Of the many social classes in Ancient Greece, the artisan was not highly respected. Despite the fact that the products of their labor were present in almost every aspect of Ancient Grecian life, the artisan’s role in society was often overlooked. With The Foundry Cup, the artist was able to relate his own work and that of other artisans to the age of heroes by creating a balance between the world of war and the world of craft in his work, and in doing so, elevate the role of the artisan in the eyes of the viewer. The Foundry Cup is a kylix, a cup for drinking wine at a symposium. Symposiums were casual, cheerful parties thrown by the aristocratic men in Ancient Greece. It was to these men the artist was trying to tell a message. The…show more content… Using this context, a connection between the world of the artisan and the world of war is developed within the Foundry Cup. The Foundry Cup has several layers of meaning and interpretation, all serving the artisan’s goal to the improve the reputation of the artisan class within the eyes of his audience.
The first place to examine the artisan’s depiction of his craft and its relationship to war is the center of the bowl. A scene between two gods, Hephaestus and Thetis, the artisan shows Hephaestus giving Thetis the newly crafted armor for her son Achilleus. The juxtaposition of the two gods is one of the most notable elements of the scene. Thetis towers over Hephaestus, holding the armor he has just given to her. While her feminine figure is not exactly imposing in the eyes of the Greeks, it does seem more powerful and mighty in comparison to Hephaestus. She holds a spear in her hand that stands directly in between the two gods, creating a clear and distinct barrier. Holding the armor Thetis appears to be an emblem of war herself, mighty and powerful. Sitting down below her, Hephaestus doesn’t look at all like the powerful god he is. However, despite how the scene may appear at first glance, the artisan gives Hephaestus a lot of power within his portrayal of the god. Hephaestus is the patron god of the artisans; he is portrayed by the artist with this relationship in mind. One of the most well-known features of Hephaestus is his disability. He was born lame,