His pseudonym, for his real name is unknown, refers to his preference for Athena in his choice of subjects. He was one of the last generation of black figure technique painters.
The Athena Painter, along with the Theseus Painter, continued the tradition of painting large standard lekythoi. His black-figure work was of high quality. Apart from lekythoi, he mainly painted oinochai. Some archaeologists identify him with the red-figureBowdoin Painter. They may, however, simply have worked in the same workshop. His workshop was one of the production centres that developed the painting of white-ground lekythoi, which was to become especially important in the 5th century BC.