure Kylix Tondo attributed to the Q Painter ca 400-300 BCE. Source: For Non-Commercial Use Only © Classical Art Research Centre.

XIX. Thetis and Nereid Riding Hippocamps, Delivering Achilles’ New Weapons, Bronze Basin Handle from Greece, ca. 4th Century BCE:

Greek bronze handle of a bowl or footbath, with sculptures on both sides of Nereids riding hippocamps and carrying Achilles' armor newly forged by Hephaistos. ca. 4th century BCE. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis and Nereid riding hippocamps, delivering Achilles’ new weapons. Greek bronze handle of a bowl or footbath, with sculptures on both sides, ca. 4th century BCE. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XX. Thetis and Nereids Conveying the Armour of Achilles, Attic Red-figure Bell Krater ca 350 BCE:

Thetis and Nereids conveying the armor of Achilles, Attic Red-figure Bell Krater, ca 350 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only via British Museum

Thetis and Nereids conveying the armor of Achilles, Attic Red-figure Bell Krater, ca 350 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © British Museum

XXI. Thetis and a Nereid Riding Hippocamps, Carrying Achilles’ New Armor, Greek Apulian Red-figure Patera by the Baltimore Painter Group, ca. 330 BCE:

Greek Apulian Red-figure Patera by the Baltimore Painter Group, ca. 330 BCE, depicting Thetis and another Nereid riding hippocamps, delivering the armor of Achilles. Source: CCSA 3.0 by Cyron/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis and a Nereid riding Hippocamps, carrying Achilles’ new armor. Greek Apulian Red-figure Patera by the Baltimore Painter Group, ca. 330 BCE. Source: CCSA 3.0 by Cyron/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

XXII. Thetis Delivering Achilles’ Armor, Greek Apulian Red-figure Krater by the Baltimore Painter, ca. 330 BCE:

Thetis Delivering Achilles' Armor, Greek Apulian Red-figure Krater by the Baltimore Painter, ca. 330 BCE. Source: CCA 3.0 Sailko/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Delivering Achilles’ Armor, Greek Apulian Red-figure Krater by the Baltimore Painter, ca. 330 BCE. Source: CCA 3.0 Sailko/Vail via Wikimedia Commons

XXIII. Thetis Seated on a Hippocampus, Carrying Achilles’ Shield, Terracotta Statue in the Louvre, ca. 300 BCE:

Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Carrying Achilles' Shield. Terracotta Statue in the Louvre, ca. 400 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only (copyright owner?) Michelle Gregor via Pinterest

Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Carrying Achilles’ Shield. Terracotta Statue in the Louvre, ca. 300 BCE. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only (copyright owner?) Michelle Gregor via Pinterest

XXIV. Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Delivering Achilles’ Shield, Silver Coin From Epirus, Greece, ca. 297-272 BCE:

Ancient Greek Silver Didrachm, ca 297-272 BCE, from the Kingdom of Epirus, depicting the head of Achilles or Neoptolemos, representing King Pyrrhos. On the reverse, Thetis rides a hippocamp, delivering Achilles' shield. Source: sixbid.com

Thetis riding a hippocampus, delivering Achilles’ shield. Ancient Greek Silver Didrachm, ca 297-272 BCE, from the Kingdom of Epirus. The obverse side depicts the head of Achilles or Neoptolemos, representing King Pyrrhos.  Non-Commercial use only © SixBid.com

XXV. Thetis Riding a Triton Carrying Achilles’ Shield, Roman Marble Lunette, ca. 2nd Century CE:

Mid-Imperial Roman, Trajanic sculpture in marble - Lunette of Thetis Riding a Triton Delivering Achilles' Shield, ca. 1st quarter of 2nd century CE. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Riding a Triton Carrying Achilles’ Shield, Mid-Imperial Trajanic Roman lunette sculpture in marble, ca. 1st quarter of 2nd century CE. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXVI. Thetis Giving Achilles His Arms, Giulio Romano [1499-1546]:

Thetis giving Achilles his armor by Giulio Romano [1499-1546]. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Giving Achilles His Arms, Giulio Romano [1499-1546]. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXVII. Thetis Delivering Achilles’ New Armor Made by Vulcan, Engraving by Crispin de Passe the Elder, ca. 1615:

Thetis delivering Achilles' new armor made by Vulcan, Engraving by Utrecht artist Crispin de Passe the Elder, ca. 1615, illustrating the first (and only) edition of Isaac Hillaire's Speculum Heroicum. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis delivering Achilles’ new armor made by Vulcan, Engraving by Utrecht artist Crispin de Passe the Elder, ca. 1615, illustrating the first (and only) edition of Isaac Hillaire’s Speculum Heroicum. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXVIII. Thetis Rearms Achilles, Engraving by Johann Balthasar Probst [1673 – 1748]:

Thetis Rearms Achilles, Engraving by Johann Balthasar Probst [1673 - 1748] in the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Rearms Achilles, Engraving by Johann Balthasar Probst [1673 – 1748]
in the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXIX. Thetis Ueberreicht dem Achilles die Waffen (Thetis gives Achilles the weapons), Royal Vienna Porcelain Scenic Plate, ca. 18th Century:

Thetis ueberreicht dem Archilles die Waffen (Thetis gives Achilles the weapons) Antique 18th Century Royal Vienna Porcelain Scenic Plate. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only -  kpmisbetter via Ebay

Thetis ueberreicht dem Achilles die Waffen (Thetis gives Achilles the weapons), Antique 18th Century Royal Vienna Porcelain Scenic Plate. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © kpmisbetter via eBay ($3,249!)

