For #FolkloreThursday (check it out on Twitter!) we started playing around with our posts and began creating simple animations inspired by Ancient Greek Black-Figure and Red-Figure vases.

All our animations are very simple stop-motion animations created by isolating elements, moving them slightly and tidying up the background and exporting them as individual images. These ‘frames’ are then made into simple looping gifs.

Hercules and Cerberus

Here we see Hercules (on the right – you can tell from the club and lion outfit) having stolen Cerberus from the underworld. Eurystheus, Hercules’ cousin who has set him this challenge (on the left) is hiding in a pot from the three-headed dog!

From the Caeretan Hydria (c. 530BC) from Caere. (Louvre E701)

The Muses at Play

For the next Folklore Thursday Theme we got a little more ambitious. We created this animation by putting together a few different vases, and we created the fire ourselves. The figure on the right comes from a terracotta amphora attributed to the Berlin Painter from c. 490BC, and the seated figure is from a c. 350-370BC vase in the National Archaeological Museum in Arezzo, Italy, thought to show the goddess Athena playing the aulos (a kind of flute). The high quality image I got from here. There was a little bit of editing trickery to put them together, but we love the final result!

Weaving at the Loom

This animation was created for the Folklore Thursday Art, Creativity and colour theme. An oil container (Lekythos) showing two women weaving at an upright loom. Dated back to c. 550–530 BC and attributed to the Amasis Painter, it’s on display over at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which also has lots more fantastic images and information about this particular piece so do check it out!).

This is our most complex animation yet, with 53 individual frames, but we love the subtle effect of the shuttle moving across the loom. To find out more about Greek vases and read a story featuring weaving, check out our blog!