The only other piece attributed to the Alkmene Painter by Beazley is a very similar hydria in the British Museum (London B 301; see below, Figs.
14) Another potential identity for a female figure who watches Herakles is his mother, Alkmene, who is labeled on the London hydria by the Alkmene Painter.
Indeed, this is the only example on any preserved vase where Alkmene is labeled.
The two hydrias joined under the name of the Alkmene Painter could demonstrate two moments in an evolution or development over time, two examples out of many by this painter.
Undeniably unique among known examples is the deliberate and specific inclusion of Alkmene in a composition with the hero.
The following description of this expansion is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather to show the broad parameters of the iconographical climate within which the Alkmene Group painter developed the scene he chose.
31) Indeed, the same scheme is seen in black-figure on the shoulder of the Alkmene Painter's London hydria.
33) This suggestion that the frame of reference for the invention of a scheme is well outside the visual idiom of vase painting is one to keep in mind when looking at the wider influences, such as new architectural creations, on the Alkmene Group and others in the Antimenean circle.
This suggestion that repetition can breed innovation is of particular interest in the present study since it seems to be relevant to the two Alkmene Group hydrias: in the Reading example, we see two distinct activities involving Athena, and in the London example, we see two discrete activities of Herakles.
The combination of the two techniques helps to alert the viewer to an awareness of sequence, a more subtle version of the type of sequence achieved on the Madrid Painter and Alkmene Group examples.
This discussion has demonstrated how thoroughly the two hydrias attributed to the Alkmene Group reflect an extremely innovative period in Athenian vase-painting technique and iconography.
To what degree are the Alkmene hydrias embedded in the typical conventions for hydria decoration in the last third of the sixth century?