Ancient sculpture was painted. Although faint remnants of polychromy can be discerned on some objects, the original effect has been lost. This vase provides a rare example of the actual painting process, in which the encaustic pigments were mixed with wax. On the obverse, an artist paints a lion-skin on a marble statue of Herakles, surrounded by two assistants, Zeus and Nike. To the left of the statue, a youth tends a charcoal brazier on which the wax mixture and the tools are being warmed. The artist, to the right, is recognizable by his cap and by his garment worn so as to afford maximum coolness and freedom of movement. A small container in his left hand holds the pigment, which he applies with a tool like a knife or spatula. Zeus and a Nike (personification of victory) watch from on high, and at the far right Herakles himself approaches. On the reverse of the krater, Athena is seated with one of Dioskouroi.