XXX. Thetis Delivers New Armor to Grieving Achilles,  François Gérard, ca. 1782-1837:

Thetis delivering Achilles New Armor by François Gérard, ca. 1782-1837. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Delivers New Armor to Grieving Achilles, François Gérard, ca. 1782-1837. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXXI. Thetis Delivers New Armor to Grieving Achilles,  Copper Engraving by Tommaso Piroli after John Flaxman, ca. 1795:

Thetis Delivers New Armor to Grieving Achilles. Copper engraving (1795) by Tommaso Piroli (1752 - 1824) after a drawing (1793) by John Flaxman (1755 - 1826). Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Delivers New Armor to Grieving Achilles. Copper engraving (1795) by Tommaso Piroli (1752 – 1824) after a drawing (1793) by John Flaxman (1755 – 1826). Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXXII. Achilles Mourning Patroklos as Thetis Arrives With New Weapons, Ceiling Mural by Francesco and Gian Battista Ballanti Graziani, in the Galleria d’Achille, Palazzo Milzetti, Faenza, Italy, ca. 1802-1805:

Achilles Mourning Patroklos as Thetis Arrives With New Weapons, Ceiling Mural by Francesco and Gian Battista Ballanti Graziani. ca. 1802-1805. In the Galleria d'Achille, Palazzo Milzetti, Faenza, Italy. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Achilles Mourning Patroklos as Thetis Arrives With New Weapons, Ceiling Mural by Francesco and Gian Battista Ballanti Graziani. ca. 1802-1805. In the Galleria d’Achille, Palazzo Milzetti, Faenza, Italy. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXXIII. Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles I, Study Drawing, Benjamin West, ca. 1805:

Thetis bringing the Armour to Achilles, 1805 Study Drawing by Benjamin West. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only copyright Royal Academy

Thetis bringing the Armour to Achilles, 1805 Study Drawing by
Benjamin West. Source: Non-Commercial use only © Royal Academy

XXXIV. Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles I, Benjamin West, 1806:

Thetis bringing Armor to Achilles I, Benjamin West, 1806. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons 

Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles I, Benjamin West, 1806. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXXV. Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles II, Study in Ink, Benjamin West, ca. 1805:

Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles II, Study in Ink by Benjamin West, ca 1805. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles II, Study in Ink by Benjamin West, ca 1805. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXXVI. Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles II, Benjamin West, 1806:

Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles II, Benjamin West, 1806. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons 

Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles II, Benjamin West, 1806. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXXVII. Thetis Transporting Arms for Achilles, Bronze Figurine by William Theed the Elder, ca. 1804-1812:

Thetis Transporting Arms for Achilles, Bronze Figurine by William Theed the Elder, ca. 1804-1812. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis Transporting Arms for Achilles, Bronze Figurine by William Theed the Elder, ca. 1804-1812. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XXXVIII. Thetis Portant l’Armure d’Achille (Thetis Carrying the Armor of Achilles), Engraving by Theodore Richomme after Baron Francois Gerard, 1827:

Theodore Richomme French 1785-1849 after Baron Francois Gerard French 1770-1837 Thetis Carrying the Armor of Achilles Thetis portant l'armure d'Achille-1827 engraving on paper. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only copyright British Museum

Thetis Portant l’Armure d’Achille (Thetis Carrying the Armor of Achilles), 1827 engraving on paper by Theodore Richomme [French 1785-1849] after Baron Francois Gerard [French 1770-1837]. Source: Non-Commercial Use only © British Museum

XXXIX. Achilles Receiving New Armor From Thetis, Wall Mural by Carl Adolf Henning, ca. 1838-1856:

Achilles Receiving New Armor From Thetis, Wall Mural by Carl Adolf Henning, ca. 1838-1856. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only (copyright uncertain) via Hadrian6.tumblr

Achilles Receiving New Armor From Thetis, Wall Mural by Carl Adolf Henning, ca. 1838-1856. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XL. Achilles and the Body of Patroclus, Nikolai Ge, ca. 1855:

Achilles and the Body of Patroclus, Nikolai Ge, ca. 1855. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Achilles and the Body of Patroclus, Nikolai Ge, ca. 1855. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XLI. Thetis Delivers to Achilles the Arms Forged by Vulcan, Henri Regnault, 1866:

