Attic Black-Figure Kylix

1,000 د.إ د.إ

SKU: TT14-C013 Tag:

Last quarter of the sixth century BCE
Height: 7 cm
Rim: 21 cm
Foot: 8.5 cm
Recovered by the Guardia di Finanza in 2003

This wine cup belongs to Type A. It is recomposed from numerous fragments and the restored areas have been partially repainted. On both of the goblet’s external sides are painted two eyes with black eyeballs and striped irises over-painted with white and dark violet slip. On one side, a hoplite (foot soldier) in heavy armor is painted between the eyes. His entire body is intact, although his head has not survived. The figure struts from right to left in a slightly crouched posture. He wears armor and greaves and is equipped with a shield and a spear. At his side he wears a sword. The details of the panoply (the complete suit of armor) are rendered with over-painting in red and white slip. The other side of the vessel preserves a second man, again posed between the eyes. Only the figure’s legs are preserved, which are protected by greaves. Because he appears in the same position and in the same pose, the second man most likely should be identified as another hoplite. At the sides of the handles are painted intertwined vines and bunches of grapes. These wrap around the external edges of the eyes, leaving the central zone free. The interior of the basin is glazed black. A gorgoneion (Gorgon or Medusa’s head) occupies the tondo in the center. The Gorgon’s face is left unglazed and details are rendered with etching or over-painting with white and dark violet slip. M.C. Valicelli has written about the cup’s external designs and, in particular, about the significance of the large eyes that anthropomorphize the kylix. The infantry soldiers can be interpreted in two ways: either the men are shown in an ambush position, or, more probably, they are performing an armed, or Pyrrhic, dance which was frequently represented on vessels in the period in which the kylix was made. The basin’s secondary decoration (its lower zone and the rendering of the eyes) recalls a cup found on Mitilene but of Attic production that depicts a cloaked female figure carrying wine. It dates to the second half of the sixth century BC. However, the representation of the Pyrrhic dancers and of the big eyes recalls a vessel influenced by the Painter of Krokotos. The painting on this vessel, however, is more archaic both in its design and in the technical achievement of the human figures than the painting on the kylix in question. Therefore, if additional analyses confirm its authenticity, this kylix can be dated to the last quarter of the sixth century BC.

Federica Spagnoli


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