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Reunion of Helen and Menelaus

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Reunion of Helen and Menelaus Red figure krater Menelaus’ painter Greece Circa 450-440 BC. Terracotta

This krater, or vase, was used during banquets to mix water and wine for dilution.

On the left-hand side, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, together with Eros who is flying above the couple, welcomes Helen of Troy back to her husband Menelaus' side after the Trojan War. A heated reunion, as Menelaus, who was cheated on, wants revenge.

Frightened, Helen flees, her head to the side, facing towards her husband, her chest facing forward, her legs turned the other way and with both arms raised.

This is exactly the kind of position that dancer and choreographer Nijinski imposes on his Russian Ballet dancers at the beginning of the 20th century: geometric movements, right angles, palms turned to the spectator, front-facing chest, with head, legs and feet in profile. Quite complicated, uncomfortable and rather unnatural!

 

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