Thetis delivers new arms forged by Hephaistos to Achilles, Henri Regnault, 1866. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Thetis delivers to Achilles the arms forged by Vulcan, Henri Regnault, 1866. Source: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

XLII. Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Delivering Achilles’ Shield, Silver Drachma from Greece, 1910:

1910 Silver 1 Drachma coin from Greece. Obverse: King George 1. Reverse: Thetis riding a hippocampus, delivering Achilles' shield. Source: Non-commercial use only, via AthensCollections

Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Delivering Achilles’ Shield. 1910 Silver 1 Drachma coin from Greece. Obverse: King George 1. Source: Non-commercial use only, via AthensCollections

XLIII. Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Delivering Achilles’ Shield, Greek 1-Drachma Banknote, 1918:

Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Delivering the Shield of Achilles. 1918 Greek 1-Drachma Note. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only cointalk.com

Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Delivering the Shield of Achilles. 1918 Greek 1-Drachma Banknote. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © MEC2 via CoinTalk.com

XLIV. Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Carrying Achilles’ Armor, Greek 5000-Drachma Banknote, 1945:

Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Carrying Achilles' Armor. Greek 1945 5000-Drachma Banknote. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © Greekbanknotes.com

Thetis Riding a Hippocampus, Carrying Achilles’ Armor. Greek 1945 5000-Drachma Banknote. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © Greekbanknotes.com

XLV. Thetis Upon a Hippocampus With Achilles’ Shield, Stained Glass Medallion by Alice Johnson, 1999:

Thetis Riding Upon a Hippocamp With Achilles' Shield, Stained Glass Medallion by Alice Johnson, 1999. Source: Non-Commercial Use only, © Alice Johnson

Thetis Riding Upon a Hippocampus With Achilles’ Shield, Stained Glass Medallion by Alice Johnson, 1999. Source: Non-Commercial Use only, © Alice Johnson

XLVI. Fresh From the Forge – Thetis With Achilles’ New Armor, Digital Painting by catandcrown, 2012:

Fresh From the Forge - Thetis Delivering Achilles' New Armor. Digital Artwork by Catandcrown, 2012. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © Catandcrown via DeviantArt

Fresh From the Forge – Thetis Delivering Achilles’ New Armor. Digital Artwork by catandcrown, 2012. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © catandcrown via DeviantArt

XLVII. Thetis With Achilles’ Shield and Helmet, NeoPagan Prayer Card by Grace Palmer, 2017:

Thetis Prayer Card by Grace Palmer, ca. 2016. Source: Non-Commercial use only. Copyright Grace Palmer via Etsy

Thetis with Achilles’ Shield and Helmet – 2017 Neopagan Prayer Card by Grace Palmer. Source: Non-Commercial use only, © Grace Palmer via Etsy

XLVIII. Thetis With Achilles’ Shield, Watercolor by Nenril-Tf, 2018:

Thetis With Achilles' Shield, Watercolor by Nenril-Tf, 2018. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © Nenril-Tf via DeviantArt

Thetis With Achilles’ Shield, Watercolor by Nenril-Tf, 2018. Source: Non-Commercial Use Only © Nenril-Tf via DeviantArt

Which is Your Favorite Image?

Since this is my favorite topic in basically the whole universe, it’s hard for me to choose which is my favorite image, although I’m really drawn to Thetis delivers to Achilles the arms forged by Vulcan by Henri Regnault (XLI).  On the other hand, I treated myself to the 1910 silver drachma with Thetis carrying Achilles’ shield after finding one on eBay on my last birthday. It’s my favorite treasured possession!

Have you decided which is your favorite image? I’d love to know!

 

9 thoughts on “Thetis Delivering Achilles’ Shield in Art Through the Ages

  1. Hi Kathleen, I simply love this post. The images are fabulous and it’s difficult to choose a specific one because they are all so wonderful. However, I rather like the digital painting, Straight from the Forge by CATANDCROWN, 2012. I don’t usually like modern images but this one is very appealing. Is it permissible for me to print it out to frame and hang in my study Kathleen ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rita, I’m glad you enjoyed these great images, too! I love that one by catandcrown too – it’s so powerful! I’m not really sure about printing that picture, tho – I think it’s best if you click on the link to her page on DeviantArt and leave her a message. I don’t really think you’d be infringing on her copyright, imho, since you’re only printing it for your own personal enjoyment, same as anyone can print basically anything they find on the internet for their own personal enjoyment. Hope this helps, Rita!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A glorious post,well-organised and rich in significant artworks.Can’t tell which one is my favourite,they all bear the signature of renowned artists.Kudos to you Kathleen on your superb work.

    PS:https://theshieldofachilles.net/2017/05/26/guest-post-a-mycenaean-chariot-in-the-knossos-armory/triumph_of_achilles_in_corfu_achilleion_cropped_color-enhanced_white-balanced/

    Glad to see you’ve posted “The Triumph of Achilles” by Franz Matsch,which is in Achilleion (Corfu),there is a fault on it and a sad story behind it …. I’ll tell you some other time.

    Liked by 1 person

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