The Death of Pentheus
Emotional Tone
Overlapping of the figures and use of fainter
lines and colours for the background figures
gives a strong sense of depth to the scene. This
depth is also highly structured, with the woman
holding the rock above Pentheus’ head forming
the apex of a triangle, at the centre of which is
Pentheus himself, and the strong horizontal line
made by the arms of Pentheus and the two
women forming a barrier or fence that separates
this foreground action from the figures behind
There is nothing to distract attention from
the human participants in this drama. The
landscape elements are minimal – rocks in
the foreground and a hazy, ill-defined
hillside behind. Again the Greek influence
is apparent – it is the human action that is
important, not the scenery.
Room redecorated in Fourth
Style. Central panels of three
walls contain mythological
paintings are framed on their
sides by ilusionistic windows,
presenting views of
architectural structures
beyond the wall. A dominant
background colour, yellow,
unifies the separate panels
Unifying theme – Pentheus
King of Thebes, Dirke, wife of
Lykos, a later king of Thebes
and Heracles born at Thebes
Theme of victory in Hercles
contrasted with theme of
punishment in other stories
Punishment of