-- Who is depicted?
Athena is associated with Athens, a plural name, because it was the place where she presided over her sisterhood, the Athenai, in earliest times. Mycenae was the city where the Goddess was called Mykene, and Mycenae is named in the plural for the sisterhood of females who tended her there. At Thebes she was called Thebe, and the city again a plural, Thebae (or Thebes, where the ‘s’ is the plural formation). Similarly, at Athens she was called Athena, and the city Athenae (or Athens, again a plural).
Athena had a special relationship with Athens, as is shown by the etymological connection of the names of the goddess and the city. According to mythical lore, she competed with Poseidon and she won by creating the olive tree; the Athenians would accept her gift and name the city after her. In history, the citizens of Athens built a statue of Athena as a temple to the goddess, which had piercing eyes, a helmet on her head, attired with an aegis or cuirass, and an extremely long spear. It also had a crystal shield with the head of the Gorgon on it. A large snake accompanied her and she held Nike, the goddess of victory, in her hand.
In a Mycenean fresco, there is a composition of two women extending their hands towards a central figure who is covered by an enormous figure-eight shield and could also depict the war-goddess with her palladium, or her palladium in an aniconic representation. Therefore, Mylonas believes that Athena was a Mycenaean creation. On the other hand, Nilsson claims that she was the goddess of the palace who protected the king, and that the origin of Athena was the Minoan domestic snake-goddess. In the so-called Procession-fresco in Knossos which was reconstructed by the Mycenaeans, two rows of figures carrying vessels, seem to meet in front of a central figure, which is probably the Minoan palace goddess "Atano".
-- More about the artist
The artist is currently unknown.