Black-Figure Attic Kylix

1,000 د.إ د.إ

SKU: TT14-C058 Tag:

Last decades of the fourth century BC
Height: 7.1 cm
ø Rim: 21.3 cm, ø Foot: 8.8 cm
Recovered by the Guardia di Finanza in 2003

The cup is recomposed from fragments. Missing parts have been restored and repainted.
Its shape associates it with the so-called “Nicostenic Type” of kylix. They have a hemispherical basin; horizontal, rod-shaped handles; and a short trumpet-shaped foot with a torus at the top.

Three twigs occupy the space under the handles of the cup. On the lower part of the basin around the stem of the cup, a crown composed of reserved rays is delimitated by a black band and three fillets. These constitute the base of the figurative decoration.

The cup is painted inside and out. On the inside, the tondo at the center of the basin is delimited by two reserved lines. The tondo is occupied by a well-executed image of the Gorgon. The monster has almond-shaped eyes, a triangular nose with flared nostrils, a beard, and a black dot at the center of its forehead. Details are rendered in the beard and hair by meticulous incisions. The teeth and fangs are over-painted with white slip. Touches of purple over-painting highlight the hair and tongue.

Both sides of the exterior feature a pair of large eyes with black and red striped irisis. Traces of white over-painting survive in the cornea of one. The eyebrows of both are formed by long, sinuous branches. Figures occupy the space between each pair of eyes. On one side, a satyr advances towards the right. Details of his hair and beard are rendered with touches of purple over-painting. He walks beside a mule that occupies the middle ground. There are stylized branches in the background. The different kind of glaze used in the lower part of the two figures and the lack of incised details in the upper part suggest a successive restructuring.

The other side features a feminine winged figure. Only her upper part of the figure is preserved. Behind her two stylized branches diverge.

The satyr walking at the side of the mule clearly evokes the world of Dionysus. Unfortunately, the poor preservation of the female winged figure prevents identification.

The distinctive eyes with white corneas (along with decorative details such as the reserved rays around the stem) associate this particular cup with one of the less popular types of eye-cups. The eyes of more popular models either had black corneas or corneas that were reserved (unslipped). Other eye-cups with similar painting are attributable to the Krokotos Group, active from 530 to 510 BC. Kylikes made by this atelier frequently only showed one figure between the handles.

According to Beazley, the kylix belongs to the “Nicostenic Type”. Despite the fact that the winged female figure suggests a later date, other decorative details and the rendering of the Gorgoneion recall a cup at the Louvre datable to 510 BC. This further supports a date in the last decade of the sixth century BC.

Fabio Calabrese


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